DAMASCUS, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Damascus City Council voted 4-1 Thursday night to deny several residents’ request to de-annex from the city.
However, residents said under a recently passed law, they can legally withdraw their properties from the city border despite the city council’s vote.
Prior to the meeting some Damascus residents, including Hank Brown, protested outside the Damascus City Hall headquarters.
Brown said he and others are furious with the city council’s decision.
“I am spending our money, our retirement money to defend ourselves at city hall on a state law that allows us to de-annex out of this city,” said Brown.
He and at least 45 others who live on the border of Damascus have filed to de-annex under a new law known as HB-4029, which allows residents living on the border of Damascus to leave if there is no comprehensive city plan.
For years, Damascus had not had a comprehensive city plan, prompting contentious arguments and even a vote last fall to dis-incorporate the city.
Aside from Thursday’s vote, the city has taken legal action and filed an injunction and complaint to stop residents, calling the new law unconstitutional.
“Jordan Ramo’s Law Firm is doing this lawsuit against the citizens pro-bono. So not only is the city suing us, but they’re doing it for free and we as citizens have had to come out and spend our money to defend ourselves and it’s a scary thing,” said Henry Brown, a Damascus resident.
Mayor Steve Spinnett said the city is not suing its residents, but an attorney said the legal action taken by the city is clearly a lawsuit and requires citizens to get an attorney.