OUTLOOK EDITORIAL: Damascus is dead and should stay that way
Like a bad cold, the city of Damascus just won't go away.
News broke last week that the Oregon Court of Appeals decided in favor of Damascus resident James De Young, saying the 2015 election process was faulty in disincorporating the city, and that Clackamas County Circuit Court erred in upholding the demise of the city government.
In other words, the Court of Appeals reversed a decision by Clackamas County Circuit Court, and handed the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
Obviously, De Young is overjoyed with this decision. But yet to be seen is if De Young's celebration isn't a little premature.
It's possible — even likely — that the Circuit Court, after hearing arguments for and against, will conclude that the city is too far gone to be resurrected.
Consider these realities:
• All of the terms have expired for the people elected to the council at the time of disincorporation.
• A liquor store has moved into the space formerly occupied by City Hall.
• All of the former city employees have moved on to new employment. (Good luck attracting a qualified pool of candidates for this city government.)
• The neighboring city of Happy Valley is working on a comprehensive plan that envelopes roughly one-third of the former Damascus land base.
• The former city's debts have been paid.
• Assets have been transferred to Clackamas County.
• Funds that were leftover after disincorporation of Damascus have been returned to taxpayers.
In other words, the city of Damascus is dead.
De Young may have been correct that the process was flawed, but forcing Damascus to resume operation as a city government will only lead to a waste of time, money and effort.
We're not sure how the rest of the Damascus community is feeling about this. But in the last election, nearly 66% of Damascus voters sided with disincorporation. This court posturing has the feel of forcing community members to accept a city government that a clear majority don't want.
We hope the Circuit Court, upon review, agrees that Damascus is simply too far gone.
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