Damascus facing three big measures in March

Damascus Facing important vote on 3/11/08

The City of Damascus has 3 important ballot measures coming up soon that will have a large impact on how the city grows and who governs. The City council is lined up with Metro and 1,000 Friends on one side and hundreds of citizens on the other.

These measures were written by Citizens of Damascus, not Metro. They made the ballot at the request of Citizens of Damascus with more than 1,000 signing each initiative. City residents went door to door to get these signatures to let you vote on these important issues.

The first measure is 3-281 requires the City To compensate a property owner if plans implemented by the city should devalue your property. With zoning and or overlays that are not seen elsewhere in the state the Damascus experiment is controversial to say the least. The big thing at stake seems to be the ability of people to use their own land. With a new tree cutting ordinance (ordinance #2007-16) that redefines clear cutting to as little as 5 trees no matter how large the property and encourages citizens to turn in violators and to even consider the wind change effects that cutting a tree on your property has on your neighbors property. The City Council thought this so important they declared this an immediate threat to the health safety and welfare of citizens which actually prevents the issue from coming to a vote.

The push for green overlays on much of the city has been accompanied with the claim that it is not devaluing any property and not even making a change to the use. This leads to a question, if no changes are being made why are millions being spent on implementing this plan? It should be noted that not one councilor even signed a petition for you to vote on any part of this matter.

The second measure is 3-282 which actually requires a vote of the people before creating new taxes or raising the many that have already been created without any voting. The City Council has passed taxes on your electric service, natural gas, Verizon phone service all with little or no public input. Much of these taxes have been written in such a way as to hide the real impact of these taxes. Such as the Verizon phone tax, more than half of this tax is hidden in your base rate while just over 40% shows on your bill as a City tax. Per City Council minutes of 1/9/06. The tax on your electric service is completely hidden and does not show as a tax at all! Per City Council minutes of 10/17/05. These taxes avoided public input and discussion by having both required readings and the vote for passage at just one City Council meeting. It took approximately 40 seconds to pass each tax.

The city now has a fine of $500 for each tree removed if they feel you have violated ordinance #2007-16. What is a removal? “The act of removing a tree by digging up or cutting down, or any act that causes a tree to die precipitously, including, but not limited to, damage inflicted on the root system by machinery; storage of materials or soil compaction; changing the ground level in the area of the trees root system; damage inflicted on the tree permitting infections or infestations; excessive pruning; or any other action that is deemed harmful to the tree.” This amounts to an investigation by the city into the wrongful death of any tree with owners held responsible.

Measure 3-282 returns control of taxation to the citizens and sanity to our city.

The third measure is 3-283 which prevents the city from using condemnation for taking private property and transferring it to a private developer. This seems simple and logical enough yet not one City Councilor signed for you to vote on this one either. Over 3,500 signatures from citizens but not one from a City Councilor. If this type of action is not being considered why not make it law that the City cannot take someone’s home for the sake of a City planned private development? This does not prevent the City from taking property for the public good or for a recognized health threat.

What was the City Councils response to the citizens using the initiative process to bring these issues to a vote?

On 10/1/07 The Damascus City Council unanimously passed ordinance #2007-19 which created a complicated set of time limits for getting signatures and forcing petitioners to certify who and when the first signer signed the initiative. Interestingly when putting forth this limitation on the initiative not once did they ask for input from Ask Damascus, the only group to ever try to put anything to a vote of the citizens and the only successful citizens group to use the initiative process in the city.

On 12/17/07 The Damascus City Council unanimously passed ordinance #2007-21. This ordinance actually declared your voters pamphlet an immediate threat to public health, welfare and safety.
To make your voters pamphlet safe the City now requires that the City provide you with an explanation any initiative or referendum by petition submitted to the voters. This only applies to citizen efforts and this explanation may not be contested or even seen by the citizens until published in your voters pamphlet. Furthur this explanation will be referred to as impartial. All state measures require an explanation but both sides appoint representatives and then a third party that is agreeable to BOTH sides mediates the process in order to be fair. No where else in the state can we find a city that requires explanations be written by only one interested party.

Damascus has over 150 pages of new codes, 21 new ordinances, many new taxes and fees yet to date the Damascus City Council has refused to let the citizens vote on a single issue of any kind.

Thanks, Dan Phegley (askdamascus.org)

This ordinance and all the others can be read on the city’s web site at http://www.ci.damascus.or.us/CityHallOrdinances.aspx

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  • Jerry

    Sadly, these people on the council are hurting Damascus. They DO NOT represent the citizens. They are in over their heads and they know it – which is why they hide and use deception every chance they get.
    This is a sad, sad situation that will only get worse as these pretend politicians continue to make Damascus a bad place to live and work.

  • Steve Plunk

    This is just another step in the decline of self government. It is disconcerting to see this locally and statewide. The diminishing power of citizens against the state should have us all concerned.

    It also concerns me to see the administrative branches of government become more involved in campaigning and lobbying. Leave that to the citizens, to the voters. Administrative agencies like Metro should sit silent and accept the will of those they serve.

  • John in Oregon

    As I was reading this article one point stood out in these sentences.

    “To make your voters pamphlet safe the City now requires that the City provide you with an explanation any initiative or referendum by petition submitted to the voters. This only applies to citizen efforts and this explanation may not be contested or even seen by the citizens until published in your voters pamphlet. ”

    As I read that I thought back to a few short months ago to Measure 49. The legislature wrote up the title and explanation and blocked court oversight.

    Oregonians in Action filed a lawsuit in Federal Court only to have the Court side step the hot potato by saying file in State Court. OIA did not appeal or file in State Court.

    So now the City of Damascus feels free to write the Title and Language of citizen initiatives with out any oversight.

    We just had a similar decision in referendum 303. Partition signers have no recourse to being excluded. Will it be appealed?

    On this at least, Bill Sizemore has the right idea. He didn’t give up and kept fighting in court. In the end he won.

    We must keep fighting in court. Appeal, re file, fight to win, stand by principals that are right!

    There is no good reason to surrender in the first round.

    John

  • jim karlocik

    Finally we get a closer look at the utopian vision of Metro and the 1000 thieves.

    Thanks
    JK

  • dean

    I’ll offer a perspective from one who lives in Damascus. First to Jerry, you are partly wrong, partly right. The city council does represent the citizens, probably more here than in any community in Oregon. Every member but one was elected with large vote numbers. At least 2 of the present members (including the appointed one) were initially recruited and backed by the group Mr Phegley is associated with.

