Minutes for Damascus City Council “Special” Meeting – February 20, 2020
Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Robinson, Hadley, and Johnson. Absent: Councilors Fitz and Morrison. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Robinson moved to approve the minutes from the January 30, 2020 City Council meeting, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
The first item of business was to report on the financial state of the City. Mayor DeYoung reported the City’s current bank balance at Banner Bank is approximately $920. The City is still looking for donations since the City currently has no State revenue sharing or other financial resources, such as property tax revenues. The City received $5,120 in donations for 2019; $800 has been contributed to date for 2020.
CIS insurance is approximately $700 per month and has been paid through January. The Mayor did check with another Northwest insurance agency about other insurance options. After their review, the company advised that CIS insurance was the best option for Damascus at this time—it provides the broadest coverage at the best price; in addition, CIS is a risk pool rather than a for-profit insurance company. Councilor Hadley asked Mayor DeYoung to check with the City Attorney regarding the necessity of having CIS insurance until we are a full-fledged city. The Mayor responded that Damascus is a city and there wouldn’t be a Council meeting tonight if we weren’t a city. As far as CIS insurance, CIS only insures cities or counties that exist. The problem is a matter of other government entities not recognizing Damascus as a city based on the May 1, 2019 Appellate Court decision. Mayor DeYoung agreed to follow up with the City Attorney.
Regarding legal actions, Mayor DeYoung reported that on December 9, 2019 City Attorney Trompke submitted facts to a Special Master regarding SB 226 (Oregon Law 545). On January 29, 2020 City Attorney Trompke submitted a new brief; the City asked the court to supplement the brief with additional material dealing with emails between various government entities and Damascus in attempts to destroy the city. The Supreme Court accepted those emails as a supplement to the legal brief on January 29, 2020. The Supreme Court then voted to accept the supplement on February 13, 2020. The State response to our brief is due March 12, 2020 and the City reply is due by March 26, 2020. Oral arguments are to follow before the Supreme Court in April or May (dates are to be determined).
[Addendum, 2-24-20: the date for the oral argument is May 5]
Mayor DeYoung reported that the cost of all legal briefs is approximately $112,000. The current year’s budget is $100,000. The budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 will have to be increased to cover the prior year expenses. John Fromwiller, Damascus resident, asked whether there needs to be a supplemental budget for the current fiscal year to authorize the $112,000 in legal expenses. Mayor DeYoung responded that there would be if Damascus had any money to pay the attorneys. Both of the City attorneys are working without remuneration for now and may never be reimbursed depending on the outcome of the case before the Supreme Court. If the Oregon Supreme Court decides against Damascus then there will be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the City is validated there will probably be no money this fiscal year due to no State taxes collected and no State revenue sharing. Brian Pugh, Damascus resident, asked if the County would have to give back the funds they have collected in absence of a City, like liquor taxes, etc. The Mayor responded that State revenue sharing is probably being kept at the County level. Damascus probably cannot recover all of the funds owed us but the remaining $3 million (taken by the County on the basis of HB 3085 in 2016) needs to be resolved; certain outstanding issues still need to be settled between Damascus and the County, and Happy Valley.
Beginning in March, the County Assessor has to have any changes to City of Damascus boundaries to determine which properties to include for taxation purposes. Our attorney is working on a new boundary map now and a document to submit to the County Assessor before the end of March; it will be tied to State revenue sharing.
Mayor DeYoung is always looking for ideas on improving communications. He referred to the City website (www.damascusoregon.city), encouraged people to tap into it and the City Council will respond to any questions.
Happy Valley’s comprehensive planning process is nearing completion. They are having their final Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on February 27, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor DeYoung encouraged people to attend and stay informed. Our City Attorney is aware of what HV is doing.
Mayor DeYoung announced that there are three volunteers who will be appointed to the Planning Commission tonight. There will be a total of six or seven people to serve. This commission will finalize the boundary map for the Damascus Comprehensive Plan and make any adjustments to it. The Mayor asked each volunteer to introduce themselves. Doug Walker, who lives at SE 222nd Avenue, has lived in the area for about 20 years. He has been active in promoting the city for many years and been involved with the American Military Encouragement Network (AMEN) nonprofit that provides food boxes and other support for veterans. Steve Hoiland, who lives on SE Royer Road, wants to help keep Damascus rural. He has been on other planning commissions in Vernonia, etc. Steve has gone to various County and State agencies to explore valuable assets of the city. Kerry Montgomery, who lives on Rachella Court, has lived in the area for about 25 years and has had a private piano practice for 30 years. Kerry desires for the continuity to keep its rural nature and attractively control density. She was an Area I representative during the Damascus incorporation process. Councilor Wehr moved to appoint to the Planning Commission Doug Walker, Steve Hoiland and Kerry Montgomery; Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.” Mayor DeYoung welcomed all three to City government. Forms are available if anyone else is interested. The Mayor is also considering the possibility of adding a couple of alternates to sit in if someone is absent.
Mayor DeYoung gave an update on the status of the old fire station in Damascus. Hopefully the next City Council can be held there if everything goes as planned.
Councilor Robinson is in charge of the Day in Damascus event this year. The second planning meeting will be held February 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Damascus Community Church and everyone is welcome to attend. Mayor DeYoung encouraged everyone to participate in the July 25 community event.
Councilor Robinson proposed that City Council meetings be held on the third Thursday of the month unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Mayor DeYoung indicated that either the Council rules or City Charter specify meetings be held every other Tuesday night. The Charter specifies meeting once monthly. The Mayor will check on what is involved in modifying the Council rules and would like to postpone finalizing until the March meeting.
Under “Councilor Comments” on the agenda, Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for the input. Councilor Wehr thanked everyone who volunteered to join the Planning Commission and said it is a real encouragement to the City. Councilor Johnson thanked everyone for being at tonight’s meeting and for those who volunteered to serve on the Planning Commission.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:11 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
Minutes for Damascus City Council “Special” Meeting – January 30, 2020
Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Morrison, Robinson, Johnson, and Fitz. Absent: Councilor Hadley. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Fitz moved to approve the minutes from the December 12, 2019 City Council meeting, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
The first item of business was to report on the financial state of the City. Mayor DeYoung reported the City’s current bank balance at Banner Bank is $120. The City needs funds to pay CIS insurance through January. Some donations have been received tonight and the Mayor encouraged others to donate if they want the City to continue and thrive. Mayor DeYoung is looking at alternate opportunities for the most economical and viable insurance for the City. Councilor Fitz asked if letters will be sent out to citizens who have made donations for 2019; Mayor DeYoung responded that letters will be distributed.
City of Damascus has several legal efforts going forward. Mayor DeYoung reported that on December 9, 2019 City Attorney Trompke submitted facts to a Special Master regarding SB 226 (Oregon Law 545). On January 29, 2020 City Attorney Trompke submitted a new brief asking that the Supreme Court find the new law (SB 226) unconstitutional and therefore should not have any effect on the City of Damascus. The new law makes no mention of the Appellate Court decision of May 1, 2019 saying Damascus was never disincorporated. The State’s response is due by February 26, 2020 and the City of Damascus’ reply is due March 11, 2020. Oral arguments to follow by Supreme Court. Councilor Wehr asked about the purpose of the new brief submitted January 29. Mayor DeYoung responded that it was the result of the Special Master bringing both sides together to agree on stipulated facts. The Mayor has copies of the brief available if anyone wants to read it.
Mayor DeYoung announced there will be an Executive Session at 7:30 p.m. tonight with City Attorney Trompke and City Council; this session will be closed to everyone else unless there are reporters present, and there were none in attendance.
Mayor DeYoung also mentioned the ongoing legal matter regarding his appeal to the Appellate Court and the decision handed down May 1, 2019. The whole process is finding its way through the courts and is stuck on attorney fees. The Appellate Court granted attorney fees to go to the Mayor’s attorney; however, that has been challenged by the State and is now on appeal. In the meanwhile a legal document has been submitted by the Mayor’s attorney to the Circuit Court to grant the remainder of the attorney fees.
On December 11, 2019 City Attorney Trompke made a public records request to Clackamas County for any documents since May 1, 2019 that deal with Damascus and they were released to him. There were thousands of emails acquired. City of Damascus donors paid $500 for the records and our city attorney paid the balance of $165.
Mayor DeYoung reported that Clackamas County has responded to the November 18, 2019 letter from the IRS (originally sent to the City of Damascus) regarding penalties of over $70,000 accrued since May 2016. Councilor Morrison asked if that bill would have gone to Damascus if we were deemed a City and Mayor DeYoung responded ‘Yes’.
Mayor DeYoung stated there is an ongoing appeal for donations to the City. As of tonight there is close to $6,000. This total includes the $500 for the public records request.
Mayor DeYoung is always looking for new ideas on improving communications. The new video has been completed but has not been uploaded to the web site yet; this will be done soon. The Mayor has put together a detailed history of where Damascus has been legally and the challenges; this document has been posted on the website (www.damascusoregon.city) and printed copies are available at tonight’s meeting.
