Hillsboro bans smoking in parks

Hillsboro bans smoking in parks

HILLSBORO, Ore. -  The city of Hillsboro joined a handful of other Oregon cities and towns Tuesday to ban smoking in public parks.

Just hours after the passage of the ordinance, city leaders said they are more worried with educating the public instead of sticking them with $250 fines. But some people still expressed concern with the new law.

“If they have a problem with it they should add ash trays around the area if they don’t like it on the grounds,” said smoker Kathy Moore at a park. “But telling you, you can’t do it outside is kind of going too far.”

Hillsboro joins Sherwood and more than 400 other cities across the country to extend smoking bans well outside of public buildings. And some worry city employees could be overloaded.

“What I do have a problem with is using our code-enforcement officers, who we need in areas right now where we have criminal problems, going around to parks and trying to enforce a smoking law,” said Jim Feemster before the city council Tuesday night.

But councilors said posted signs will do the patrolling and not police.

“It’s just expected that you would follow the law,” said City Councilor Doug Johnson. “And if you don’t follow the law somebody may turn you in or go to you and point out to you that the sign is there.”

Even though the smoking ban is in effect as of Tuesday night, city councilors did ask the parks commission to explore setting up designated smoking areas and to explore what to do with city employees who work in parks but are also smokers.