Eugene Considers Smoke Free Parks And Downtown

May 21, 2015

Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Department has been considering a smoking ban for years. They happened to present their idea to the City just as the City Council began debating a downtown smoking ban.

Eugene's Park Blocks, home to its Saturday Market, would be smoke free under the Parks rule.

There’s plenty of precedent for these kinds of bans. All Oregon State Parks are smoke free. Craig Carnagey is with Eugene’s Parks Department. He says the ban is a logical step:

Carnagey: “Over the last few years that I’ve been with the city I’ve heard from numerous people complaining about the number of smokers in our parks, particularly in playgrounds and on our running paths.”

Carnagey says the administrative order needs only the approval of the City Manager. The ban would cover all publicly used park lands, including the downtown park blocks but not Kesey Square. It requires a public comment period, likely in late July, for early September implementation.

Eugene spokeswoman Laura Hammond says the City Council isn’t done talking about a downtown ban:

Hammond: “It sounded like they were interested in continuing the conversation about expanding smoke-free areas. They wanted to hear from other stakeholders including businesses about what would make sense. And potentially look at how that might work in our community.”

Hammond says many details need to be discussed, including the boundaries of the smoke-free zone.