Mayor DeYoung stated the need for a Planning Commission to be appointed soon. He has received interest from four or five people so far to serve on that commission. He encouraged others to consider serving as well. Councilor Wehr commented that this is a valuable commission to serve on to gain more knowledge and an understanding of how everything connects. Mayor DeYoung emphasized how this commission plays a crucial role regarding future growth, patterns for housing, etc. A critical issue is the western boundary with Happy Valley. The Mayor asked Councilor Fitz to consider being a liaison with that commission. Councilor Fitz commented that it would be best to start meeting now to review the border lands and how to address that, create an open policy that can be submitted, and seek to demand negotiations with Happy Valley and Clackamas County in good faith now. Councilor Fitz recommended looking at fairness rules about who would stay in and stay out of the City of Damascus. Mayor DeYoung agreed this is a good approach in the interim while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling. The goal is to have the Planning Commission in place by the City’s February meeting. Councilor Fitz recommended electing a chair of the Planning Commission and testifying to Metro to make sure they have a record that Damascus has passed a comprehensive plan with LCDC and the City is having regular meetings. When the Supreme Court rules in Damascus’ favor Metro and other entities should be willing to work with Damascus. There was some discussion about the possibility of forming a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), a group that would give recommendations to the Planning Commission. Oregon land use laws may require having a committee like the CAC to host town halls and act like a neighborhood association.
Councilor Johnson reported that he and his wife attended the January 23 meeting of the Happy Valley Planning Commission. Happy Valley is supposed to have their plan completed by spring or summer 2020. The plan takes up approximately 1,400 acres of Damascus, including all of Anderegg, Orchard Lakes area, all of Carver to the Clackamas River, and all the way north to Pleasant Valley area and the Multnomah County line. Happy Valley is not taking any new annexations pending the Supreme Court hearing on SB 226. Nine people are on the commission and four are still in Damascus. Happy Valley has one more meeting in February and after that the commission will regroup and begin communicating with people about the area they want to take over. It would dramatically change the Carver area.
Mayor DeYoung gave an update on the status of the old fire station in Damascus and the possibility for holding City Council meetings there. He reported that the facility should be ready in a week or two to be used for community groups and meetings. The February City Council meeting will be held there if everything goes as planned.
Councilor Robinson announced the Day in Damascus will be held this year. It was not held in 2019 due to some unforeseen difficulties with people chairing the event. Councilor Robinson will be chairing the Day in Damascus this year and distributed a sign-up sheet with contact information for those interested in helping with this event. The initial planning meeting will be held February 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Damascus Community Church. She encouraged involvement. Mayor DeYoung thanked her for chairing this community event.
Councilor Robinson has a proposal regarding Council meetings, subject to Council meeting rules. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, Council meetings would be held on the third Thursday of the month. This would help people plan accordingly with a more regular schedule. Mayor DeYoung suggested receiving this as a proposal right now for a plan going forward but not to make a motion at this time.
Max Peters, Carver resident, expressed concern about two different plans that are being proposed for the Carver area that could impact him in various ways. Councilor Johnson suggested going to the Happy Valley website to see what they are proposing. The Legislative and Executive branch think it is all County land and Happy Valley should be free to annex property. However, the Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan cannot happen if Damascus is deemed a viable city. Mr. Peters also expressed concern about the disparity between what the County says his property is worth versus what it is worth as far as replacement. Councilor Fitz responded that you have rights to avoid eminent domain or condemnation and should be able to seek a settlement to be made whole. Mayor DeYoung also added the Damascus City Charter addresses the fact that fair compensation should be made for land taken like that. He can bring copies of the charter to the next meeting and it’s also available online. The Mayor stated that he appreciates people like Mr. Peters coming to the Damascus City Council meetings to share ideas and be involved with what Damascus is doing.
Under “Councilor Comments” on the agenda, Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their input. Councilor Wehr expressed appreciation for the Mayor bringing everyone up to date on where we stand right now. He believes things should break open and start moving soon. Councilor Morrison commented that historically public and personal interests have stacked the deck against Damascus. Public interests include Metro, Clackamas County, the State, as well as State land use initiatives telling what they plan to do with Damascus properties; hopefully it will not come to condemnation of property. He welcomed comments by Mr. Peters and others who have a stake in this process. Councilor Robinson saw something on Facebook that seemed appropriate—if God puts a Goliath in your life he sees a David in you; she said the Council has a David in Mayor DeYoung. Councilor Johnson expressed appreciation for the fabulous job the Mayor is doing; both he and his wife go the extra mile so many times. He hopes people will thank both of them for all of their efforts. Councilor Fitz also thanked the Mayor for all his hard work and dedication. He marvels at how a Doctor of Theology and Ethics has to face something that has nothing to do with what the law says, what the people want or how the process works. It ends up being based solely on people in power telling people what to do and burning funds to prove they are in charge. Councilor Fitz commented that Oregon’s land use system doesn’t work like it should, in need of reform and refinement; like a dysfunctional family it blames the children instead of the environment. This is the fourth time that the Legislature, State, Metro and LCDC have sought to influence something that should not happen.
Mayor DeYoung has been told about an on-line document by City Attorney Trompke called ‘Principle of Lawlessness’. The document refers to a branch of government that is usurping authority over another branch of government. The Mayor found an analogy with the Oregon Legislative branch (often in conjunction with the Executive branch) usurping the authority of the Judicial branch.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:24 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
Minutes for Damascus City Council “Special” Meeting – December 12, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Robinson, Johnson, and Fitz. Absent: Councilors Hadley and Morrison. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to approve the minutes from the November 7, 2019 City Council meeting, Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
The first item of business was to report on the financial state of the City. Mayor DeYoung reported the City’s current bank balance at Banner Bank is $700. The City has received $3,700 in donations so far. Another $700 is needed before the end of the year to pay CIS insurance. The Mayor requested that Councilor Robinson post a notice on the City website regarding donations. Mayor DeYoung invited those attending to feel free to make comments or ask questions of the Council. Keith Pugh, Damascus resident, asked why the City is paying such a high insurance rate when there is only a need to cover officer liability; there are currently no buildings, equipment, or employees requiring coverage. The Mayor commented that having CIS insurance is an endorsement Damascus exists as a city. He will contact the City attorney regarding the possibility of pursuing other avenues for insurance. Councilor Fitz advised not skimping on insurance. He also commented that the League of Oregon Cities is a trade association with a lot of legal sway and they are the best endorsement we have.
Mayor DeYoung reported that the City’s Comprehensive Plan submitted to DLCD in October 2019 was returned with a cover letter dated November 8, 2019. The letter states that based on the fact that the Appellate Court has not handed down its final judgment and because SB 226 is now before the Supreme Court, they are not recognizing Damascus as a city and therefore see no point in developing a comprehensive plan for what they view as a non-city. This reinforces the difficulties Damascus is facing since the County, Happy Valley, the State and DLCD do not want to recognize Damascus as a city. The Mayor announced that December 19 is the deadline for anyone wanting to object to the recent Appellate Court ruling three weeks ago that awarded attorney fees in the judgment the Mayor sought against the State and that was handed down by the Appellate Court May 1, 2019. The Mayor reiterated that any attorney fees awarded will go to his attorney. This ruling will be actualized in 30 days. If not challenged by the State then the Appellate Court decision judgment will finally be handed down and there will no longer be any excuse for an entity to say they will not recognize the Appellate Court judgment; this is a significant turning point.
Mayor DeYoung reported that the City had a brief before the County Tax Court and withdrew it based on the advice of the tax court judge. The County Assessor is not going to assess taxes for this year and the Department of Revenue will not give Damascus any revenue sharing. Perhaps this will change once the judgment is handed down on December 19.
Damascus City Attorney Trompke received a calendar of events that are going to unfold at the Supreme Court. A brief is before the State Supreme Court regarding SB 226 (Oregon Law 545). The Supreme Court asked for and appointed a judge to serve as Special Master to bring the State and City of Damascus together on an agreed upon set of facts. City Attorney Trompke submitted a document on December 9, 2019. This document included not only a defense of the facts, but a signed declaration by parties to the brief (Mayor DeYoung, Councilors Wehr, Robinson and Fitz) that all of the above was true to the best of their knowledge. On
December 11, 2019 our City Attorney filed a public records request with Clackamas County for all documents in which SB 226 or the Supreme Court is mentioned, in order to obtain all the information from the County to come to an agreed upon set of facts. By the end of December the Special Master will come to an agreement on the facts. In January each party has to file their briefs again and by the end of March a decision will be reached by the Supreme Court.
Mayor DeYoung made a request in August 2019 for a new Employer Identification Number (EIN). He received a letter from the IRS dated November 18, 2019 demanding that Damascus pay a penalty of $70,772 for not submitting W2 forms in December 2016. Our City Attorney forwarded a letter to Clackamas County on December 3, 2019 asking them to take care of this matter since by the end of 2016 it was the County who was responsible for this failure.
Mayor DeYoung is always looking for new ideas on how to improve communications. He is funding a Damascus video and it has been completed. He feels it will be very favorable for advertising our city. The Mayor is also looking for a parallel brochure comparable to our current fact sheet but it hasn’t been started yet.
Mayor DeYoung, his wife and one other citizen attended the Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan meetings last week: the Tuesday night City Council meeting and the Thursday night Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). Happy Valley is going forward with its comprehensive plan and it is presently being formulated (Pleasant Valley/North Carver Comprehensive Plan). It is featured in the December issue of the Happy Valley News and focuses on the southern portion in particular, including Pleasant Valley to the Clackamas River, Orchard Lake, all of Anderegg, the area southwest of Highway 224, etc. Councilor Fitz commented that the plan includes lots of roundabouts. Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan should be completed by spring 2020 and submitted to DLCD by mid-summer 2020. The Mayor encouraged attendance at these meetings to find out what’s going on and to show Damascus’ visible presence. Councilor Fitz suggested putting the meeting dates on the City of Damascus website.
On December 7 there was a Damascus Christmas celebration at the old fire station. Over 110 people attended and it was a fun time for the community. Mayor DeYoung recognized Councilor Robinson for all of her efforts in organizing a successful event. It was a joint effort by the civic club and Kiwanis. It shows what Damascus can do and reflects community spirit. The old fire station is still being looked at as a possible community center and location for future City Council meetings.
