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Ashland takes another look at nudity

ASHLAND — The City Council is scheduled to discuss tonight whether Ashland's partial ban on nudity should add school zones to the list of places where at least some clothes are required.

In June 2004, the City Council adopted an ordinance to ban the display of genitals in parks and downtown. The ban prompted two dozen residents to protest naked outside the civic center, which is outside the downtown.

Organizers of the protest included Eric Navickas, who now sits on the Ashland City Council.

In 2008, Jennifer Moss, known as "the naked lady," caused a stir for bicycling around town wearing only a G-string. The Ashland Chamber of Commerce denied her request to be in Ashland's Fourth of July parade when chamber officials learned she planned to parade topless.

Earlier this summer, Tony Cooper upset some residents for his nude strolls through Ashland, especially when he appeared naked near Walker Elementary School as children were walking home.

Both Moss and Cooper were from California and have since left Ashland.

Ashland City Council member Greg Lemhouse has asked for a City Council discussion about whether to amend the city's nudity ordinance to restrict public nudity near schools and on routes where children walk to and from school, according to a city staff memo to the council.

The state of Oregon doesn't regulate nudity in public, but local jurisdictions are allowed to impose restrictions as long as they aren't unconstitutionally vague, City Attorney Richard Appicello said.

Council action could include taking no further steps on the city's nudity ordinance, or directing staff to draft changes to the existing ordinance for possible council adoption at a later date.

The nudity issue is the last item on the council's agenda for tonight's meeting.

The council also will discuss whether the city should authorize spending $25,000 on a recruiting firm to search for a new Ashland Fiber Network director.

Longtime AFN employee Michael Ainsworth has filled in as interim director since former AFN Director Joe Franell left Ashland for a new job in October 2008.

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. She can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.