    But yes, they probably are in over their heads. Damascus is the first new city in Oregon that will be planned before it is substantially built. Local, state, and regional planners have no experience designing new cities, and the whole process is fraught with challenges. most new towns planned in American over the past century fail unless they are heavily subsidized because infrastructure costs at the front end out pace the ability to bring in revenue at the back end. Our elected officials are all volunteers with little experience in this type of effort. But I for one thank them for the time they are giving, free of charge.

    Why do you call them “pretend politicians?” What is that supposed to mean? These are my neighbors. They have buisnesses, jobs, are active in their community…why the snarky comments?

    Steve…”decline of self-government?” What in the world are you talking about. 65% of Damascans voted to incorporate, and all the present council members save one were elected. What is your definition of self government? When you get what you want, but majorities don’t matter?

    Metro, as far as I know has no involvement in these initiatives one way or the other, so I don’t even understand your comment.

    As for the initiatives themselves, 3-282 would be a ridiculous waste of time for we citizens should it pass. And it would likely cripple the effort to plan and build a city, because every fee that needs to be assessed to developers and builders (systems development charges and permits) would have to be voted on in a general election (once every 2 years) due to the double majority requirement. The irony here is that supporters of this measure who have dollar signs in their eyes as they anticipate being rezoned for urban development, will be left waiting years for each new fee to work its way through an election. And by the way, we already did vote to set our own tax rate when we incorporated. Up until now the city council has set the rate BELOW that which is allowed, so what is the beef?

    3-281 is basically a local Measure 37, yet it lacks the provision for waiving regulations. Thus if the city re-zones property, and if a property owner can claim a reduction in value, the city has to pay. Of course the city can’t pay because they can’t raise fees or taxes due to the other measure. And lets all admit that land values can go up or down based on markets as well as zoning, as we are presently seeing nationally. Plus…in the case of Damascus we will be going from rural to urban zoning. No one is likely to end up with less than they can do now, even if they do endup entirely in a greenbelt.

    The condemnation measure is a response to Kelo. I may end up voting for that one myself, but its effects would be far off into the future in any case.

    On the tree ordinance. Damascus has 10,300 acres of land, of which about 2500 acres are forested. 80% of this forest is presently under tax deffered commercial forest zoning. Timber harvest in Western Oregon is primarily clearcut and replant tree farms. But now we are in a transition from rural to urban. So the question the council is facing is how to keep the trees in place until the rezoning and development ordinances are adopted. Otehrwise property owners can clearcut now, not bother to replant, and file for a development permit in a few years, reaping a windfall. This has already happened at several sites by the way. So they passed a temporary clearcut ban until a longer term strategy can be created. This ban I might add, is overwhelmingly supported in the community.

    The comment on wind reveals some ignorance about nature. If I clearcut my trees on the windward side of your trees (southwest generally,) I have exposed yours to blowdon risk. And if your house is downwind of those trees I have put your life and property at risk. So yes, before you cut you had better consider what you are doing to your neighbor Mr. Phegley.

    As for the “green overlays.” Much of Damascus is very steep (25% of the area is over 15% slope), and some of that land is mapped as landslide hazard. There are also a lot of wetlands, and a dense network of streams. Maybe Mr Phegley wants to live in a future Damascus that is wall to wall development, with dirty streams (our drinking water by the way) and barren hillsides, but 60-80% of his neighbors disagree with him. So yes, some land is going to be be left undeveloped by not rezoning it for new development. But most property owners with acreage are going to get new development rights, and no one is going to lose existing rights. Lastly, there will probably be a compensation program for those few who can’t develop, though the details have yet to be worked out.

    As for JK…you have no idea what you are talking about. Metro made the decision to bring this area into the UGB, and they will have a say in the plan we come up with as they do with all local plans, but it will be our vision, not theirs at the end of the day.

    • Jerry

      I say “pretend” because that is what they are if they are afraid to let the people vote on measures that are before them. According to the article, none supported these measures coming to the people. In fact, it would seem they went out of their way to make sure the measures were not brought to a vote.

      If that is wrong I will stand corrected. If it is not, then pretend they are.

      People who purposely attempt to prevent citizens from voting are to be held in contempt. They are not politicians. They are wrong-headed, power-grabbing, power-hungry people who have no business in office. Period. I truly hope that every measure passes.

  • MH

    Is this our future?

    Marxism-Socialism-Communism

    Karl Marx (1818-1883) – Marx, the founder of Communism or Marxism was opposed to capitalism. As long as industries were privately run, he said, the bourgeoisie (upper middle class—people who owned the factories, small and large businesses and other means of production) would continue to grow rich from the labors of the poor. Marx favored socialism, the economic system in which the state (government) owns the means of production. He believed that the profits of all production should be distributed according to the principle “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” (re-distribution of wealth). Marx taught that the change from capitalism to socialism would occur when the working class, which he called the proletariat, overthrew the bourgeoisie who controlled the government. Eventually, said Marx, the state (government) will wither away, and there will come into being a stateless, classless, perfect condition—beyond socialism—called communism. Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto (1848) while living in London.
    Vladimir Lenin – Lenin wrote a book saying that the Paris Commune had failed because its leaders had not murdered enough of its enemies. To have an effective communist government, he said, it is necessary to kill entire classes and groups of people, and this is what Lenin did when he came to power. November 6, 1917, Lenin became the unquestioned leader of the first communist state in history following the toppling of the Kerensky regime by the Bolshevik Revolution. In January of 1918 the Russian legislative assembly, who in Lenin’s view were anti-Communist and an embarrassment, tried to meet but were forcibly disbanded by Bolshevik soldiers. Lenin (1917-1921) established a communist totalitarian state, consolidating his power through far-reaching changes:
    (1) The government seizer of all land
    (2) The government nationalizing of all banks and major industries, forcing workers to join government controlled trade unions at the same time denying the right to strike
    (3) Government rationing of food and consumer goods
    (4) Suppressing private trade and
    (5) Confiscating all church lands.
    In 1921 Lenin realized that the application of communist dogma to real-life economics had completely collapsed the Russian economy and facing the possible death by starvation of 170,000,000 people he adopted the New Economic Policy (NEP) which put Russia’s economy back on a semi-capitalistic system allowing private business and finance once again. But this was a temporary fix only, soon the Bolshevik grip tightened once again and brutally crushed all forms of freedom including freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of religion. “Enemies of the State” were imprisoned or executed. Human life had no value; anyone who posed even the slightest threat to the Communist regime was killed without hesitation. Lenin knew that by controlling the minds of students he could raise up a generation of loyal Communists. Communist principles were methodically drilled into the heads of students, who were taught that capitalism and religion are evil. The Communists sought to destroy the family unit. The people were to embrace the Communist State completely, whose leaders would do whatever they felt was for the good of the society (really, themselves) without regard for individual human welfare.