On December 12 the Mayor attended a Good Morning, Damascus event held at Damascus Community Church. An attendee expressed frustration with Damascus traffic issues and was unaware that Damascus exists as a city. Others seem unaware that Damascus is a real and viable city. Councilor Robinson commented that according to the Appellate Court Damascus is a city, and if we weren’t why would SB 226 be written if Damascus doesn’t exist. Doug Walker, Damascus resident, has written several letters to the State Department of Transportation regarding traffic on Highway 212, lack of traffic lights, and the number of accidents especially at SE 222nd (15 already this year).
There was discussion about Clackamas County’s comments that Damascus hasn’t done anything about setting the boundaries for the city. As discussed earlier in the meeting, Happy Valley is currently having meetings about their boundaries and plans to complete the process by the end of March 2020. Councilor Fitz recommended that Damascus have regular meetings to draw our boundary suggestions: look at boundaries and revenues owed to Damascus based on the original map at the time of the illegal disincorporation; and determine what would be a reasonable path forward based on properties that have been de-annexed. The suggestion was to have these meetings from now until March 31, 2020 and come up with a settlement between the two to determine lost revenue. This was amenable to the Council. The Mayor has put together a 10-point plan and wants Happy Valley and Damascus to come to a binding agreement to stop cherry stemming annexations. John Fromwiller, Damascus resident, asked if there is a one-year limit on reversing annexations. Mayor DeYoung responded that after two years annexed properties cannot be challenged but Damascus could challenge those done within the last year; however, the Mayor would yield to the attorney on this issue.
Under “Councilor Comments” on the agenda, Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their input. Councilor Fitz stated he looks forward to reading the legal briefs presented and finds it odd that basic facts cannot be agreed on in the disputes. Councilor Wehr expressed his appreciation for putting a timeline together of where we are since the next 90 days are critical. He noticed that there is nothing on the Supreme Court calendar for Damascus. The Mayor will check with our attorney and get an official timeline from him if possible. Councilor Robinson commented that she cannot take all of the credit for the December 7 community event. She acknowledged Dale Parsons and his ideas for the event as well as his involvement in putting it together. She was impressed with how many people helped with the event. She also encouraged people to join the Kiwanis; they have meetings every Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. at Pub 212, except for the third Wednesday of the month. The Kiwanis are very good for the City of Damascus and are involved with the Day in Damascus and other activities. Councilor Johnson commented that the information coming out is very encouraging and he thanked everyone for coming to the meetings and putting the word out to others. He feels we are going to win this war and come up with a city we can be proud of. Mayor DeYoung said we are on the ground floor of doing something special and feels Damascus will end up being a superior city in the state of Oregon.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
CITY COUNCIL MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES
Minutes for Damascus City Council “Special” Meeting – November 7, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Hadley, Wehr, Robinson, Morrison and Johnson. Absent: Councilor Fitz. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to approve the minutes from the September 26, 2019 City Council meeting, Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
The first item of business was to report on the financial state of the City. Mayor DeYoung reported the City has received donations of $3,700 from five individuals. This has allowed the City to pay its CIS insurance through November. Insurance cost is about $670 per month. The City appreciates additional donations from the community. Mayor DeYoung asked if there were any further questions about the financial state of the City and there were none.
The next item of business was to report on the City’s submission of a Comprehensive Plan to DLCD. At the September 26, 2019 City Council meeting the Comprehensive Plan was passed by a quasi-judicial order . Mayor DeYoung signed and submitted the required form and resolution to DLCD on Oct. 23. A few days before submission, Mayor DeYoung contacted the representative at DLCD and was told they would not accept the Comprehensive Plan because Damascus does not exist as a City according to the County and State. These comments were forwarded to our City Attorney and he responded that this thinking was premature. The very idea Damascus has a brief to challenge the law that’s before the Supreme Court about its existence implies that it is an existing City and therefore Damascus should be able to submit a Comprehensive Plan. Mayor DeYoung sent the City Attorney’s remarks to the representative at DLCD but has not received any response. DLCD has not even acknowledged they received the Comprehensive Plan documents. [Addendum: the very next day, Nov 8, the Mayor received a notice that DLCD was rejecting the Comp Plan and returning it via the USPS]
On 9-13-19 the City submitted a brief to the tax court, a Writ of Mandamus, which resulted in an order from the tax court judge to the County Assessor saying they must assess our tax rate upon the people of Damascus since Damascus is a city again. The County responded (9-26-19) by asking for a motion to dismiss, saying Damascus is not a City since there is no way to determine Damascus City boundaries, in spite of the fact that in the last three years over 1,000 acres have left Damascus and been annexed into Happy Valley. The City of Damascus responded to that motion for dismissal by saying there must be a boundary since the tax assessor is assessing taxes for the present City of Damascus, except now those taxes are going to the County instead of the City. No response has been received on this. However, the Board of County Commissioners has responded and passed a resolution (10-31-19) saying the boundaries of the City of Damascus have been dissolved pursuant to its disincorporation vote and a new boundary map has been created as a result; also Senate Bill 226 has been enacted by the Legislature and that upholds the disincorporation of City of Damascus as the results of the prior disincorporation election; and the City of Damascus surrendered its charter effective July 17, 2016. The Board of County Commissioners therefore resolved to approve the boundary change based on the attached map (dated June 30, 2016) and legal description of the area formerly known as the City of Damascus. This is a legal effort by the Board of County Commissioners to say the tax assessor is not going to assess taxes for Damascus since there is no city and the boundary does not exist as it once did. Councilor Robinson said she understands Mayor DeYoung disputes the fact that the former Damascus City Council surrendered its charter. Mayor DeYoung responded that the City never officially handed over its charter—only the City Council can surrender it per statutory law and the State Constitution which protects home rule charters. The City attorney says Damascus never surrendered it so the City never ceased to exist or disincorporate.
Mayor DeYoung reported that City Attorney Ed Trompke advises making a motion to withdraw the brief before the tax court of the County without prejudice because of the following circumstances: the tax court is probably not going to act in light of what’s going on; and if it were to act all the tax bills have gone out to the community, and that determined that the amount Damascus wants the County Assessor to assess will not be done and probably not be done in this fiscal year, until the Supreme Court makes its decision. If the Supreme Court’s decision is favorable then Damascus, it seems, can go back and have the tax assessor shift funds from the County to the City of Damascus. Councilor Wehr expressed concern that we might be taking a step back with this motion and wondered what the situation would be if we do nothing. Mayor DeYoung understands this would give us the option legally to reassert the brief once the Supreme Court makes its decision. The Mayor said there would be a short recess later tonight to call Attorney Trompke and everyone agreed. Councilor Morrison asked if we would be holding back our request for property tax only and leaving our request for liquor taxes, franchise fees, etc. Mayor DeYoung responded that they are different and we are only talking about the County tax assessor; the other fees are part of state revenue sharing (under the jurisdiction of the DOR). There is no state revenue sharing until the Supreme Court decision is made.
Senate Bill 226 was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor on July 15, 2019. The new law says the Secretary of State should refer back to the decision made by the voters in 2016 and ratify that vote as valid in spite of the Appellate Court’s decision of May 1, 2019 invalidating Damascus’s disincorporation status. City of Damascus submitted a document on August 14, 2019 calling for review to find SB226 as unconstitutional. The State responded on October 14, 2019, and our reply was sent to the Supreme Court November 4, 2019. Damascus attorneys say the law violates the State Constitution, home rule charter, statutory law and the Appellate Court decision. There is no firm time line on the Supreme Court decision.
The City of Damascus approved a $1.7 million budget for this fiscal year and $100,000 was budgeted for legal services. The City attorney is working with the understanding that his fees will be paid once the City gets financial footing and State revenue sharing. Mayor DeYoung emphasized that he is not the recipient of any attorney fees (should they be paid; the decision about these is still pending before the Ap Ct) arising from his legal brief to the Appellate Court to challenge the May, 2016, vote on disincorporation. The Mayor out of his own pocket paid all atty fees that accrued during 2016-2019. By prior agreement the atty fees sought in the brief after the decision of the App Ct on May 1, 2019 will go to the attorney himself pending the court decision.
The next item of discussion was the fund-raising appeal for donations. As mentioned earlier, the City has received $3,700 to date in donations and that has been used to pay for our CIS insurance. The City needs about $700 per month in donations for insurance. The Mayor is appealing to Damascus citizens to donate to the City.
Mayor DeYoung reported that he has commissioned a young man to make a video of the City of Damascus with various scenes from the area. The video will be uploaded to the City website when it is completed. There is also a Damascus fact sheet available tonight if anyone would like a copy. Any ideas on how Damascus can be further promoted are appreciated.
Mayor DeYoung announced the need for a Planning Commission to be formed. He already has four or five people who have expressed an interest in being on the Commission and there could be as many as seven people on it. Mayor DeYoung asked to please let the Council know if anyone is interested in serving. The Planning Commission will be the first level for dealing with the DLCD, making adjustments and updates to the comp plan; creative ideas are encouraged. The Council hopes to make a motion to construct and appoint the Planning Commission possibly as early as December.
