Divided Damascus Reveals METRO’s Flaws

By Les Poole: Fortunately there is ample information available that gives us insight as to how Damascus became a land-use battleground, and why regional governments should not have authority over our counties for planning decisions. The Damascus divide should become a test case for modifying some interpretations of the Oregon Land Use Plan. Approved in 1973, Senate Bill 100 was never intended to become a holy grail for regional planning and control. The battle that’s pitted neighbor against neighbor in Damascus has become common elsewhere in the region, and each battle includes METRO as a major participant. In 2002 METRO proudly added thousands of acres to the Urban Growth Boundary, an action that should have been administered by Clackamas County. Unfortunately METRO was in control, and unreasonable expectations for Damascus became the order of the day. Damascus has survived the disincorporation effort, and eventually it will become a city that is prepared for the inevitable growth that is bulging along its western boundary. In May of 2014 we expect to see one or more comprehensive plans on the ballot.


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