Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

The long journey to leave the city of Damascus is now in sight

In early 2003, nearly 100 citizens along Southeast Foster Road applied to annex into Happy Valley and were stopped by a court injunction filed by the Damascus Incorporating Committee.

The city of Damascus incorporated one year later with those residents unwillingly brought into the new city. Little did they know the sad journey that was ahead.

Jim SyringAfter the 2004 incorporation vote, many of them became active supporters of the city. A decade of city dysfunction followed and like most people, by November 2013, they had given up and supported disincorporation. Their votes were part of the 64 percent of Damascus residents who had their votes ignored due to the city’s interpretation of the disincorporation statutes. For a second time, they were denied the right to get out.

These property owners then attempted a third effort to get out using House Bill 4029 that allowed de-annexations for properties along a border adjacent to another city. They applied, and soon found their families sued by the Damascus City Council, thus stopping the de-annexations. The council’s lawsuits against citizens made national news; a Marion County judge stated the council had “committed municipal suicide.”

The election of three new city councilors in November 2014 who pledged “to support citizens and drop the lawsuits,” led these property owners to a fourth attempt to leave. Last year, 123 property owners were approved by the Damascus City Council to leave but complications with the applications arose due to mapping requirements. The property owners asked the council Dec. 7 to complete the maps and were denied, leaving them still legally in Damascus, yet again.

The council’s refusal to complete the required mapping left no time to complete the maps by the 90-day deadline prior to a general election. The property owners began a fifth quest to get out, unanimously supporting disincorporation in the May election. Four Damascus city councilors recently directed the city attorney to research ways to keep them from voting in the upcoming disincorporation election. For a fifth time, these property owners are trying to leave Damascus and for a fifth time, are being denied their right to determine their families’ futures.

The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution both say “When any form of government becomes destructive against its people to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

On Monday, April 4, the Damascus City Council will be presented with its legal counsel’s report discussing stripping voting rights away from these citizens. Truly, if the majority of the council litigates yet again, they will have chosen to follow their predecessors. It is time for the people to abolish this city government once and for all.

Please join the families trying for more than 13 years to leave Damascus and vote yes on Measure 93 to disincorporate Damascus.

Jim Syring is a member of Citizens For De-Annexation From Damascus.