Under “Councilor Comments” on the agenda, Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their input. Councilor Hadley stated that we are treading water right now until a decision is made by the Supreme Court. He feels positive about the outcome and once a decision is reached the City can really get going. Councilor Wehr commented that the previous Damascus Planning Commission has put together a body of work over a period of years. It gives the City a foundation for looking at what to do with what Damascus has that makes it unique. He encouraged getting involved on the Planning Commission if people have an interest. Councilor Morrison commented that the City has been very politically kind and has not tried to take back property that was already annexed out of Damascus. All of the steps taken have been in a spirit of kindness and in a very amicable and fair manner. He commends the City for doing what we said we would do and feels definitive moves can be taken once the court ruling comes in. Councilor Johnson expressed his frustration with the whole process the City has had to go through but he feels the end is coming and believes the City will win from a legal standpoint. He thanked the Mayor and Council for all of their efforts. He also encouraged people to hang in there, get involved and continue to get the word out.
Councilor Robinson said we are in a waiting mode and there is a fun event being planned. This year is the 60th anniversary of the Oregon Centennial and there will be a peace candle lighting for the 60th anniversary on December 7 at 7:00 p.m. There is a program planned in the fire station with singers, a children’s performance, Santa Claus and emcee Ed Teachout, former KGW reporter. There will be one rehearsal beforehand at Damascus Community Church. Councilor Robinson has been appointed chairperson for this event by the Kiwanis clubs of Damascus and Happy Valley. She is rounding up people who like to sing and encourages everyone to participate to make this a fun community event.
A short recess was taken for Mayor DeYoung to make a phone call to Attorney Trompke. Mayor DeYoung came back and told the Council that Attorney Trompke’s advice was to withdraw our legal action before the Clackamas County tax court as of today in light of various legal issues going on; the tax court has requested the withdrawal. Mayor DeYoung asked for a motion to withdraw our brief. Councilor Robinson moved to withdraw our legal action before the Clackamas County tax court and do so without prejudice, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Morrison, Robinson, Mayor DeYoung) voted “yea’; there was no one who voted “nay.”
Craig Montgomery, Damascus resident, asked a question about what would happen if the City prevails with Senate Bill 226 but not somewhere else. Mayor DeYoung explained that the only active brief right now is review of Senate Bill 226 before the Oregon Supreme Court, and they would make the ultimate legal decision, unless it is possibly elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Oregon Supreme Court rules against Damascus then this could be a possible U.S. Constitution issue on the basis of the 14th Amendment. As the Mayor explained, the effect of Senate Bill 226 is to give differing value to the votes cast three years ago (and determined illegal by the Appellate Court ruling on May 1, 2019). In effect Senate Bill 226 empowers the “yes” votes to have greater power now than when voted for Measure 93 in May 2016. This represents a possible violation of the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection under the law.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 – Sunnyside Community Church
1. CALL TO ORDER. The Mayor called the meeting to order at 6:30. Roll call. Present: Councilors Robinson, Johnson, Fitz, Wehr, Hadley, Morrison and Mayor De Young
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE was led by Mayor.
3. ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: None, so agenda stands.
4. CONSENT AGENDA: Councilor Wehr moved to adopt consent agenda, Councilor Robinson seconded it. All voted yea.
5. PUBLIC HEARING. Mayor De Young opened the public hearing. Councilors were asked if any one had a special conflict of interest to declare realizing that all do share an interest in the comprehensive plan because they live in Damascus and own property in the city. Councilor Wehr reminded us that Attorney Trompke shared that last week. Councilor Morrison stated that there is a written form on which councilors can make this declaration that we might want to consider. No one on council shared that they had a special conflict of interest.
Mayor introduced hearing and, in the absence of Attorney Trompke, he read ORDER NO. LU 19-1 which Att. Trompke had prepared for our hearing tonight. He encouraged council to participate by comment if they had additional input.
(Note attached copy of quasi-judicial order.)
Mayor De Young said there are CD’s of the complete comprehensive plan available for anyone wanting such. There are also thumb drives of the Comp Plan available. Contact the Mayor or the web site: damascusoregon.city if desiring such.
Councilor Johnson set out the 4-volume set of printed material of the plan so citizens could see the massive amount of material on the CD or thumb drive.
HEARING CITIZEN COMMENTS:
STEVE HOILAND 14905 SE Royer Rd. Damascus 97089
Do we have the option to make changes to the plan after it is approved and comes back to us? Can we alter it in the future? Council responded. Mayor and Councilor Fitz said “yes” the plan can be altered and we will have local control and flexibility. State and Metro laws in place are to be followed. Also LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeal) is the land use court in Oregon where any citizen can appeal.
Our city cannot change state highway plans but we can give input on Hwys 212 and 224. When our plan is in place our land should develop by our plan.
BO ROBINSON 14704 SE 202nd Ave. Damascus, 97089. His points:
I have posted parts of the plan on NEXT DOOR.
Will his property be swallowed by the City Center (red blotch on map)? Councilor Fitz said he would come under nonconforming use and would be grandfathered in and he already has a permitted use of his property; it can continue. He was directed to p. 43, Sec 517 17.2127.
I scanned the development code. I am in the building industry and believe the codes tend toward urban development which is not my picture of normal Damascus. He has concerns about garage size, setbacks, and duplication of houses in a development; said developers should decide this last code, not “big brother.”
He spoke on the quasi-judicial order and mandates. Who will stand up for the people? Mayor said we, the council, are doing that here tonight. Comp plan was and is a citizen led effort. Councilor Fitz said we kept property owners at forefront when considering criteria for residential development in this plan.
Mayor shared that all their voices are very important. He stated that we are under mandate to urbanize. We are in need of members for the planning commission and welcomed anyone interested to contact him.
Councilor Hadley shared that hundreds of people, hundreds of hours and millions of tax payer dollars went into developing this plan. He invited folks who had worked on the plan and were very experienced and had great knowledge to join us again and work together to build our city. We seek to stop fighting and move forward.
HEARING WAS CLOSED AT 7:33 by Mayor.
6. COUNCIL DELIBERATION. Discussion by council began with Councilor Wehr rehearsing past work on the plan and that our city is constrained by laws and physical location. He mentions the number of senior citizens in Damascus and their desire for public transportation suggesting we could develop our own way. We are not in tri-met area and citizens have not wanted this here. He said that we are not addressing the “Charter”. We are looking at resolving our requirements of a plan by a quasi-judicial order.
Councilor Morrison shared a short history of his parents and development occurring and crumbling in late 70s in an area of Gresham. He suggested an article found on google: The Foley of Smart Growth by R. O’Toole, Salem. Said it explains why we are here doing what we are doing today. It shows why we are being a city.
Hearing no further discussion Mayor called for a decision by council on LU 19-1 ORDER. Councilor Wehr asked if a cover letter would accompany this to LCDC? Mayor shared a draft that is still being worked on. ORDER LU 19-1 with an appropriate cover letter was the matter before the Council. The cover letter will state we are not, in any way, signing away the rights of our Home Rule Charter. Councilor Morrison asked what would the legal effort look like if this is challenged. Mayor said he did not know. He asked “remedy” to be explained. Mayor said that in his opinion it meant the city has the right to change or “remedy” to protect the city as it is.
Councilor Fitz moved the call of the quasi-judicial question about referring the 2013 Comprehensive Plan via Order LU19-1 to LCDC and include the fact that the Mayor has authority to attach a cover letter. Councilor Robinson seconded the motion.
Roll call vote: Councilors Wehr–yea; Hadley—yea; Morrison—abstain; Fitz—yea; Johnson—yea;–Robinson—yea; Mayor De Young—Yea. 6 Yea and 1 Abstain. Motion passed.
7. OTHER COUNCIL BUSINESS
- County appeal of tax court decision Oct.1 at 8 am in Salem.
- City bank account should be active soon; Donations desired.
- Request by State for more time to respond to our brief before Supreme Court on SB (law) 226 due Sept 23. Judge granted them 21 days. Respondents must submit their response by Oct. 14.
- Review of council decision of 9.19.19. Mayor says that the decision remains. He also said we seek to abide by our charter and council rules.
8. CITY MANAGER & STAFF COMMUNICATIONS NA
9. COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS Councilor Hadley thanked the Mayor and Councilor Wehr for going to the county and “begging” for our tax recognition. There were no other communications.
10. ADJOURN Mayor adjourned the meeting at 7:50.
QUASI-JUDICIAL ORDER ATTACHED TO MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
CITY OF DAMASCUS
In the matter of the adoption of a )
Comprehensive Plan by the City ) ORDER No. LU 19-1
Council of Damascus, Oregon. )
THE COUNCIL FINDS the City is required by law to adopt a Comprehensive Plan within a specified time period, which has expired.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS that adoption of a comprehensive plan is a “land use decision” as defined in ORS 197.015(10).
