Eugene City Council takes on smoking, pot buffer zones and turkeys

Wildlife feeding ban passes 6-2, making it illegal to feed turkeys, deer, cougars, bears, wolves, coyotes and other species.

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 12:16 AM
Updated: Jul 17, 2018 3:22 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The city council on Monday night held seven public hearings but took action on only one measure, passing a wildlife feeding ban intended to starve out wild turkeys, deer and other animals.

The aim, according to city manager Jon Ruiz, was to address Eugene's growing rat population and an increase in wild turkeys.

Councilor Chris Pryor said it was time for the city to begin trapping wild turkeys, which he described as "out of control."

But Councilor Emily Semple said a more effective solution to the rat problem would be a "shipping container full of rat traps" to be distributed throughout the city in 50-gallon drums. Dead rodents, Semple said, would be removed through "special corpse pick ups."

Semple also advocated rat birth-control measures, something she described as "very Eugene."

"Free love for rats," Semple said.

Eventually, Semple and Councilor Betty Taylor voted against the motion which amended the city's nuisance code.

One of the more controversial hearings was on an expanded smoking ban in the downtown area of Eugene. If eventually passed, the law would make it illegal to smoke in plazas, streets and other public thoroughfares. However, businesses could apply to the city manager for an exemption, allowing people to smoke near their establishments. Likewise, businesses outside of the downtown core could ask for a non-smoking area near their shops.

Twenty-three people were scheduled to speak on the smoking ban, with some saying it doesn't go far enough.

"I fully support reducing the amount of litter and exposure to smoke in public areas," Dan Weldon told the council. "Unfortunately, this ordinance accomplishes neither of these goals."

But one person spoke out against the smoking ban in general, saying it was all a matter of accomodation.

"A person that smokes should be considerate to the person who doesn't smoke," David Piccioni said. "And the person who doesn't smoke should be considerate to the person that does smoke. And if they need a little room, that's fine."

The council is expected to vote on the smoking ordinance July 23.

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