Klamath Falls, Ore. – Lighting up a cigarette in a Klamath Falls city park could soon cost you a $250 fine.
Klamath Falls City Manager Nathan Cherpeski explains that the new tobacco law would extend a ban that’s already in place for park play areas in Klamath Falls. “So this is actually an ordinance, and will prohibit smoking and tobacco use throughout the entire park.”
The tobacco ban would extend to all tobacco products, including chew, and include vaping and cannabis use.
Kathy Height is a smoker, but isn’t opposed to having a ban in place. “I think it should be, if there’s children around – and cigarette butts are dirty, it’s bad for the environment.”
But not everyone is in favor.
“We’re out in public.” Notes Joseph Barkley. “We’re out in the open air – and I don’t think it should affect anybody.”
“I don’t think they should illegalize smoking cigarettes and stuff in the park.” Adds Jesse Richardson. “What about homeless people? They don’t got a home to go smoke it in.”
Police are likely to give warnings, rather than tickets – but repeat offenders could get a $250 citation to appear in municipal court.
If the ordinance is passed, Cherpeski says the city will post warning signs. “Most people will obey the signs, we found that we had a lot of success with the signage around the play areas, and so it’s just continuing that healthy push.”
Joseph Barkley agrees. “There’s people around here that’s going to be enforcing it. It’s not going to be the cops, I would think – but they’re going to have to do their job.”
The ban would extend to all city owned parks, marinas, and cemeteries.
The ordinance will go before city council for a second and final reading on June 4th.
Efforts to enact the ordinance were spearheaded by the Blue Zones Project, and Healthy Klamath.
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.