    Joseph Stalin – (1927-1953 era) Joseph Stalin was one of the most brutal rulers of all time. Personally responsible for the deaths of millions of Russians, whether a valued friend or an entire city of people, who ever got in the way of his plans were exterminated. Stalin instituted the first Five Year Plan superseding the NEP. He ordered small private farms to band together into collective farms. Ordered farmers to give their crops to the government for distribution and those that protested were either executed or sent to prison camps. Problems arose when too much demand was put on farmers and their soil, being over planted and worn out, caused a severe famine, especially during 1932-1933. Millions of Russians starved to death while Stalin was busy trying to conceal the magnitude of the famine from other countries.

    Benito Mussolini – After World War I Italy was drained, economically and morally. Even though it emerged the victor, the economy continued to worsen. Italians suffered from inflation, strikes, unemployment and hunger. In the first four years of the armistice, five Italian premiers were chosen and ousted. Italy looked for a strong leader to deliver the nation from it’s woes and that is when Benito Mussolini, a frustrated socialist newspaper editor, emerged. Mussolini organized his Fascist Party, promising to take firm control of the struggling government and thereby save it from falling to communist control. He soon had dictatorial powers. He ruthlessly crushed his opposition and took steps to build Italy into a major military and political power. Fascism is a dictatorial form of government which lets people keep their private property but takes away their freedoms. Mussolini would later become Hitler’s puppet.

    Adolf Hitler – Following World War I, Hitler, a veteran of the war, joined the German Workers party—a small extremist group which was nationalistic, antidemocratic, and anticapitalistic. Soon the group took the name National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which was abbreviated as “Nazis”. Nazism is a fascist organization having as it’s main characteristics, terrorist aggression, fanatical racism, and antidemocratic nationalism. 1924, under Hitler’s leadership the Nazis staged a revolt against the government which failed and Hitler went to jail. While in prison he worked on his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), an autobiography and exposition of Nazi thinking. 1925, Hitler was out of prison and again spreading the philosophy of Mein Kampf, which contended that the Germans were the noblest race and were destined to rule the world. By 1933 Adolf Hitler, following in the footsteps of Mussolini, had become the chancellor of Germany. The same year Franklin D. Roosevelt (the New Deal) was inaugurated President of the United States (March 4, 1933). There still existed in Germany a great deal of discontent from the previous economic woes and bitterness from the burdensome war debts. In this atmosphere of unrest and desired revenge, Adolf Hitler came to prominence. Hitler worked himself progressively into a position of absolute power. When he first became chancellor he was the head of a coalition (combination of political parties) government. His Nazi party did not hold a majority in the Reichstag (the legislative assembly in Germany) so in March of 1933, just before a new election, the Nazis burned the Reichstag building and blamed it on the Communists. This discredited the Communist party and gave the Nazis a majority after the election. Next the Nazi majority in the Reichstag voted to give Hitler the power to make laws by his own decree. Hitler named his new government the Third Reich. He withdrew from the League of Nations, making the league’s proposals for extended peace virtually worthless. He ended Germany’s World War I reparations payments, renounced the Treaty of Versailles and—against the treaty’s provisions—began rearming Germany. In 1938, the top German military leaders were defamed and forced to resign, at that time Hitler took direct control of the German army himself. Hitler was a genius as a leader of men. His domineering personality persuaded people to look to him for leadership. His speeches convinced the masses who listened that he was the man to deliver Germany from its long years of woe. The professed chief goal of the Nazis was to get people back to work and get the economy moving again. Jobless men became faithful and enthusiastic storm troopers (members of Nazi militia) when Hitler gave them jobs and feelings of having a patriotic and noble purpose. Hitler rebuilt the economy, largely by rebuilding the German military. Men and women were employed in the munitions plants. Hitler’s mind was always German expansion and to conquer with himself as “Der Fuhrer”. Most notorious of Hitler’s schemes was his attempted annihilation of the Jewish race. Hitler’s personal, intense hatred of the Jewish people lead to the systematic slaughtering of over 6 million Jews, Christians and other people in Nazis death camps.

    Fidel Castro – In 1959, after years of guerilla warfare, Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban ruler Fulgencia Batista (1901-1973). Batista had been a dictator, and the free world hoped Castro’s regime would be more democratic. The people of Cuba trusted Castro with great power because they thought he was their representative. But it quickly became evident that Castro’s revolution was backed by Moscow and that he was an avowed Communist. Castro pretending to lead a revolution to bring democracy to Cuba, actually brought that island, just ninety miles off the coast of Florida, under Communist control. Batista’s dictatorship had been exchanged for a Russian-inspired Communist dictatorship. Now Communism threatened at the doorstep to the United States. In 1961 the U.S. government gave its nominal support to an invasion of Cuba by Cuban rebels, hoping to over throw Castro’s regime. Unfortunately, the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs was thwarted by Castro’s forces because President John F. Kennedy did not keep his promise to supply air cover to the Cuban Patriots. In 1962 the USSR and the United States seemed on the brink of war when it was
    discovered that Soviets had established balistic missile bases in Cuba. President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba and ordered the Soviet Union to withdraw all missiles from Cuba. They reportedly complied.

    Mao Tse-tung – One of the greatest disasters for the cause of freedom in Asia was the communist takeover of China in the later 1940’s. The leader of the Communist revolutionaries was Mao Tse-tung. Second to Mao was Chou En-lai. Mao Tse-tung’s Communist forces, armed with confiscated Japanese artillery and plenty of aid from Moscow forced, the Nationalist government leader, Chiang Kai-shek’s army to flee to the tiny Chinese island of Taiwan (1949). Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai established the People’s Republic of China and maintained control of all of mainland China. The Soviet Union was very anxious to see Communism triumph in China. In many ways these two communist systems were much alike. Chinese Communists patterned their government after Russia’s with a constitution guaranteeing civil rights which existed only on paper and elected officials who were puppets of the Communist Party. The typical totalitarian (dictatorial) Communist state quickly appeared. Political “education” was accomplished through use of secret police, mass arrests, executions, slave labor, and the liquidation of all opposition to the new government. In 1957 Mao admitted that in the first five years of the revolution some 800,000 opponents had been executed. Mao’s party undertook a positive program to control every area of Chinese life, just as Stalin’s party undertook to control every area of Russian life.
    Suddam Hussein – Murdered more of his own people than any other dictator in history through torture, extermination, imprisonment, starvation, and chemicals weapons use.