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City has adopted more than one Comprehensive Plan in the past, and the voters of the City have rejected all of them when they were submitted to a vote in their entireties.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the terms of previous Comprehensive Plans have been divisive among voters, leading in part to the breakdown of the City’s ability to function as a well ordered city.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS that many or all of the divisive terms of previous Comprehensive Plans have been adopted pursuant to applicable law, as described herein, that constrained the authority of the Council.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City is constrained in the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan by state laws, including ORS Chapter 195, Chapter 196 and Chapter 197, each of which imposes many legal requirements that the City must apply to the facts of the city’s land and circumstances.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City is constrained by state regulations including the Land Use Goals and Objectives adopted pursuant to statute, and other state regulations, primarily found in OAR chapter 660, Land Use, but also state and federal regulations limiting local authority with respect to flood plains, habitat protection, climate change, wetlands, and many other substantive matters.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City is further constrained by constitutional and statutory delegation of authority to Metro under Article XI, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution, ORS Chapter 268, the Metro Charter and regulations adopted by Metro, including the Metro Framework Plan, Metro Functional Plan, and Ordinances and Resolutions implementing both Metro regulations and state laws, such as the residential and industrial or employment land supply needs, minimum density of land uses, the Nature in the Neighborhoods environmental plan, the Climate Smart Communities plan, and other Metro- adopted orders, programs, plans and legislation that impose requirements on the City, and which require that the city satisfy their terms; all of the foregoing resulting in limitations on the authority of the City and its electors when adopting regulations, such as the Comprehensive Plan and zoning, by removing matters that would otherwise be matters of local concern from City authority.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City and its voters hold powers reserved to them by Article IV, Section 1(5) of the Oregon Constitution over matters of local concern.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS Section 7 of the City Charter requires that a majority of the electors (the registered voters) of the City approve any Comprehensive Plan before its submission to Metro, DLCD, or LCDC, but such reserved authority is limited to legislative matters of local concern by Article IV, Section 1(5) of the Oregon Constitution, and other constitutional sections which delegate matters of metropolitan concern to Metro, matters of county concern to Clackamas County, and maters of statewide concern to the State.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the State of Oregon, and its electors hold powers under Article IV, Section 1, subsections (1) – (4) of the Oregon Constitution over matters of statewide concern, including land use statutes and regulations referred to above.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS it is not apparent on the face of this Comprehensive Plan, nor any comprehensive plan, which matters addressed by such plan constitute matters of statewide concern, which constitute matters of metropolitan concern, or which constitute matters of local concern, but it appears that most matters addressed in the Comprehensive Plan are primarily matters of state and metropolitan concern, and not local concern, which cannot be separated for approval by a vote of the electors of the City.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS it is not apparent on the face of this Comprehensive Plan, nor any comprehensive plan, which matters addressed by such plan constitute legislative matters, and which constitute matters that are quasi- judicial or administrative in nature, and it is not possible to separate the different types of action out for approval by a vote of the electors of the City on the legislative matters of local concern.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS that, based on the foregoing, the subject matter of the Comprehensive plan appears to be primarily quasi-judicial in nature, and it is appropriate to adopt this Comprehensive Plan by a quasi-judicial procedure, and so the Council hereby acts in a quasi-judicial manner.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS that, although the voters of the City have reserved authority to themselves to approve legislative matters of local concern that are inseparable portions of the Comprehensive Plan, before any submission by Council to Metro, DLCD or LCDC, an election for approval by the electors of the City may not take place, only because the state and Metro have imposed a system of regulations that are matters of metropolitan and statewide concern that is so complete and interrelated that this Council cannot separate out any matters of local concern that might be voted upon as set forth in the charter of the City. Council makes this determination reluctantly, not desiring to disenfranchise its electors, after full consideration of the facts and law.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS there is no mechanism, other than action of this Council to make the foregoing determination.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS that the territorial limits of the City are not certain, given the actions of the City of Happy Valley to annex, and actions of other governmental entities to allow annexation of properties that have been in the City of Damascus, into Happy Valley.
THE COUNCIL FURTHER FINDS the City has included the full record of the 2013 City consideration and public involvement for preparation of the attached Comprehensive Plan, into the record of this reconsideration of the 2013 plan.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
- The Comprehensive Plan attached hereto is adopted, and the findings of the staff report attached thereto are incorporated herein.
- The boundary of the City set forth in the Comprehensive Plan, is subject to amendment at the time the City resolves the underlying uncertainty of its boundary, and the Council has previously delegated to the Mayor and city Attorney the duty to engage in discussions and negotiations to fix the boundary.
- The City staff is authorized and directed to take such actions as staff determines appropriate to comply with applicable law with respect to the Comprehensive Plan.
DATED this 26th day of September, 2019. By the City Council for Damascus, Oregon
William Wehr, Council President James De Young, Mayor
CITY COUNCIL MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 – Sunnyside Community Church
1.CALL TO ORDER. The public encouraged to sign up for public testimony that will take place during the hearing. Meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM. Again the people were encouraged to sign up for giving testimony. Agendas were passed out. ROLL CALL TAKEN (at point 5 as had missed this at call to order): Present: Councilor Hadley, Councilor Fitz, Councilor Johnson, Councilor Wehr, Mayor De Young Absent: Councilor Robinson. Welcome Attorney Ed Trompke
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
3. ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO THE AGENDA. Mayor asked if there were any additions or changes. Councilor Hadley said he would like to add the swearing in of Andy Morrison to council business. He moved to have the Mayor swear in Andy Morrison to council. Councilor Fitz seconded this. Discussion. Mayor suggested it be discussed in Executive meeting next week. Councilor Fitz shared his affirmation of A. Morrison. Mayor said this item should be added to Agenda at 7c. Councilor Hadley said there has been a motion and a second and asked for a vote on his motion. Mayor said Allright. Let’s do that first of all. So Mayor asked for vote to add to the agenda as 7c. Vote passed with 4 favor, 1 oppose (Mayor De Young).
4. CONSENT AGENDA C. Fitz made motion to accept. C. Wehr? seconded. Vote: all favor.
5. PUBLIC HEARING. HEARING DECLARED OPENED. First point was a declaration of conflict of interest. Attorney Trompke stated that since each councilor lives in and owns property in Damascus which will be affected by it, that conflict is implicit to all and it’s not necessary to repeat this. State only if a special conflict exists. No comments. (ROLL CALL of council taken as missed earlier) .
Rules of hearing are stated. 5 minutes per person. Hearing tonight and also next Thurs 9/26//2019. The comprehensive plan is what is under consideration tonight. Attorney Trompke was asked to share what procedure is involved concerning the comprehensive plan for a city. He explained what a plan is, that adopting a plan is a land use decision that can be done in three ways. One way is a quasi-judicial procedure. There are three factors that are looked at to determine if this procedure is possible for Damascus. He discussed this in detail. Councilor Fitz added that state and metro laws must be followed. Attorney Trompke also explained section 7 of our charter (which calls for a vote on the comp plan by the people prior to sending the plan to LCDC). With this introductory information about comprehensive plans testimony from public began. A quasi-judicial action forbids the vote of the people.
- Bo Robinson (14704 SE 202nd Damascus 97089) asked what’s the end goal of reconstructing the city? Clarifying this question led to how the city got to this point and what are the benefits of having a city. Mayor De Young and Councilor Fitz spoke to these issues.
- Dan Phegley (21610 SE Little Lane Damascus 97089 ) explained the background and substance of the charter amendment in section 7. He is the author this amendment.
- Laura Parsons (14189 SE Royer Rd Damascus 97089) introduced herself and said this was a great meeting and would like to give her remaining time over to Dan Phegley. Dan thanked her but thought he had completed what he planned to say.
Attorney Trompke states that there were maps available for people to take home, as well as CD’s of the plan. Councilor Fitz shared more info about the comp plan.
No one else present asked to testify so the participants were thanked for sharing and the public hearing was closed by the Mayor at 7:30 PM.
6. COUNCIL DELIBERATION. The councilors each spoke briefly . They discussed the adoption of the 2013 Comp Plan. This is taped so if one wants to hear it contact the Mayor. After this, the Mayor opened up this part of the meeting for casual questions or comments, although this was not required. A question was asked about why the boundary of the city is not established first before the comp plan being considered by council. The attorney explained the effort of the Mayor to bring together the main players in our boundary fixing (state, Metro, HV, Clackamas County, and Damascus) in our attorney’s office to work on this. Not one was available. For the City to wait till all the govt entities responded favorably and resolved the boundary issue would put the City at a distinct disadvantage time wise (we wouldn’t be able to qualify for State revenue sharing or to receive County property tax revenue). The two actions need to proceed simultaneously—forwarding a comp plan and establishing our western boundary.
4. Citizen John Fromwiller (Damascus Oregon 97089) chair of the budget committee, testified about the city tax rate of $.57/1000. He also commented on the quasi-judicial procedure. No decisions made.
7. OTHER COUNCIL BUSINESS
a. Writ of mandamus filed by City Attorney with the Judge of the Tax Court. The Judge ordered Clackamas County and the Tax Assessor to levy our tax or show cause why not before him on Oct.1 in the tax court. Clackamas County responded that they will not do this and thus will appear in court in Salem on Oct. 1.
b. A City bank account to be active shortly and will be available for donations to the city.
c. Councilor Hadley moved that Andy Morrison to be sworn in as councilor as he moved in section 3 above. Mayor again requested that they discuss this in an executive meeting before 9/26/2019 public hearing. He moved to do so but no seconds so motion failed. Council recessed for 10 minutes (8:17-8:27) while attorney reviewed info from charter on council vacancies. Council reconvened. Attorney reviewed the recorded motion and vote. Mayor concerned about the validity of the appointment due to time stipulations stated in charter as Morrison chose not to be sworn into office for over 90 days after appointment (May 16) and missed council meetings for this time. Discussion of earlier vote showed the majority favored swearing him as determined under “Additions to the Agenda” and that next step was to proceed with the oath of office. Attorney Trompke swore Andy Morrison in as councilor, position two, on DCC. Councilor Morrison was welcomed and took his seat on council.
8 & 9. COMMUNICATIONS. Short statements were made by councilors Wehr, Johnson, Morrison, and Fitz.
10. ADJOURN. Mayor De Young spoke briefly and closed meeting at 8:36 PM.
Minutes recorded by P. De Young in absence of I. Pugh. Audio recording of meeting made also.
