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Survey leans toward smoking restrictions


Council considers banning tobacco use in city parks

Public opinion is swaying toward restricting the use of tobacco in Estacada city parks.

In late October, city staff sent out a brief questionnaire with residents’ utility bills asking whether they would be in favor of banning smoking in city parks or having a designated smoking area within them.

At the council meeting Monday, Nov. 25, City Manager Bill Elliott told the council that 188 people had answered the survey.

Ninety-seven people, about 52 percent of the responses, were in favor of banning tobacco use in city parks.

Fifty people, about 27 percent, preferred a designated smoking area.

Forty-one people, about 22 percent of those surveyed, did not want any tobacco use restrictions.

Scott France, the chronic disease prevention coordinator of Clackamas County Public Health, spoke during the public comment section of the meeting.

France discussed smoking ban precedents.

“The reasons that jurisdictions are doing this ... is because parks are places people go to recreate, to have fun and relax and smoking is kind of antithetical to that,” France said.

Sandy/Estacada Police Chief Kim Yamashita had stated at a previous meeting that she would be in favor of banning tobacco use in city parks.

“Sandy made their parks smoke-free not too long ago, and we’ve seen a pretty good response,” Yamashita said during the meeting Nov. 25.

She said the ban has allowed officers to exclude rule-breakers from the parks.

“I think it would be useful and helpful here. And healthy,” Yamashita said.

“I am at (Wade Creek) Park almost every day when I’m able, and this really needs to be done because there’s so much garbage in that park with the cigarette butts,” Shirley Burke told the council during the public comment section.

In September, Burke had presented the council with 77 signatures in support of banning smoking in city parks.

“My stance would be, should we be asking ‘Is it a problem in the community?’ It’s more of taking a stance on this issue and promoting health in the community,” said Councilor Edward Smith.

Smith admitted to being a smoker himself.

Councilor Curt Steininger pointed out that when the responses of those who prefer a designated smoking area are grouped with those who do not want a ban at all, there is a “pretty close split in the community.”

“To me it kind of goes to having a designated area away from play structures and away from a play area,” Steininger said.

Councilor Michele Conditt said she would be in favor of a complete ban of tobacco use in city parks.

City staff was instructed to draft an ordinance banning tobacco use in city parks.

The council will vote at a later meeting on whether to accept the ordinance.

City Recorder Denise Carey said the next discussion on the matter probably will be held during the Monday, Jan. 13, meeting.