    In 1919, the Russian Communists organized the Third International, an organization dedicated to bringing about worldwide Communist revolution and the establishment of a worldwide Communist state (one world government). The Communists are always ready to step in when a nation is experiencing unrest. Many countries are now controlled by the communists, and they have boasted that they would one day control the United States.

  • Becky

    dean,
    Was it 65% of those who voted, or 65% of Damascans who voted to incorporate?

    Metro is certainly involved. Anyone with experience with Metro knows this.
    Metro staff is no doubt spending time compiling and crafting much of the critiquing and opposition.

    As for your view of the initiatives themselves. The beef is simple. Local officials and planning bureaucracies can’t be trusted, period.
    It is they who have dollar signs in their eyes as they anticipate rezoning and Urban Renewal schemes to allow them to play developers with other peoples money.
    The examples are everywhere and people are now wise to their MO and pattern.

    What you don’t grasp is the objection, by many, to municipalities playing these re-zoning games. Why should Damascus folks expect anything different than the prior costly schemes we have seen all over the region?
    Just because you think all the schemes are swell doesn’t mean they are.

    What, you can’t imagine why people would object to paying for a Round At Beaverton, Orenco Station or Cascade Station in Damascus?

    “No one is likely to end up with less than they can do now, even if they do end up entirely in a greenbelt.”

    Well there you go. What’s the problem? You could end up without any ability to develop while your neighbor can put in high density next door.

    Dean says that’s good. It’s planned. It’ll be certified. Maybe win an award. And you should have no choice.

    On the tree ordinance. It’s the usual over reaching problem. The wind issue is the perfect example.
    Dean fails miserably to make it sound reasonable.
    Metro and cities have green lighted the removal of trees for development countless times. This is all about control.

    As for the “green overlays.” Sure slopes are mapped as landslide hazard. That doesn’t mean they should all be preserved.

    But dean plays Metro’s game by suggesting Mr Phegley wants the extreme opposite of wall to wall development.

    Then he cites that 60-80% of his neighbors disagree with him.

    Right out of the Metro play book.

    In stark hypocrisy dean wants officials/planners pick the winners and losers without compensation, yet he condemned M37 which was far more reasonable.
    It’s all about government planners and environmentalists using your money to control your land.
    Dean is a big central planning fan.
    So of course he says “no one is going to lose existing rights”.
    What about the right not to have a high density development next door? Sound familiar dean? That was some anti-M37 rhetoric.
    What about the effects of new development on neighboring property?
    You see folks, if government planners stick a development next to an existing rural use it’s OK.

    On the “compensation program,,details have yet to be worked out”????

    Don’t worry, trust them????

    Metro’s vision will be imposing their vision upon Damascus and with a help from their paid operatives such ad dean they’ll make it look like it was all locally derived. That’s what they have done throughout the region.
    Along with other government agencies and entities such as the League of Oregon cities the fix is in.

    Fantastic work by Mr Phegley and other Damascus folks to repel this attack.
    The more dean objects and complains the better you look.

    • dean

      Becky….where to begin?

      The 65% was of course of those who actually cast votes. People who do not vote are not normally counted in elections, except when their non-votes are part of double majority ballots.

      Yes…Metro is involed, as they are in every major land use project in the region. That is their job, and we elect them and pay fees to support them to do their job. But at least for now, they have taken a back seat and are waiting to see what Damascans come up with. If we stray too far from the corral they have the authority to veto the plan. That is the way the law works unfortunately. Are you suggesting we break the law?

      The “trust” issue is at the core of these initiatives, I agree.
      But it seems to me a conservative principle is to get government decisions made as close to the ground as is possible and practical. In this case, we have a volunteer elected council for a 9000 person new city. I would think we should cut them some slack and give them some support to get things up and running, and not undermine them so early in the game. Mr. Phegley and you obviously disagree.

      The re-zoning that will take place in Damascus is from existing rural residential, farm, and forest to varying degrees of urban. Some land is inherently more suited to be urbanized than is other land, and responsible re-zoning recognizes this fact of life.

      At this point we in Damascus have no urban renewal proposals, nor do we have an urban renewal authority established. If and when those are proposed we should deal with them on their own merits or lack thereof.

      Yes…some property owners are going to get extensive new development rights and others are not. We all recognize this, and we are still debating ways to compensate the former with revenues from the latter. I would think “conservatives” would be all for this, since for years they have argued that we ought to pay for the benefits we get from private landowners who provide open space.
      That is what we are debating. The devil lies in the details and we have a lot of work to do.

      Did I say “we should have no choice?” No. We have choices, and we should make those as a community. I suppose we could let everyone build whatever they want with no restrictions, no conditions. Is that what you are suggesting?

      Maybe you think the tree ordinance is an overreach. But the most restrictive tree ordinance in the state is in Lake Oswego, and they have the highest property values in the state. Coincidence? Plus, trees save taxpayers money in reduced stormwater management fees. Yes, land development inevitably results in some trees being removed. What we want to do is prevent that removal BEFORE development is planned so that at least SOME of the trees can be saved when that time comes.

      Not all slopes are mapped as landslide hazards, but those that are should not be developed. You as a taxpayer should insist they are not developed so that you will not have to bail out the homeowners who later on will face uninhabitable houses, as happened at Aldercrest in Kelso Washington a decade ago.

      I honestly do not know what Mr Phegley wants. But a city without green space is what we will get if we can’t create a plan that has green space in it. His main argument seems to be against green space, so draw your own conclusions.

      I want OUR COMMUNITY to create a plan for a new city that will end up being the best small city in Oregon if not the nation. I have been working with my neighbors since 2001 towards that end. I want the planners and city officials to work for us, not against us. If you look at the values expressed by the local citizens over the several years we have been at this, you would see that we have a lot of consensus on the type of town/country we want. How close we can get to that remains to be seen, but I don’t see the 3 initiatives as helping us get there, and 2 of them may simply monkey wrench the whole game.

      No…I would not say “trust them.” I would say get your oar in the water. Come to the meetings, write the city council, take the surveys, and talk to your neighbors. Don’t advocate half baked initiatives that are unecessary and unwise.

