By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Sheridan council moves forward with smoking ban

SHERIDAN —The Sheridan City Council is moving forward with a plan to prohibit smoking on sidewalks and streets in designated portions of its downtown core.

Councilors began by considering a ban on smoking within 50 feet of a medical facility. They went on to consider banning smoking, by either conventional or electronic means, on sidewalks along an extended portion of South Bridge Street and parts of Main Street.

At their direction, City Attorney Walt Gowell drew up an ordinance prohibiting sidewalk smoking along portions of South Bridge, East Main, North Bridge and West Main.

The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act bans smoking near entrances, exits and windows that open, along with ventilation intakes that serve enclosed areas, City Manager Frank Sheridan noted in a report to the council. He said a ban would help bring the city into compliance.

Sheridan said the ban would affect 49 tax lots, but only 36 of them have structures on them at present. He said a letter had been mailed to their owners and tenants.

He said he planned to visit affected businesses to explain the city’s thinking and field questions. 

“There’s a misconception that we are banning it on every street in the downtown area,” he said, but noted that’s not the case.

Sheridan and Councilor Rene Quinones both noted there are potential pitfalls that need to be considered.

“What about if you’re in your car parked on the street?” Sheridan asked. Quinones echoed that, asking how the city would treat someone riding through a no-smoking zone on a bike.

“We’re talking about an enforcement issue,” said Councilor Larry McCandless, who thinks extending the ban to streets, or even appearing to, would be problematical. Unless the ban is limited strictly to sidewalks, he said, “I see us creating an even bigger enforcement problem.”

The council will meet next at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3. It plans to take public comment on the issue then.

Once the council finalizes the ordinance, it will need to conduct three readings, at least two on separate occasions, before conducting a vote.

Copies of a map delineating the sidewalks being singled out for attention are available at city hall.

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The map can be found at this city web site - http://www.cityofsheridanor.com/vertical/sites/%7BEB0DD61B-914B-47DE-BD5C-E59130F53846%7D/uploads/cc_072015_letter_about_sidewalk_smoking_map.pdf

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