Minutes for Damascus City Council “Special” Meeting – August 22, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Fitz, Wehr, Robinson, Johnson and Hadley. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Robinson moved to approve the minutes from the July 25, 2019 City Council meeting, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
The first item of business was Resolution 19-707, which accepts the resignation of former volunteer city manager Richard Carson. Mr. Carson was appointed on May 23, 2019 and he resigned on August 19, 2019 as reported in a letter to the Mayor and to the media. The City Council will pursue another person to take this position as soon as possible. Councilor Fitz asked if there was city work needing the immediate expertise of a city manager. Mayor DeYoung responded that there are no urgent deadlines and that he and Councilor Wehr are taking care of these duties in the interim. Councilor Hadley expressed concern about meeting our obligation for CIS insurance coverage. Mayor DeYoung responded that the City has appealed to CIS for an alternate schedule of payment and are awaiting their response. Our insurance has not been rescinded or revoked. Councilor Fitz moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-707, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
The next item of business was Resolution 19-708, which authorizes the City, through its Mayor and Council President, to open a bank account on behalf of the City. The resolution has been drawn up by our City Attorney’s office. The resolution authorizes the Mayor and/or Council President to sign checks drawn upon the bank account on behalf of the City for amounts up to $5,000.00 and that both authorized signatures be required for checks in excess of $5,000.00. Councilor Robinson asked if this is normally the duty of the City Manager and whether another resolution would be needed to replace this one. Councilor Wehr responded that it is the same format as before for the City. Councilor Hadley expressed concern as a business person that there should be two signatures on all checks. Councilor Fitz asked if a third person would be needed if two people are unavailable. After further discussion it was determined that the $5,000.00 level was the issue. Councilor Wehr moved to amend Resolution 19-708, Section 2 to read: “The Mayor and/or Council President each be authorized to sign checks drawn upon the bank account on behalf of the City for amounts up to $1,000.00 and that both authorized signatures be required for checks in excess of $1,000.00.” Councilor Hadley seconded the amendment to Section 2 of Resolution 19-708; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor DeYoung) voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay.” Councilor Robinson moved to adopt amended Resolution No. 19-708, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young) voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay.”
On June 28, 2019 the City Council passed a budget and filed the necessary paperwork with the State Department of Revenue and the County Assessor’s office, meeting the July 1, 2019 deadline. On July 17, 2019 the City received a letter from the County Assessor stating that they would not process our request at the recommendation of the County Attorney. This is a result of legislation before the State that, if passed, could throw back the viability of Damascus. The Oregon Department of Revenue has not responded. The County, State and Metro are refusing to acknowledge the Appellate Court decision of May 1, 2019 which nullified the disincorporation vote and declared Damascus a viable city. There is a 60-day period to respond to the letter from the County Assessor by our City attorneys. By Resolution 19-706, adopted at the July 25, 2019, City Council meeting, our City Attorney is authorized to pursue any and all legal matters on behalf of preserving the city. On August 14, 2019, the City’s attorneys filed a legal brief with the State Supreme Court asking for review of Senate Bill 226 (thus meeting the deadline allowed in SB 226 for such a review) and asking that it be overturned. The petitioners are the City of Damascus, and the following individuals: Mayor DeYoung, Councilor Robinson, Councilor Fitz and Council President Wehr. Councilor Fitz commented that this bill violates several sections of the Oregon Constitution, statutory law, the City Charter, etc. Mayor DeYoung reiterated that the city is in jeopardy again from the standpoint of legislation from the State; however, he believes the legislation will fail. Damascus is still alive as a City and is proceeding on that premise.
Mayor DeYoung announced that the Council is pursuing a banking relationship with Clackamas County Bank in Boring. The bank requires copies of the resolution (#19-708) identified above and of this meeting’s minutes.
Damascus is waiting for a document from the IRS with our new ID (EIN).
Once the City receives the document from the IRS and opens a City bank account, the City will make a public appeal for funding. All donations are accepted and appreciated. Donations are probably tax deductible with the federal government but it would be best to consult with one’s attorney. Once a City bank account is open donations will be put in this account. Several contributors are ready to donate. The Mayor’s goal is $10,000. The Council passed a budget of $1.7 million on June 28, 2019, but in the interim the City needs seed money to pay for CIS insurance from the League of Oregon Cities. Councilor Fitz commented that Oregon needs land use reform and Damascus shows this very clearly, with processes that create conflict with people that should get along except for this process. Councilor Hadley asked if the city can use the old City EIN for banking; Mayor DeYoung replied that the bank requires a new City EIN. Councilor Fitz moved that the City Council be authorized to ask for donations on behalf of the City of Damascus, Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried with all councilors voting “yea.”
Mayor DeYoung emphasized the urgency to move ahead on a Comprehensive Plan. People on the Council need to be involved on this and modify the plan as necessary during a work session. Councilor Fitz commented that by passing a plan we will be out of the crosshairs and on the threshold of being acknowledged as a real city. He was previously head of the City Planning Commission and said the 2013 Comprehensive Plan is good to go except for updating the map. Councilor Fitz proposed having a work session next week for the City Council to review the plan, followed by two public hearings, and then forwarding the plan to LCDC. Councilor Hadley asked if it will require a vote of the people. Councilor Fitz responded that we are not bound by a vote of the people but have a duty to forward the plan to LCDC. Mayor DeYoung stated that he is of the same opinion as Councilor Fitz, that the City should take action as soon as we can to have a Comprehensive Plan and show we are a functioning city. Council agreed to schedule a work session Thursday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. to review the Comprehensive Plan. Digital copies and CD’s of the 2013 Comprehensive Plan are available.
In an effort to improve communications, Mayor DeYoung has personally hired a young man to make a two to three minute video of Damascus—a collage of various scenes from the City with narration to be put on our web site www.damascusoregon.city. Mayor DeYoung has also put together a half-page fact sheet with the history of Damascus, past and present. He will give the Councilors copies and would like their input.
Under “Councilor Comments” on the agenda, Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their input. Councilor Robinson expressed concern about safety in Damascus in light of recent vandalism, break-ins and homelessness. She would like the Council to work with local communities to address these issues. A possible town hall type meeting with a law enforcement officer was suggested. Councilor Johnson was also concerned about a recent home break-in at the eastern boundary of Damascus during the daytime when a mother and her children were home. He asked people to be diligent, know your neighbors, be aware of suspicious activities and contact authorities. Councilor Wehr emphasized funding as an important step and the need to find creative ways to secure funds (possible income streams or organizations that might be willing to donate); hopefully this will be short term.
Councilor Fitz commented there is a rumor mill about what is going on at City Council meetings, the Supreme Court and challenges to Damascus’ existence. He quoted from Oregon State Constitution, Article 11, Section 2 legitimizing the City and the Council. Councilor Hadley emphasized that Nextdoor Damascus is a good way to keep up on what is going on in Damascus. He also mentioned the State Farm building by Centennial Park is for lease.
Mayor DeYoung said we need to find a regular meeting place soon, hopefully in the downtown area. The State Farm building and the old fire house are being considered. He also announced the 60th Anniversary of Centennial Park is on this Saturday, August 24, 2019. There will be a picnic at the park from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and he encouraged the Councilors and citizens to attend. Mayor DeYoung has a goal of forming an ad hoc committee for brainstorming on Damascus’ future. If anyone is interested in participating please let him know.
Councilor Hadley announced ODOT is having a meeting soon to discuss extending the Sunrise corridor east and he plans to attend. Councilor Fitz commented that Metro has plans for high capacity transit through our area in their 20-year plan as of 10 years ago. If we do not have a local community then that is our future.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
Minutes for Damascus City Council Meeting – July 25, 2019
After the Executive Council meeting during the 5:30-6:30 hour, Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Hadley, Johnson and Mayor DeYoung. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to accept the Consent Agenda, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
Mayor DeYoung stated that the first Damascus City Council meeting was on May 16, 2019 and there are two councilors who have not attended any Council meetings. Section 32 (b) (2) of the City Charter states that a vacancy occurs when an incumbent councilor is absent “from all council meetings within a 60-day period.” Positions 4 and 5 meet this on criterion and are therefore vacant. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council declare Positions 4 and 5 vacant per the Charter, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried with all councilors voting “yea.”
Councilor Wehr made a motion to fill Council Position 4 with Jeanne Robinson, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried with all Councilors voting “yea.” Jeanne has lived in Damascus for 46 years, was involved in City government in the past, and commented that she is proud to be considered for the position. Mayor DeYoung administered the oath of office and congratulated Councilor Robinson on her acceptance of the position. She then took her seat on Council.
Councilor Hadley made a motion to fill Council Position 5 with Mark Fitz, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried with all Councilors voting “yea.” Mark was on the City of Damascus Planning Commission since 2010 and was the Chairman at the end. He believes local control matters. Mayor DeYoung administered the oath of office and congratulated Councilor Fitz on his acceptance of the position. Mr. Fitz then took his seat on the Council.
