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MailTribune.com
  • Cities don't need voter OK to dissolve

  • When a city attempts disincorporation, does the action require the approval of Jackson County voters? A former county commissioner told me voter approval is needed because services for residents would become dependent on the county. Others do not seem to be aware of this.
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  • When a city attempts disincorporation, does the action require the approval of Jackson County voters? A former county commissioner told me voter approval is needed because services for residents would become dependent on the county. Others do not seem to be aware of this.
    — Margaret B., Eagle Point
    People probably are not aware of it, Margaret, because it appears not to be the case.
    We asked Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan whether he knew of such a rule, and he said no. He quickly acknowledged that he was not an expert on the issue, but he said what he had found indicated that county voters would have no say in whether a city disincorporates. Here are some of the salient state statutes:
    ORS 221.610 — "Any city not liable for any debt or other obligation may surrender its charter, disincorporate and cease to exist if a majority of the electors of the city authorize the surrender and disincorporation ..."
    ORS 221.621 (1) — "... The question shall be decided by election. The governing body of the city shall call an election when a petition is filed as provided in this section. ..."
    ORS 221.621 (4) — "The question of disincorporation shall be submitted to the electors of the city at an election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in any year, but shall not be submitted more than once in two consecutive calendar years. ..."
    ORS 221.650 — "... Within 30 days after the authorization of the surrender of the charter, the city shall convey, grant, assign and deliver all its property real and personal, and property rights, by proper conveyance, to the county in which the city is located for the benefit and use of the county. ..."
    As you can see, Margaret, there's nary a mention of county voters getting involved. The law does specify that the county shall receive any public holdings of the disincorporated city, but no mention of the county at large being asked its opinion about whether the disincorporation should be allowed.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.
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