DAMASCUS, Ore. -

Property owners in Damascus, Ore., are starting to take advantage of a law that allows them to secede from the city.

Approved in March, House Bill 4029 allows properties on the boundary to leave the city southeast of Portland. The Oregonian newspaper reports that at least 17 people have taken the first step.

It's quite the turnaround from 2004, when Damascus became one of Oregon's newest cities.

Residents back then hoped to control their own destiny amid urban expansion. Instead, Damascus has experienced political infighting and a revolving door of city managers