The next item of business was Resolution 19-703, which authorizes the Mayor and/or the City Attorney to represent the City in resolving boundary issues with other jurisdictions. Damascus properties already annexed to Happy Valley will not be addressed. However, cherry stemmed properties may be considered under this resolution. Damascus citizen Steve Hoiland asked if someone could de-annex back to the City of Damascus. City Attorney Ramis responded that this was probably a very remote possibility. The court would most likely stick to the two-year statute of limitations. This resolution allows the legal team to resolve boundaries in the most amenable way. Damascus has a lot at stake as does Happy Valley. Councilor Robinson moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-703, Councilor Fitz seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Resolution 19-704 was discussed. This resolution authorizes the City of Damascus to establish and operate a municipal court. City Attorney Ramis commented that this resolution doesn’t change the status quo. It allows the Mayor to take steps and gives the authority to establish a municipal court as delineated in the Damascus City Charter. Damascus previously had a municipal court that ceased operations pursuant to an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Clackamas County in 2014. This resolution is intended to re-establish the prior municipal court after termination of the IGA. Councilor Wehr commented that this doesn’t mean we will do this immediately and spend funds. We should be receiving from the County part of the funds collected by the Court. Councilor Hadley moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-704, Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
City Attorney Ramis presented Resolution 19-705 regarding the interpretation of Section 27 of the Damascus City Charter: “State Elections Law”. Section 27 states that “City elections must conform to state law except as this charter or ordinances provide otherwise. All elections for city offices shall be nonpartisan.” Under this resolution 2006 statutes are applicable per the City Charter, not what happened three years ago. The only way to change State Elections Law is to amend the City Charter. This resolution demonstrates the City is a viable entity. Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-705, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Resolution 19-706 authorizes the City Attorney to pursue any and all legal endeavors on behalf of preserving the City. It is a catchall type of resolution. City Attorney Ramis said the purpose is to be clear that the Mayor and staff are able to pursue legal matters on behalf of the City. Councilor Fitz moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-706, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Mayor DeYoung said the financial state of the City is desperate and any monetary gifts are accepted and appreciated. At the June 28, 2019 Damascus City Council meeting the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget was adopted and submitted. The Clackamas County Assessor wants to halt implementation of it because of Senate Bill 226. Damascus is dependent on the County and State. We deserve State revenue sharing.
Mayor DeYoung announced that he has copies of the 2013 Comprehensive Plan available as well as CD’s and maps if anyone would like them. Councilor Fitz said the 2013 plan would allow for urbanization while preserving Damascus’ rural feel. Councilor Hadley commented there were three comprehensive plans presented to the voters and all three were rejected. The comprehensive plan needs to be sold to the homeowners of Damascus and meet the needs of those living here. Without a comprehensive plan we don’t have a city. The Damascus comprehensive plan will preserve the legacy or protected neighborhoods.
Mayor DeYoung announced there have been new additions/postings to the City website (www.damascusoregon.city), namely the minutes, and an improved copy of the City Charter.
Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their comments. Councilor Wehr congratulated the new Councilors and said there has been a lot of progress since the City Council reconvened in May. Councilor Fitz explained that the Happy Valley comprehensive plan extended 172nd with additional roundabouts as well as other street developments impacting Damascus. Councilor Johnson commented that we should encourage our neighbors to come to these meetings and have a chance to speak to the City Council. Councilor Robinson expressed her thanks for being appointed to the Council and hopes that Damascus is recognized as a City and can keep its rural feel. Councilor Hadley thanked City Attorney Ramis for representing the City so capably and for doing this gratis.
Mayor DeYoung said he is grateful to City Attorney Ramis as well. The Planning Commission will be inaugurated soon and he encouraged people to get involved. The Mayor believes Damascus will become the best place to live in the area. What we do here will last for hundreds of years. He encouraged neighbors to participate. He also mentioned a possible community picnic on August 10 at Centennial Park. This would be an opportunity for the community to socialize as well as meet the Council. Mayor DeYoung needs to clear this with the park and will keep people informed.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:18 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
Minutes for Damascus City Council Meeting and Public Hearing on the Budget for FY 2019-2020
June 28, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson and Hadley, City Attorney Tim Ramis, and City Manager Richard Carson. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
City Attorney Ramis asked to amend the Agenda by adding an item for Services Contracts. Councilor Wehr moved to amend the Agenda to include this item, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors present. City Attorney Ramis would like the Council to consider two contracts with the following companies: Cushing Civil Engineering for street construction and sanitary systems, and Alder Creek Tree Services. Councilor Wehr moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the contract with these companies based on the emergency need for services, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
Councilor Wehr moved to accept the Consent Agenda, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
City Manager Carson discussed Resolution No. 19-700, a Resolution certifying the City of Damascus is eligible in Fiscal Year 2019-2020 to receive State Shared Revenues (cigarettes, liquor and highway gas taxes) because it provides four or more municipal services. The Resolution states the City of Damascus hereby certifies that it provides the following four or more services enumerated in Section 1, ORS 221.760: 1) Street construction, maintenance and lighting; 2) Sanitary sewers; 3) Storm sewers; 4) Planning, zoning and subdivision control, and 5) Utility services. This certification is done on an annual basis and was last done on June 29, 2016. City Attorney Ramis asked for public testimony on this matter and there was none. Councilor Hadley moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-700 as stated above, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
City Manager Carson recommends the City of Damascus adopt Resolution No. 19-701, a Resolution declaring the City’s election to receive State Revenue Sharing funds (General Funds of the State) for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. Carson explained the City will take those State Revenue
Sharing funds per prior Resolution No. 19-700.
Mayor DeYoung opened up the Public Hearing time of the meeting. Steve Hoiland, a Damascus resident since May, 2016, said we should watch what the County is doing and see what we can do at a lower cost. He felt Damascus should hire the County to do what they have been doing, obtain the funds we can, and prove the city can do a better job over the next several months. Mr. Hoiland commented that we are better off as an incorporated city.
Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-701, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Mayor De Young) voted “yea.” There was no “nay.”
The last item to be considered under the Public Hearing agenda was Resolution No. 19-702, the Resolution to adopt the 2019-2020 budget of the City of Damascus, making appropriations, imposing the tax and categorizing the tax. The City of Damascus Budget Committee approved the 2019-2020 budget on June 20, 2019. The minutes and budget documents from the June 20 meeting are provided tonight for review and comment.
Mayor DeYoung commented that Resolution No. 19-702 tells what the budget will be for the coming year. The City Charter limits the tax increase from year to year. The tax rate for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 was $2.80 and the proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is $0.57. No one in Damascus will see an increase in property tax this year. Road taxes need to go back into our coffers and this is approximately $600,000. Mayor DeYoung invited public comment on the budget. There were several spontaneous and supportive comments from the public.
Councilor Hadley questioned the law enforcement budget of $535,800 and whether it assumes the same level of law enforcement as before. The Budget Committee feels this estimate is adequate going forward and takes inflation into effect. Councilor Hadley asked how many FTE’s are included. The budget would cover one deputy to patrol the area (including not only Damascus but unincorporated Happy Valley, Boring, and further east). Mayor DeYoung commented that if this budget is inadequate it can be addressed at a future budget meeting. The budget contains a contingency of $134,200 that could be used to beef up some areas. Councilor Wehr commented that the $535,800 is a pass through; if the City of Damascus is paying this amount then the County would deduct the same amount on their end. Councilor Hadley agreed to this estimated amount for law enforcement services.
Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-702, adopting the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 total budget of $1,738,000 and tax rate of $0.57; Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, and Mayor De Young) voted “yea”; no one voted “nay.”
Mayor De Young closed the public hearing time.
Council Business – No further business was discussed.
City Manager and Staff Communications – No additional items were discussed.
Council Communications. Councilor Hadley said he returned to the Council to finish his obligation to the City. He asked that people not pay attention to negative comments. A lot of the negativity is not coming from Damascus residents. He is willing to listen to residents, feels it is good to have control of what goes on in Damascus and move together in a positive manner.
Councilor Johnson personally thanked Mayor DeYoung for persevering and being willing to take on a huge task as well as spending personal finances. He is to be commended for continuing to fight when people were attacking him.
Councilor Wehr thanked everyone for coming tonight. He first volunteered to be on the budget committee before he was elected to the City Council. He feels positive about this budget, that it is a sincere effort to do what absolutely must be done and not spend any more than what is necessary.
Mayor DeYoung expressed his appreciation to all of the Councilors, City Attorney and City Manager as well as those who attended tonight’s meeting. It affirms there are some brave people who will reenlist to make Damascus a successful city. We want to continue to promote reconciliation, not negativity.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Minutes by Irene Pugh.
City of Damascus – Budget Committee Meeting
June 20, 2019 – 6:30 PM
Sunnyside Community Church – 16444 SE Hwy 212, Damascus, OR 97089
Budget Committee Members Present:
Council Members: Mayor James De Young, Councilman William Wehr, Councilman David Hadley, Councilman Richard Johnson
Citizen Members: Brian Pugh, Kerry Montgomery, John Fromwiller, Joe Kelly, Jeanne Robinson, Jay Robinson
Richard Carson, Budget Officer
Max Spellman, Finance Officer
I. Mayor De Young called the meeting to order and welcomed and introduced members of the Budget Committee and the Budget and Finance officers.
II. Pledge of Allegiance
III. Changes or additions to the agenda were requested. There were none.
IV. Budget Committee Meeting
A. Mayor De Young explained the purpose of the meeting, which was to review and approve the 2019-2020 budget and the tax rate.
B. Councilman Wehr made a motion to nominate John Fromwiller as chairperson. Motion was seconded by Richard Johnson. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
C. Budget Officer Richard Carson reviewed budget documents that had been distributed to committee members as well members of the public in attendance.
D. Several questions were raised by committee members, with responses coming from Richard Carson, Max Spellman, Mayor De Young, and others. Topics discussed included franchise fees, law enforcement, road fees, transfers of fees, distribution topics, the comprehensive plan, and the proposed tax rate of .57 per $1000 of property value.
Mayor De Young addressed the challenges that preparing this budget has presented with unknown income based on best guesses, taxes that are unpaid by homeowners at a rate of as much as 6%, and inflation rates of 6.7%. Generally, such budget planning and preparation requires 6 months of feverish work, but due to the remarkable circumstances facing the City of Damascus, our Budget Officer and Finance Officer have completed their work in about 2 weeks! They were thanked for their great effort.
