Voters can strike back at Damascus council’s arrogance of power

by Ask Damascus

Why should Damascus vote NO on 3-375

Almost 400 Damascus citizens signed and collected petitions during the rainy and snowy Christmas break in order to let you vote on this plan and its sizable debt.

According to Metro the expense is in excess of 3 billion dollars ! That is 500 thousand dollars per household !

After adopting the plan in December, 2010 it is revealed at the 1/18/11 city council meeting that the city did get an estimate of 1.5 to 4 billion dollars.  This is the first time cost is brought to the public and a month after adopting the plan.

What are people saying about this plan?

In April of 2011 the entire citizen involvement committee resigned. Said Diana Lobo, committee chairwoman “We didn’t feel it was appropriate or right for us to be complicit in the lack of citizen involvement in the city,”. (4/11/2010 Oregonian)

In the May, 2010 issue of the city news councilor Diana Helm wrote “We’ve forged ahead with the comprehensive plan with limited citizen involvement…”

Since that May of 2010 statement, the council has refused recommendations of the planning commission and held a council meeting, passing the plan, at which the city attorney requested citizens not mention the plan.

Councilor Randy Shannon “Who is going to pay for it?  That’s a political decision we’re going to have to make down the road.”  (1/18/11 council meeting)

See him say it here

Payment of this debt has not even been considered.  Our county, state and country are broke due to this kind of spending and now the city wants to join the list.

Any plan should include how it will be paid for.

North Clackamas School district has testified against the plan as the property they purchased for a new school has been placed in an overlay preventing them from building their school.

Draining our families and hurting our schools this is quite a plan.

VOTE  NO  ON 3-375

See councilors Shannon and Jackman explain Who pays for the Metro plan is “political”.


  • valley person

    If credibility means anything to you Catalyst, you may want to do some fact checking before posting this nonsense.

    1) Metro has no estimate on the cost of implementing the Damascus Comprehensive Plan. Ask Damascus apparently got this number from a single newspaper article published a full year before the Damascus Plan was even completed. The $3 billion figure is not about the plan the city approved. Repeating this number over and over does not make it reality.

    2) If 3 billion were accidentally the correct number, you have to factor in that the plan allows development of another 22,000 households plus a whole lot of new businesses. So the ultimate cost, whatever it is, will be spread amongst a much larger population and business base, not charged to the handful of existing residents.

    3) The cost of development is mostly pipes, parks, and roads. Nearly all this cost is paid directly or indirectly by developers, not by taxpayers. If developers can’t make a profit on what they build and sell accounting for these costs, then they won’t build anything and the potential cost of implementing this or any other plan is moot.

    4) The citizen involvement committee did not resign in April of 2011. It resigned in March of 2010, a full 8 months before the plan was even adopted. And their resignation had nothing to do with the plan. It was mostly over a disagreement with the council on the tree ordinance.

    5) There is no “debt.” The city is not borrowing any money to pay for infrastructure. The cost of building Damascus will be incremental and pay as you go mostly by developers, with some help from state and regional transportation funds. Property taxes in Damascus were top limited when we incorporated and can’t be raised above that limit without a vote of the people.

    6) If North Clackamas purchased land not yet zoned for schools, then that was their risk. They can sell that land and buy another property in the right location.

    Ask Damascus should get its facts straight and make its arguments based on reality, not fiction. And Catalyst should do some fact checking.

    • Ask damascus

      The 3 billion+ figure came from Michael Jordan COO of Metro but of course VP knows better. VP is correct on one thing the committee did not resign in April of 2011 this was my typo, it should read 2010. Diana Lobo and her committee took a principled stand and reading her quote you can see it was not about trees. The majority of new citizens involvement committee now comes from a group called “Livable Damascus” who ran the campaign for councilors Diana Helm, Randy Shannon, Mary Wescott & Andrew Jackman. If looked up on the Secretary of States website Under “Orestar” you can find large donations by DEH LLC which is owned by Helm. The length of the link will not allow me to post it here.

      Lastly VP chose not to watch the video linked in the story. The city council is unaware that developers have lined up to pay for this plan. The statement on your point 5 “There is no Debt” When have sewers been put in without debt? No bonds, just free?

      My son when asked where he would like to live used to tell me that he thought he would like to live in Theory, because everything always works in Theory. VP has achieved my son’s dream.

      • Valley person

        Michael Jordan is not a cost estimator. If he said $3 billion, who’s estimate was that based on? And what plan was it based on? Certainly not the curent plan if the estimate happened a year earlier.

        I know Diana as a friend, and interviewed her about the resignation and interviewed other members of the committee. None said the resignation had anything at all to do with the Comprehensive plan. They all mentioned a problem over the way the tree ordinance was being handled. I wrote an article about this at the time.

        I didn’t say developers have lined up. I said it is developers who pay to put pipes in the ground and build the roads to serve their projects. In every city in Oregon they also pay fees to support off site impacts. Property taxes do not pay for development. Why do you think otherwise? Where is your evidence for this assumption?

        I said there is no debt because the fact is that there is no debt. Sewer pipes are put in without debt all the time, paid for by hookup fees and SDCs. Upgrades to treatment plants are often paid for with bonded debt that is paid back by hookup fees and SDCs. But if you don’t develop your property you don’t pay any of these fees. Why do you think you would have to pay for sewers if you aren’t tapping into them? Its simply not the case.

        Forget theory. Show us the facts here. Why do you choose to say that the cost of development will be borne by the current residents of Damascus? You must know that is simply not true. Yet you keep making the same claim again and again.

        How do you know whether I watched the video or not?

      • Valley person

        The statement that “Who is going to pay for it? That’s a political decision we’re going to have to make down the road.” by Councilor Shannon is due to the fact that you, Ask Damascus, supported and passed a measure that changed the city charter. Any new fees taxes or charges have to be brought to a vote of the people. You bragged about that right here on Catalyst. The City council cannot simply establish fees on developers as is done in every other city in Oregon. So unless or until the people of Damascus approve fees on developers, we can’t know how the infrastructure needed for this or any other plan will be paid for. Shannon was simply stating that fact.

        Why you make a political issue out of the consequences of your own measure is a mystery to me.

    • deanapostallies

      For serial liar Dean Apostal to use the word “credibility” is the ultimate irony.

  • Sadsack

    These idiots in Damascus are power mad fools.
    Who cares what some guy says.
    They are nuts!
    Voters rule.
    Not morons.

  • Shame Shame On You!

    I can’t believe so many people in Damascus fell for this ludicrous
    claim, that the Damascus Citizens would be solely responsible for
    $3 Billion worth of development fees!!!  Since when?

    Come on folks, you are being played for fools by these people
    at Ask Damascus!! 

    Ever hear of paying sewer fees by the month?  And that’s only
    after you hook up to the sewer, assuming you ever do.  As long as
    your septic tank is in good shape and not failing, you are not required
    to hook up to the sewer system.