The small town of Pendleton, Oregon , pop. 16,612 city council decided not to make a rule which was : A. not needed and B. Could not be enforced.
Smoking which some view as a crime , some view as a habit and others a pleasure would at least not be viewed in this town as almost ax murderers. Let’s give credit to a sane vision of what smoking is about. You may not like it but don’t make it an activity that should be over regulated.
The council also turned down a motion to expand an administrative rule that would have banned tobacco use in all city parks, but unlike the REACH lease, no further action was taken.
Like a rule passed in 2013 that prohibited smoking within 25 feet of a playground, it would have carried no enforcement power, but when the new rule came to a vote, only Councilor Paul Chalmers supported it.
The tobacco ban had the support of the Pendleton Parks and Recreation Commission and Mariah Hinds, the Umatilla County Health Department’s tobacco prevention coordinator, who encouraged the council to adopt enforceable penalties.
Hinds said most citizens would police the ban themselves and the city could also convene a citizen task force that would go into parks and remind people not to use tobacco. She added that these task forces could also get permission from the police department to issue citations to offenders.
Fairley said the idea of a task force with enforcement authority was “kind of provocative” and Councilor Becky Marks said any kind of enforcement would cause more conflict.
Fairley suggested that staff take more time to craft a tobacco ordinance and bring it back to the council.
Primmer said the council should meet with Police Chief Stuart Roberts and talk about enforcement before considering an ordinance.
“I don’t want an ordinance in name only,” he said.
The idea of implementing a rule without any enforcement capabilities wasn’t popular either. Pendleton Police Lt. Chuck Byram said public confusion over having a rule that authorities couldn’t enforce would only waste the department’s time and resources.