      Damascus is part of a region, a state, and a nation. There are laws that operate at all these levels. Whatever plan we come up with will have to pass muster at all levels. But will Metro “impose its vision” on Damascus? Only to the extent the law is on their side, and we choose to vioalte it. There are certain options that are not open to us. For example, we can’t create a “city” entirely or substatially of single family homes on large lots. State law says that EVERY CITY IN OREGON has to allow for 50% of its new housing to be multi-family. The Metro Housing rule (applies only to the Portland region) says we have to have an average net density of 8-10 units per acre. We may not like those rules (and most Damascans probalby don’t,) but we are stuck with them unless and until they get changed.

      Damascus can choose to not develop steep slopes, forests, landslide hazard areas, scenic areas, and historic sites. We could establish 200 or 300 foot stream buffers instead of the 100′ buffers Metro requires so that we can have green corridors for trails and wildlife. By opting for substantial conservation, we can hold the overall density of the city down and have a very liveable small city.

      For those arguing for low density, the legal way to achieve that in Damascus is to retain a lot of open space. And the economicaly fair way to do that is to create a transferable development rights program that entitles greenspace landowners to get a free market conservation value, paid for by the development of new
      urban neighborhoods. Everyone makes less money that way, but what does get made is spread around more evenly.

      We will see what the election results are in March. If 2 of the 3 measures pass, my guess is we all go back to square one. And if I were a city council member I would resign and appoint Mr Phegley to fill my place to deal with the outcome.

  • Matt Evans

    It is instructive that there was not a single “Statement in Opposition” filed to any of these 3 measures in the Voters Pamphlet. In addition, the City may be facing legal action due to their use of the “Explanatory Statement” on each measure to electioneer and make false statements in a Voters Pamphlet.

    It is also inaccurate to claim that the City cannot choose to waive regulations. The only difference between the Damascus measure and Measure 37 in this aspect is that Measure 37 allowed a property-by-property review for compensation. The City of Damascus can either pay compensation to landowners or it can repeal the ordinance that will cause it to have to pay.

    • dean

      Matt…there is no organized opposition. The decision to put the measures on the ballot only happened last fall, and I would guess most citizens are not even aware of them yet, so it is far too late to get a statement in.

      The “city” facing legal action means “the taxpayers” facing legal action. This is exactly why I think these measures are a bad idea. When we treat “the city” as some sort of alien occupying force we are cutting off our noses to spite our faces. The city is us. The council members are our neighbors who volunteer their time to make policy as best as they can. We do not need to treat them as the enemy.

      There is no provision for waiving regulations in the measure as written. Sure, all this can be sorted out later by the courts. Who pays for that? We the taxpayers again. There is no ‘it.” There is a “we.”

  • Becky

    Dean,

    “Who pays for that?” How about Metro? They pay for every other thing they dream up, with our money.

    Twice now you mention the 65% without clarifying the turnout or what the 65% represents.
    Was that a deliberate omission?

    Example. If there was a 35% turnout your 65% would represent only 23% of Damascus voters.

    We all know Metro is involved. We also know their job, elected, fees and the other filler you provided.
    They never take a back seat. They only pretend to do so. You apparently enjoy helping them.
    Are you compensated? Do you do contract work, get grants etc?

    Damascus will not be allowed to stray at all.

    Yes I am suggesting you “break the law”. What you perceive to be the law. Especially when it comes to density requirements.
    I’d love to see Metro in Court.

    At least you agree “trust” is the issue.
    Unfortunately the Damascus plan is not and will not be a genuine “close to the ground as is possible and practical” plan.

    I do not support any Metro/municipal process. They are patently dishonest, fatally flawed, wasteful of tax dollars and never deliver the promised benefits. Their primary mission appears to be self preservation and expansion.

    I am abundantly familiar with re-zoning. Metro doesn’t do it well. In fact they are terrible at it as chaos is usually the result.
    1998 & 2002 residential UGB expansions and 2004 industrial lands UGB expansions.

    Metro’s anti-growth, anti-car and hyper environmental agenda has corrupted responsible re-zoning.

    Of course you in Damascus have no urban renewal proposals yet.
    Those funding schemes always come later after initial commitments are made without the public seeing what is coming.

    Just like Milwaukie light rail and the upcoming UR schemes.

    Yes…. The devil lies in the details behind the scenes.

    Damascus has no choice but Metro’s choice. It doesn’t matter what you said or say.

    Even when you keep suggesting falsely that opponents want the extreme opposite “wall to wall development” or “let everyone build whatever they want with no restrictions, no conditions”

    There’s a huge distance between Metro’s vision and the polar opposite you straw man with.
    On density alone.

    But your goal is to mischaracterized the opposition and raise as the only alternative to Metro the most extreme opposite as possible.
    One which no one favors or ever suggests.
    We all know that essentially everyone wants our streams, habitat and farms and forests protected. Along with some green and open space where we live.
    Your demagoguery paint a inaccurate picture. Looser neighborhoods with decent sized lots and common areas have been removed from Metro’s model. Instead we are to cram people together and remove large tracts from use.
    That’s not even consistent with SB100 which called for the preserving and providing for all kinds of use including homes on large lots.
    This was acknowledged then ignored at a Washington County/Metro event.

    Yes I think the tree ordinance is an overreach. Lake Oswego is the perfect example of excessive.
    Yet you falsly attribute their relatively recent tree policy to their property values. More games.

    Trees in some theory, and in mass, perhaps reduce storm water management but the isolated prohibition of a few tree removals do not.
    Moreover you must be oblivious to the Metro standard for years for removal of whole tracts of conifers/Doug firs only to be replaced with a few cookie cutter, deciduous street trees.
    Typical crappy planning when whole tracts are removed, yet an individual tree removal is prohibited.
    But you deal in the theoretical which allows Metro to later claims all the new plantings reduce greenhouse gases.
    Never adjusting for the tracts of large firs removed.

    Your landslide maps that Metro would use are equally excessive and prohibitive. Metro cannot be trusted, period.
    Of course not all slopes are mapped as landslide hazards, but those that Metro would deem hazardous are as excessive as their attempts to extend watershed stream restrictions to 100’s of feet.

    Again you trot out the extreme scenario of “bailing out the homeowners who later on will face uninhabitable houses, as happened at Aldercrest in Kelso Washington a decade ago.”

