Tobacco-free zones proposed for Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Ore. – An effort is underway to make downtown Klamath Falls, and city parks tobacco-free.

The Klamath Falls city council asked the public who was in favor, and who was against the proposal Monday night.

Feelings were strong on both sides of the issue.

Alex Taylor of Klamath Falls said, “I want to be able to breathe fresh, clean air – and I can’t do that if someone’s smoking around me.”

Business owner Haywood Macabre said, “This will move business from downtown, this will make people go, ‘Well, I can’t smoke here – I can go to that bar across town and spend the same money.'”

A draft proposal calls for a fine of up to $250 for those caught smoking downtown.

Greg Adams says that will put an unfair restriction on both of his businesses. “That are single-person run.  If they need to take a break, they’ve got to shut down the business and go out back to smoke, and I don’t feel that’s right.”

Katherine Pope of Sky Lakes Wellness Center also spoke before council. She said, “I haven’t always attended or stayed at events downtown because there is so much smoke that I didn’t want to expose my son to, that I didn’t want to expose myself to.”

The prohibition would also apply to smokeless tobacco.

Council did not vote on the issue Monday night.

They’ve asked staff to draft ordinances to be written for parks, and the downtown area.

They’ll review those proposals again next month.

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle's job history is quite colorful. 

He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.

"The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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