E. Public Comment:
1. Chairperson Fromwiller opened the meeting for questions and comments from the public. Questions included the future spending and tax rates and how they might change over time. Mayor De Young explained that the rates can only go up by a small percentage based on City Charter rules, and anything above those rates would need to be approved by a vote of the citizens. In addition, every thing in this budget is provisional and should not be considered a standard. Other comments were about meeting notices and how they might go out to more area citizens. It was explained that the notices were sent according to City Charter requirements. Further, suggestions that a mailing going to every household would be cost prohibitive, especially considering that the city is starting out with a $0.00 balance. A question was asked about fees to cover elections in the future, and, as some revenue from franchise fees and revenue sharing will be coming in, there will be limited funds available as the fiscal year progresses. In the latter part of the year some proceeds from the tax levy should start coming in.
2. As no further questions were raised by those assembled, the meeting was closed to public comment.
3. Chair Fromwiller made a motion to change line 23 of Not Allocated Requirements to $535,800 and increasing line 29 to $134,200 in order to balance. Motion was seconded by Jeanne Robinson. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
Motion was made by Jeanne Robinson to accept the proposed budget as amended. Motion was seconded by Brian Pugh. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
F. Mayor De Young thanked and dismissed the Budget Committee. Announcement was made that a hearing on the approved budget and tax rate will occur on June 28, 2019 at the same time and place of this meeting. Again, public comment will be heard. Adoption of the budget and tax rate will take place by the City Council that same evening.
Mayor De Young also announced that he and other council members will be available for further discussion on city issues on Friday and Saturday at 1:00 PM at the Arrow Coffeehouse in Damascus.
7:44 PM Meeting adjourned
Respectfully submitted by Jeanne Robinson
Damascus City Council Special Meeting – May 30, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson and Hadley, as well as City Attorney Tim Ramis. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
Councilor Hadley requested one change to the Agenda. He asked that Council Business Item No. 4 (Insurance for City Council and employees) be moved to the first item of business.
Councilor Wehr moved to accept the May 23, 2019 meeting minutes, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung has received a letter from the insurance agency the City used before. Insurance for the City Council and employees is being diligently pursued and will be in place soon. Councilor Hadley was concerned that without insurance any city expenditure could possibly result in litigation against individual councilors.
Mayor DeYoung introduced Richard Carson, the new volunteer City Manager to be appointed by the Council tonight. The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the city and is responsible to the Mayor and Council for all city business. Mr. Carson has an extensive background in public service, most recently serving as president and CEO of Carson and Associates, providing consulting services to the public sector (2017-present). He has also been in consultant management in California (Citygate Associates, 2007-2017); director of community development for Clark County, WA (1999-2007); assistant city manager/director of community development for the city of Oregon City (1994-1998); and director of planning and development at METRO (1988-1992) where he developed Metro’s urban growth program. Prior to this he was a planning director and worked in the administrations of Governors Atiyeh, Goldschmidt, and Roberts (1982-1988). He is near to completing his PhD studies in organizational psychology at Washington State University. He is involved in many professional and civic associations and has received several honors and awards. He has published several writings.
Councilor Johnson moved that the Council appoint Richard Carson as City Manager, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung announced that there is a need for an additional, 7th person to serve on the budget committee. Kerry Montgomery was introduced and has agreed to serve on the committee. Councilor Wehr moved to appoint Kerry Montgomery to the budget committee, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung reiterated that the City’s budget must be completed and adopted by June 30, 2019. The new City Manager assured this can be accomplished. Setting goals by City Council and appointment of 6 persons for the budget committee were completed on May 23, 2019. The timeline includes public hearings, publishing notices, and Council hearings for citizen input. The budget committee will also set the tax rate for city taxes. Mayor DeYoung said the goal is to have the lowest tax rate of cities in the area.
Future matters facing the city were briefly addressed as follows:
- Relationship issues concerning Clackamas County and Happy Valley
- Securing office space available
- City Council meeting location
Community communications were discussed. Damascus has no city newspaper. The new web site: www.damascusoregon.city is set up for city communication. “Nextdoor” is also available for communication on city issues. Gresham Outlook and Oregon Live are news outlets; a Facebook page has also been set up: TheDamascus,ORTimes or anewplanforDamascus.
Date for the next meeting is to be determined and is driven by need.
Councilor Wehr expressed concern that weare creating a tax base but not spending money. Mayor DeYoung responded that no one is being paid at this time and Damascus should receive state revenue that can be used to contract with law enforcement. The new city taxrate proposal will go to the Department of Revenue for approval; if approved it will be attached to property taxes and come back to the city. The goal is to have the lowest taxes in the area and Damascus will be a place to enjoy living in.
Councilor Hadley commented that in setting the tax rate we need to get what we want with the minimum amount. The approximate $3.8 million that was refunded to Damascus taxpayers should have been put in an escrow account since there was litigation pending. Also $2 million of Damascus road funds went to the County and the city never saw any road improvements. Mayor DeYoung agreed there were problems with Damascus funds going to Clackamas County and taxpayers. Some of the road funds will be spent in Damascus this summer according to a schedule the County is following. However, the new city of Damascus should have a spirit of generosity and go forward from where we are, making new arrangements with the County and Happy Valley. The Mayor is in contact with the County and hopes to go forward in an amiable way.
Councilor Johnson recommended working through all of this as quickly and amiably as possible. There is a lot of information on the web that is inaccurate or speculative. He commented that Damascus has the advantage of putting something together that can be spectacular. He asked people to get the message out.
Mayor DeYoung asked that people come to the Council with questions. Damascus is in its infancy again and this has never happened before in the history of Oregon. Resurrecting a city is a great opportunity.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:11 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Damascus City Council Special Meeting – May 23, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:31 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson, and Hadley (via conference call), as well as City Attorney Tim Ramis. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to accept the
May 16, 2019 meeting minutes, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Andrew Morrison, appointee to Council Position No. 2, will not be sworn in at this time.
Mayor DeYoung announced the need to approve a city budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. A Budget Committee will be appointed tonight by the Mayor with Council approval. Mayor DeYoung asked if anyone present tonight is interested in serving on this committee and there was no response. Mayor DeYoung appointed the following committee members based on earlier communication with them: John Fromwiller, Monique Johnsen, Joe Kelly, Brian Pugh, Jeanne and Jay Robinson. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council accept these appointees, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
The goal of the Budget Committee is to come up with a bare minimum budget to start out. The committee will need to set the tax rate and determine the budget. The new fiscal year budget will be approved by Council.
Mayor DeYoung distributed copies of a previous budget document to the new committee members present, highlighting information pertaining to the budget process. Damascus is at the ground level of establishing a city and the first step is determining a budget.
The city will need to secure insurance to protect Council from any litigation.
Other issues facing the city were briefly addressed as follows:
- Securing State revenue sharing: resolutions before end of the fiscal year.
- Securing franchise fees from utilities; note Charter, Section 17 (f)
- Appointing a City Manager pro tem and part-time
- Relationship issues concerning Clackamas County and Happy Valley
- Securing office space that’s available
- City Council meeting location
Community communications were discussed. A new web site: www.damascusoregon.city has been set up thanks to Mr. Fitz. According to Councilor Johnson, “Nextdoor” has been used to announce meetings and should be used to promote factual information. Gresham Outlook and Oregon Live are news outlets; a Facebook page has also been set up.
Proposed date for the next City Council meeting is Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. This will be confirmed.
Councilor Johnson thanked everyone for coming to tonight’s meeting and asked for any suggestions on how to best communicate. There is a short time frame to accomplish a lot of work by the end of June. Councilor Wehr mentioned that the current Gresham Outlook has an article about the Mayor’s appointment last week.
Mayor DeYoung acknowledged Christopher Keizur, representative from the Gresham Outlook who attended tonight’s meeting. The Mayor also emphasized the need for a long-term vision for our city and a serious commitment to its success. He wants to hear the voices of citizens, plans to have town hall meetings and is willing to meet in neighborhoods if that is helpful. Mayor DeYoung encouraged attendees to leave their name, email and neighborhood with the Council tonight to assure they are receiving communications. Mayor DeYoung and Councilor Johnson will be at the Arrow Coffee Shop in Damascus Tuesday, May 28 at 12:00 p.m. and encouraged people to join them there.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
City of Damascus – City Council Special Meeting (May 16, 2019)
Meeting called to order by Councilor Wehr at 6:30 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were brief introductions and a history of the Appellate Court decision confirming that the disincorporation of the city of Damascus three years ago violated state law; therefore Damascus is still a city. City Attorney Tim Ramis was present and his role is to advise on any legal issues.
There are two Council seats that are currently vacant. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council declare Council Seat Number 2 and the mayor’s position vacant; Councilor Hadley seconded the motion; so moved and carried.
Councilor Wehr moved to appoint Jim DeYoung as Mayor of Damascus; Councilor Hadley seconded; approved by Council. Jim DeYoung resigned from Council Position Number 6 and this was accepted by Council. Bill Wehr swore in DeYoung as Mayor of Damascus.
Mayor DeYoung appointed Richard Johnson to fill vacant Council Position No. 6 and Andrew Morrison to fill vacant Council Position No. 2. Councilor Wehr moved to approve the appointment, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. Mayor DeYoung swore in Richard Johnson to Council Position No. 6. Andrew Morrison was absent and will be sworn in at a later date.
Mayor DeYoung expressed his appreciation for being appointed as Mayor. He followed with his thoughts on the direction for the City and the challenges ahead.
Councilors Johnson, Wehr, and Hadley thanked Mayor DeYoung for pursuing something he believed in so strongly and persevering. They encouraged people to talk to the community and get feedback from other citizens. They see this as an opportunity to start a new journey for Damascus and make it successful.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:14 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.