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City Council to discuss nudity ban expansion

The City Council is scheduled to discuss whether to expand Ashland's ban on nudity, which currently applies only in city parks and downtown.

The council meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

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 Councilor 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 the Tuesday meeting.

Another significant item, which is at the beginning of the council meeting, is whether the council should authorize spending $25,000 for a recruiting firm to search for a new Ashland Fiber Network director.

Long-time AFN employee Michael Ainsworth has been filling in as interim director since former AFN Director Joe Franell left Ashland for a new job in October 2008.

Other agenda items include:

  • further council discussion of a proposed city law to protect wetlands and stream corridors, although any approval of the law is not likely to come until September;
  • whether to authorize city staff to visit homes to see whether residents who get both Talent Irrigation District water and city water may be contaminating potable city water with irrigation water through their water systems;
  • hearing a report on the effectiveness of the Ashland Police Department's downtown substation, and how officers have displayed but not used Tasers;
  • and considering whether to send a letter to U.S. Forest Service officials encouraging timely approval of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan on Forest Service land in the Ashland Watershed.

For a complete list of agenda items and for details on each item, visit http://ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=12124.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.