    My impression is you don’t want to know what Mr Phegley wants. As demonstrated by your leap to presuming it’s a “city without green space”.
    Mr. Phegly may want green space in some yards preserved and provided for. Did that not ever occur to you? Phagely may want more green park space families can use. Perhaps his family has little use for another Metro habitat interprative center.

    Is your only vision of green space Metro’s?

    There are no mysteries here.

    You and Metro want people crammed together in higher densities with huge tracts of land placed in permanent green space preservation. Mostly as wild habitat without any useable parks for recreation.

    You want YOUR COMMUNITY to create a Metro model plan.
    I know how Metro makes their pitch and cooks up “consensus”.

    The 3 initiatives will provide some genuine consensus.

    Even if they simply monkey wrench the whole Metro game that’s a win.

    I would tell anyone to NOT “trust them.”

    And having been to many Metro meetings etc. I know how fixed their process is.

    Just as you have, every time they get something that does support their plan they call it “half baked, unnecessary and unwise.”

    Damascus would be much better off without any Metro existing. The county would have been adequate.

    Metro is in the act of “imposing its vision” on Damascus.
    They have morphed state law and mandated higher densities than is needed or reasonable.

    State laws can be changed.
    Metro can be abolished and the counties can take over.
    The Metro average net density of 8-10 units per acre is misguided fanaticism that you apparently endorse for our region.
    Yet you acknowledge your own neighbors do not.

    “””””(and most Damascans probalby don’t,)”””””

    If you spent as much time supporting your neighbors instead of defending Metro we would NOT be “stuck with them”.

    You are among those making us stuck with them.

    That’s a central point here.

    If it weren’t for the injustices of Metro’s policies such as the minimum density requirements the opposition wouldn’t exist.

    Get it?

    No you don’t. 200 or 300 foot stream buffers are as bad as the density requirements.

    You’re just a Metro guy. More concerned about wildlife congestion than traffic congestion.

    “””””paid by the development of new urban neighborhoods.”””””
    “””””everyone makes less money that way, but what does get made is spread around more evenly.”””””

    Boy there’s some red flags for fatal flaws. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If 2 of the 3 measures pass, you can go back to square one and dump Metro.

    Take a poll and see how your neighbors really feel.
    I’ll bet far more than 65% would tell Metro to take a hike.

    Get rid of them region wide and save the trouble they cause and millions they waste.

    Maybe then you’d resign as Metro’s spokesman.

    • dean

      Becky…do you live in Damascus or own property here? If not, what concern is it to you how we plan our city? Your beef seems to be with Metro, and i for one am not interested in my land and community being the test case for you or others to take on Metro. There are plenty of other avenues for you to do that.

      On the vote…it was in 2004, and I do not have the data on the turnout. I believe it was around 60% of eligable voters, but I just cannot be certain. Neither you nor I can speak for those who do not bother to vote can we?

      Your personal accusations are tiresome. I won’t dignify them with a response.

      Metro does not do ANY zoning or re-zoning. They make decisions about when and where to expand the urban growth boundary, and they establish standards and guidelines for regional cities and counties. You should at least understand what their job is before you tee off.

      The law is what it is, not what you or I perceive it to be. If city officials decide they cannot come up with a plan that satisfies local citizens AND Metro, then it will be up to them to decide whether to challenge Metro. But until we actually do the work of creating a plan what would be the basis of a challenge? How long would it take and who would pay the costs? You?

      Happy Valley tried that route in the 80s and lost by the way.

      Lake Oswegos tree conservation policy has been in place for many years.

      Metro does not have any tree conservation or tree removal policies. These are left entirely to local governments, except in the case of streamside trees.

      Landslide hazard maps were created by geologists at the State Department of Geology and Minerals, again, Metro had nothing to do with this. Maybe you think they are “excessive,” but I wonder what your technical background is to back your opinion up?

      I said I did not presume to know what Mr Phegley wants. I have asked him what he wants in the past, but he never responded. All I know is he has complained about too much green on the map.

      My personal vision for greenspace in Damascus is several steps past Metros. I have pushed for far more conservation than they want, as have most of my neighbors. They prefer we jam more people and businesses in and conserve less to save them the trouble of expanding the UGB elsewhere.

      Yes…state laws can be changed, Metro can be abolished, and Tinker Bell can appear and sprinkle magic dust on us. If you are suggesting that we in Damascus should take on your issues with the state land use system, I say thanks but no thanks. Not interested. Use your own community for that purpose, not someone elses.

      If I am Metro’s spkesperson, I should send them an invoice.

      It is clear to me you have no understanding of our situation in Damascus, so my last request to you is to butt out and let us work out our issues amongst ourselves as neighbors. If we need your wise council we will call you.

  • Jerry

    I am not sure Dean has ever met a left-leaning politician or left-leaning piece of legislation he did not like.

    Sad, but with people out there thinking that the council’s efforts to silence voters is acceptable, it is no wonder we are in the sad shape we are in Oregon right now.

    • dean

      Jerry…whatever you think of me or my politics, I’ll make the same request to you. This is an issue for the people of Damascus, not for you or others to use to work out your larger problems with Metro, the State, or anyone else. Please leave us be. Our city council is not “silencing” anyone. The claim otehrwise is a total crock. Deal with your own city council….please.

  • Anonymous

    Dean said
    Becky…do you live in Damascus or own property here? If not, what concern is it to you how we plan our city? Your beef seems to be with Metro, and i for one am not interested in my land and community being the test case for you or others to take on Metro. There are plenty of other avenues for you to do that.

    Is this the same Dean that approves of density on Division and Clinton streets ETC. in Portland ??

    That are not in his neighborhood?

  • Becky

    Dean,
    There’s nothing personal about this.
    But people, including those in Damascus are wise to Metro and their troopers like you.
    Pulling the “butt out” line is right on schedule.

    You’re not interested in any critisism of Metro and the role they play in Damascus or anywhere else. You would rather your city council and neighbors not discuss Metro’s role.

    You’ve butt in to many other areas with M37 and other topics so I’ll laugh at your suggestion.

    My concern is that Metro, having failed miserably to provide good planning, means bad news for Damascus and the region.
    The Damascus planning is of regional significance.
    Every heard that? It’s Metro speak.

    They use it every time they butt into evey community.

    So step aside with your claim of it being only Damascus’ business.

    The only reason you are not interested in my land and community being the test for Metro is because you support their effort to impose their model on Damascus.
    And you don;t care whether or not your neighbors know it.

    Of course you don’t have the vote numbers from 2004. Even though they are easy to get.
    So anything you say about the number is useless.
    You can’t even back up a claim that a majority of residents approved the measure.

