There has been much discussion about whether or not the voters of Newberg will be given the opportunity to vote on the annexation. When the City Council passed Resolution 2016-3254 in March of 2016 to initiate the contract with TVF&R, it was understood at the time that there would be a vote in Newberg. For example, the Resolution contains the statement “Permanent merger into TVF&R will require a voter-approved annexation”.
The City and TVF&R’s interpretation of State law changed early in 2017. By then it changed to the conclusion that the approval of annexation in Newberg was solely the authority of the City Council. I believe that this is both misreading the State statute as well as ignoring the intent.
The following link will bring up a document containing ORS 198.866 which specifies the initial procedure for annexing a city into a district. There are notes added in red to clarify why it seems to be clear that an election in Newberg is required by law.
The following link contains the text of ORS 198.867 which specifies the procedure for the actual formation of the annexation. I believe that serious question is raised if there is no election in Newberg. Specifically, (1) starts with “If the electors of the city approve the annexation….”. If there is no election in Newberg, how can this be satisfied?
A similar concern comes up in (2) with regard to the electors in the district, but I think that is easily managed. One can argue that by not using the right of redress (gathering 100 signatures to require a formal vote in the district), the district electors have “approved” the annexation.
The following link contains a transcript of the 2003 legislative hearing where sections (3) and (4) of 198.866 were added (with other minor changes). These sections allow for the district election to be avoided when the city’s population is less than 20% of the existing district population.
I’ve highlighted in red the comments that make it very clear that the understanding during this hearing was that there would always be a city election when annexing into a district.
The first highlight (“However in the statute…”) is on a statement bade by Burton Weast who was presenting the matter. This is a clear statement that before the amendment was made, 198.866 required a vote both in the city and in the district.
The other highlighted statements shouldn’t need detailed explanation.