The city of Damascus is at an impasse. Not your typical choice between a liberal and conservative creed, selflessness and personal “wants”, or even individual power and collective rights. Instead, we are tasked with the decision to set aside our personal differences in order to prevail against the ever-increasing Portland Creep. The beast of Metro is one mentioned quite frequently in our little town. Unfortunately, the distain towards such a cancer with little action, seems to be where it all stops. From there, the people of Damascus appear to shift this negative energy toward each other.
On this November’s ballot, we could see everything from disincorporation, recalls of elected officials, and the long awaited comprehensive plan. It seems to be a virtual “choose your own adventure book” of decisions. One direction could decide the rest of the votes for a citizen.
What I’ve gathered, as I’ve kept my ear to the ground, listened neutrally to both political sides, and met with those in both camps of the argument, is that those who wish to remain a city (most of the populous) have been divided into two groups. One group who shows almost a blind allegiance to the Mayor, and the other who are so fed up with the Mayor and the political action group Ask Damascus, that they are willing to hand the city back to Clackamas County, under the control of Metro, just to see the political unrest come to an end. The latter, from what I’ve gathered, is so jaded by the negativity that has occurred at city hall that they have failed to comprehend the true ramifications of being under Metro’s reign. Those who are leading the disincorporation movement are a mixed group of individuals. Some are truly liberal-minded, who welcome the control of Metro, and others who are simply taking away the Mayor’s “sandbox” in hopes of a municipal “reset”. No matter the reason, the conservatives who continue to wage interpersonal war are making the disincorporation group’s job very easy.
There is not one single solution to this blanket issue, nor is there an easy one. There is however, a first step. It is imperative to understand that the feat we have is that of defeating an external threat, yet is no longer the “what”, but the “how”. If Damascus is to take a stand as a community with local control, we must gather as many as possible to achieve that goal. Given our track record as a city, I anticipate a great deal of disagreement within this group, yet now is not the time to address these disagreements. We have a comprehensive plan to approve, multiple committee seats to fill, a city manager to hire, and one city counsel position to appoint.
The negative, cutting, crusading techniques that have been practiced during these tumultuous times have done nothing to arrive at the stated goal. Carrying out the recourse of personal vendettas is not carrying out the will of the citizens. They have only served to drive a wedge between the good conservatives of Damascus and set the groundwork for our impending demise. The choice is ours. It is time to use logic instead of emotion to claim our individual rights and freedom.