    Right out of Metro speak play book is your
    “Metro does not do ANY zoning or re-zoning.”

    Metro absolutely does dictate zoning by mandating use and density to every city and county in the region. The cities and counties follow suit to comply by passing zoning ordinances.

    But you want people to falsely believe Metro has no hand in zoning?

    You should not be misleading people.
    That’s not nice.

    The process of coming up with a plan is crippled by misleading people.
    By the time is adopted it’s over.

    Don’t even try to lecture m on Happy Valley.

    I know exactly how long Lake Oswegos tree conservation policy has been in place.

    I’m famillair with Metro streamside policies and I know all about the landside maps & geologists at the State Department of Geology and Minerals.
    Moreover I know how Metro’s methods.

    Again you said you don’t know what Mr Phegley wants.

    Quit pretending dean. He doesn’t want Metro’s plan.

    You don’t want to hear what Mr Phegley wants.
    As demonstrated by your leap to presuming it’s a “city without green space”.
    Mr. Phegly may want green space in some yards preserved and provided for. Did that not ever occur to you? Phagely may want more green park space families can use. Perhaps his family has little use for another Metro habitat interprative center.

    Metro is forcing upon your neighbors more people and businesses than they want and you are defending Metro.

    Damascus should take on their issues with Metro. Not mine.

    You should stop misleading your neighbors.

    It is clear to me you intend on continuing to mislaead Damascus residents about Metro.
    Fortunately there are plenty of your neighbors who are wise to your methods.

    Damascus is of regional significance in design, transportation and fiscal maters. It is deplorable for you to tell anyone to butt out.

    I wonder where thast butt out line in in Metro’s mission statement.

    • dean

      Becky…you make it personal by continuously attacking my motives rather than focusing on the substance of my arguments.

      I helped organize my community to fight against the 1000 Friends plan for Damascus in 2001. I then helped organize my community to argue against the UGB expansion in 2002. I now have chosen to work with my community to get the best planned small city that we can, given the law and rules as they exist. I was the one who uncovered a “loophole” that may allow us to be planned at a density lower than what Metro had wanted. And I was the one who uncovered a fact, that Metro planners had not told us about, which allows us to avoid excessive density by securing conservation easements to preserve the green space you mock. Under EXISTING STATE LAND USE LAWS larger back yards are not going to cut it, because for every large lot we zone for we will have to add 5-10 smaller lots or apartments elsewhere in Damascus. That is the hand we have been dealt and we are determined to make it work as best as we can.

      So when you lecture me about Metro this and Metro that, and accuse me of being their mouthpiece, you are many miles off the mark, and yes, it is personal with me. I have put in hundreds of hours as a volunteer in this community working face to face with my neighbors, conservatives, liberals, and all other species, as well as our elected council. I have zero interest in my community and my land being used in your laboratory. In my opinion, Mr Phegley’s initiatives, whatever his intentions, are wrong for this community, and I expect my neighbors will vote them down in March.

      Lastly, if you feel it is easy to look up voter turnout in 04 then look it up yourself and stop bothering me about. I was the one candidate for city council who actually argued against incorporation, as anyone here can tell you.

      As for Anonymous…whether I approve or disapprove of what Portland chooses to do is not really relevant. I was a Portland resident for nearly 20 years, but have not been for the past 10, and I no longer stick my large Greek nose into their land use business. I do like some of the new Division street restaurants, love to hang out in the Pearl District, and take advantage of the bicycle paths and lanes whenever I can. I hope we can emulate the best of what they have done here.

  • Becky

    dean,
    Your motives are continually suspect when you mislead and misrepresent.

    Just as you did claiming “Metro doesn’t do zoning or re-zoning”.
    What was your motive for repeating that old Metro lie?

    Although counties and cities adopt the particular zoning ordinances Metro certainly dictates zoning. For location, uses and density.

    There’s no gray area or opening for you to truthfully say Metro does not zone.

    You opposed 1000 Friends plan, were against the UGB expansion in 2002 but now you defend and enable Metro, our land use planning, 2040 plan, higher densities etc.

    How about you cite for me the “EXISTING STATE LAND USE LAWS” that prohibit larger back yards?

    Metro is responsible for the region’s density mandates. And they are abhorrent. Metro has also made the UGB an impossible process taking millions and 10 years to cover the typical routine of expansion and master planning.

    The hand Metro deals will never work. Yet you find ease in condemning any alternatives such as M37 certainly was.

    I’ll have to continue lecturing you about Metro because you echo most of their propaganda.
    Lots of people put in volunteer time including those who circulated the petitions.
    Judging by your posts here much of your time is spent misleading and advocating Metro and their policies. Resulting in people getting wrong ideas.

    You clearly are only interested in your community being Metro’s laboratory.

    In my opinion, your Metro agenda is wrong for this community and the region. It has been shown all over the region.

    You live in a rural area, opposed the UGB expansion in your neighborhood, opposed incorporation BUT you fully support the UGB and ruining of other peoples neighborhoods with overcrowding higher densities.

    You’re the one who brought up the vote. But you apparently wanted to give the impression of a 65% public approval and when it is pointed out that it likely represents a minority, you don’t have the numbers.

    You’re too bothered to be clear.

    With this large and costly Metro bureaucracy meddling in every community it’s important for people to grasp what they do, have done and how they will effect new areas.
    Unlike you I hope we can avoid the worst of what they have done.

    Charbonneau is a wonderful, walkable, livable communities like many others, that didn’t take any Metro/central planning fanatics or huge public tax subsidies.

    Damascus would do much better, much sooner without yet another Metro fiasco.

    So would the taxpayers.

    • dean

      Becky….why don’t you and your supporters get a petition together to abolish Metro, abolish the UGB, abolish tri-met, abolish all the state planning apparatus, and be done with it? Let a thousand Charbonneaus bloom. Of course, we will have to ship everyone under 55 to Washington State, but that would save lots of wasted money on schools. Knock yourself out.

  • Becky

    Thank you dean for the cogent and germane response.

    Good luck with your Metro plan for Damascus. As soon as you figure out how to hoodwink your neighbors and steal from the taxpayers to pay for it let Pleasant Valley, North Bethany and the rest of Metro’s targets know.

    As people drive past those tighlty packed skinny houses all over the region they won’t be thinking good thoughts just becasue they ealier drove past the Tram, Beaverton Round, SoWa or IKEA.

    I guarantee there won’t be any plan or development in Damascus for another 10 years.

