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Medford wants ordinance so smokers can be cited in parks

A smoking ban in Medford parks fired up the City Council today as it pushed for a local law that would allow police to cite offenders.

The council indicated it wants to look at a ordinance banning smoking or tobacco consumption in any park or adjacent sidewalk.

"It drives me crazy in Alba Park," Councilor Eli Matthews said.

The council's directive follows a Parks and Recreation Commission decision earlier this month to ban smoking or tobacco products in city parks. Enacting an ordinance would give police the option to cite someone for violating the smoke-free regulation, including on the Bear Creek Greenway.

Alba and Hawthorne parks are often used by smokers. Alba has receptacles that accept cigarette butts, which seems to contradict the recent park ruling against smoking in parks.

Brian Sjothun, parks and recreation director, said his department is waiting until the city passes its ordinances to come up with uniform signs and other educational efforts to alert the public to the smoking-in-parks ban.

— Damian Mann