- Court: Oregon Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Municipal Law
- Date Filed: 09-03-2020
- Case #: S066939
- Judge(s)/Court Below: BALMER, J
- Full Text Opinion
Petitioners challenged Senate Bill (SB) 226 which retroactively cured defects in a 2016 election where a majority of voters approved the disincorporation of the City of Damascus. Petitioners argued that the bill violated certain Oregon statutes and violated the Oregon Constitution. Petitioners asserted that: the legislature had no authority to refer the measure to disincorporate in the 2016 election to the voters; the Oregon Constitution has an implied prohibition on retroactive changes to elections, and the bill violated the city’s home rule authority. ORS 221.610 and ORS 221.621 set out the requirements for elections. Additionally, a legislature may pass a retroactive law unless it impairs a right of contract or vested right. Finally, home rule provisions provide that cities may supply the manner of utilizing the initiative and referendum powers as to their municipal legislation. The court found that the voters in Damascus had the authority to decide whether to disincorporate. The court also found no contract or vested right in having an incorporated city. Lastly, the court found that the bill did not interfere with the cities exercise over the initiative and referendum powers of municipal legislation. Thus, the court declared Senate Bill 226 as valid.