    That’s how Metro manages growth.
    And they call it “smart”.

  • Jerry

    Sadly, Dean, communities and what they do affects us all. But with volunteers like you helping out, I guess I will butt out. I am sure you have things well in hand and I only wish the very best for the Damascus peoples.

  • Becky

    Yeah right. Sure he does. He think the UGB is a working policy.

    In REALITY the UGB has long ago been hijacked by his Metro planners. So dysfunctional the UIGB has become that it no longer provides for growth at all. It simply obstructs it. The way Metro implements it serves to further obstruct while obscuring their agenda.

    They foolishing identify 5000 acres out in Damamscus as somehow providing enough residential land for the region’s growth. Like somehow jobs in Hillsboro will be served by housing in Damascus.

    Then after UGB expansion Metro makes the counties change the zoning to 20 acre minimums in order to further block grwoth for many years while “master planning” creeps along.
    And I use “creeps” for multiple reasons. The slow process, 10 or more years, and the creeps involved who call this smart growth.

    Even whe it comes to iundustrial land and jobs Metro is equally inept. Targetting residential neighborhoods with industry zoning next door was the ultimate hypocricy in 2004. Then after drsaggin the populous out to their pathetic hearings Metro scrambled to piece meal together a pretense of Industrial Land expansion.
    Happy Valley was added in 1998, Damascus and Area 64 & 65 and Norht Bethany in 2002.
    All of which sits waiting for big bucks and big master planning while our existing neighborhoods get crammed full of misfits and haphazard development without regard for it’s effects on neighbors or traffic.
    The idea that dean and the busy planning bureaucrats will provide what’s best for Damascus and the region is pure fantasy.
    He might as well declare success right now. 🙂

    • dean

      Jerry…thanks for the vote of confidence, even if it was insincere. But I am not in this alone, having the help of many neighbors and our elected city council.

      Becky…put aside the name calling and general snarkiness, and tell me what exactly are you offering as an alternative? What is YOUR solution to the projected 1 million person growth we are facing in the Portland area over the next 20 years? Where should they live, work, shop, pray, and play? What farms, forests, and open space would you conserve and how? How would you keep our streams and water clean, our groundwater from being depleted? Who if anyone should sit down and figure this all out? What should the laws and rules be? Who pays for the necessary infrastructure of sewer lines, upgraded treatment plants, clean water supplies, expanded and new highways, new schools, parks, and so forth?

      • Jerry

        It was not insincere, however, I don’t give you or the others much of a chance if this is how you are going to approach things. By doing everything possible to deny the people a vote on issues that affect them…great plan…should really help get everyone together on all this.

  • Betsy

    Dean,
    How can you be so narrow minded? I mean come on.
    How do you think Sandy, Wilsonville, Tualatin, Tigard, Sherwood, Forest Grove or Canby were ever created without Metro and the planner’s stupid schemes?
    You think central planners have to decide everything don’t you?
    What a fraud.
    If all Metro did was basic infrastructure we wouldn’t be talking right now.
    There are parcels all over the region where services are readily availble. But those aren’t the ones Metro has allowed in the UGB.

    The assinine methods Metro uses is ridiculous. There’s housing going in next to gravel pits and thoroughfares while nearbyu more suitable land is locked up. It’s like that all over the place.

    • dean

      Betsy…by law Metro has a coordinating role for 26 cities and 3 urban counties to set the UGB for the whole area and to establish certain common standards and bottom lines. They do this, for better or worse, by sitting down with elected and appointed officials from all of these jurisdictions and hash things out at the table. They don’t normally make decisions by fiat, though they do make decisions some are unhappy with.

      Metro has no funding or authority to finance infrastructure. At best they coordinate regional decisions on where to spend limited transportation funds that are alocated through regions. Water, sewer, schools, parks, and all other urban services are provided by a mishmash of districts, cities, and counties that Metro has little influence over. Case in point, in 2002 Metro wanted to bring the Stafford area into the UGB, but the adjacent cities, Lake Oswego and West Lynn, refused to provide the needed services, so Metro backed off. Gresham came to Metro with a proposal to create an industrial area on its eastern edge that Metro disagreed with, but they went along out of deference to local needs. In the case of Damascus, County officials were supportive of urbanization, while local citizens were not. Metro rolled the dice and made the decision.

      Yes…there are some areas that are easier to hook up to services than others. But some of these are on prime agricultural land, which by state law Metro can’t bring into the UGB until they have exhausted other options, including in places like Damascus. I agree with you that in some cases, we should build on at least the more marginal ag lands because they are easier to serve and develop. But there are not enough of these handy to house 1 million new people,a s the upcoming rural and urban reserve process will demonstrate for all to see.

      No…I don’t think “central planners” should decide anything. I see planners as skilled technicians who work for we the people under the direction of our elected representatives. Planners should develop options that meet our goals, and we (through our elected representatives) should make the decisions. If we don’t like what our elected representatives decide then we should elect others, OR, in extreme circumstances use the initiative (as Mr Phegley has done) to go over their heads. But….everything has to be done within the existing laws. If we have to change the laws first, then we do that or fail trying.

      By the way, there is a lot I don’t like about our existing land use laws and there is a lot I don’t like about the decisions Metro has made within those laws. I have been very outspoken and public with my objections and this has cost me financially in lost consulting work in the past, which is why I resent you and others characterizing me as some sort of Metro stooge.

      But is is not Metro that decides to put housing next to gravel pits and freeways. Those are local zoning decisions. Metro sets the UGB, it does not decide what happens within the line at the local level.

      How were the cities you list “created?” They were at favorable locations with respect to transportation, and the homesteaders or their heirs who took the land from the orignl inhabitants (Indian people) platted out towns on simple grid systems, sold off lots, and rough settlements built up. Starting in the 1920s these cities initiated zoning to control innapropriate land uses and protect property values and quality of life. In the Portland area the small cities gradually grew so much they bumped up all against each other. Some coordination was needed, and first CRAG and then Metro were created, through a vote of the people I might add. We now have the only ELECTED regional government in the United States, while evey other metro area has appointed regional planning agencies with varying degrees of power.

      I’ll repeat my question: where would you put 1 million additional residents, along with new employment, new transportation corridors, and new commercial services over the next 20 years? How would you go about figuring this out politically? How would you do it fairly? If your solution requires changing state law first, then fine…you and your friends get yourselves organized and get state law changed. In the meantime we have a new city to plan here in Damascus under the existing laws.