Board spikes tobacco-free parks proposal

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes If you got ‘em, you can still smoke ‘em in Keizer parks – at least for now. The Parks Advisory Board tabled last week a proposed partial ban on tobacco use in city parks. The board had proposed banning tobacco use near children, in proximity to crowds and where fire presents potential danger, but the Keizer City Council rejected it, asking for more specifics. Richard Walsh, now vice-chair of the parks board, said he was concerned about adding regulations “that we can’t enforce” and that smokers would be forced onto the streets and into nearby residential neighborhoods. “A lot of people go to parks to get away,” Walsh said. Board member Rick Day called a tobacco ban possibly “Orwellian,” and fellow board member Garry Whalen said he was changing his stance to oppose a ban, questioning whether government intervention was needed and if rules would be practical. Smoking is banned in Keizer Rapids Park during the mid to late summer season where fire danger is highest, city staff said. In the end Jeanne Bond-Esser was the only board member to support continuing discussion of a tobacco ban. “I’m in favor of a tobacco-free policy in parks because I think that’s good for kids and families,” Bond-Esser...

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