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Damascus disincorporation group runs low on funding

Effort heading to Oregon Court of Appeals


Now that Chris Hawes and the Citizens for Disincorporation have filed a challenge to a court ruling upholding last November’s election results, they’re running low on funds.

Hawes said the legal team for Citizens for Disincorporation “feels strongly” that they have an excellent case and agreed to take the case to the Court of Appeals for a flat fee of $5,000, but legal fees will continue to mount. He said one supporter, whom he did not name, has underwritten much of the previous costs but is now concentrating on supporting the efforts of those who want to de-annex and leave the city, made possible by House Bill 4029.

“I certainly understand, as they have paid very large legal fees to get us to this point. This left us with a serious funding shortfall,” Hawes wrote in an email to supporters. People who want to donate to offset legal fees can call Hawes at 971-244-2045 or send a check to Disincorporation Legal Fund, 14400 S.E. Hollyview Court, Damascus, 97089.

The election ballot measure, to disincorporate the city that was formed in 2004, passed at the ballot box but failed because it didn’t meet “super majority” standards, according to the city of Damascus.

Hawes and his group appealed the election results, and on April 25, Clackamas County Circuit Judge Deanne Darling ruled in favor of the city and upheld the “super majority” standards. Darling wrote in her opinion that an elector is not someone who actually votes.

“Only 2,047 voted yes. In that a majority of electors did not authorize the disincorporation — the city’s conclusion is correct,” Darling wrote.

Hawes and his group claim that Darling and the city ignored what the statute said in a section that was removed in 1983 as part of an effort to standardize voting procedures. Prior to 1982, Hawes claims, the statute read, “The number of electors in the city or municipal corporation shall be determined by the total number of votes cast at the election in the city of municipal corporation. If a majority of that number of electors votes affirmatively on the questions it shall be deemed carried.”

Hawes said, “There is absolutely nothing in the legislative voting record that remotely suggests the Legislature was trying to create a super majority.”

Hawes led the original petition drive to get disincorporation on the ballot and said many of the same people who supported disincorporation also support HB 4029. The bill was passed by the Legislature earlier this year to allow citizens to voluntarily leave the city.

“HB 4029 wouldn’t have happened without disincorporation (efforts),” he said, and predicted that if his group wins on appeal, the city will continue to fight.

“If we win it’s almost a dead certainty the city will appeal to the (state) Supreme Court,” he said.




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