Possible smoking ban in Downtown Eugene has people fuming

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EUGENE, Ore. - A proposed smoking ban may leave the core of Downtown Eugene completely smoke-free, which has a few people fuming in the area.

Eugene's City Council heard from 22 people on Monday night's meeting regarding the proposed ban.

The proposal would create a downtown core zone where you can't smoke on public alleys and streets from 8th Avenue to 10th Avenue, from Lincoln Street to Pearl Street. It also includes a few blocks over to 11th Avenue in Downtown Eugene.

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People will still be able to smoke in designated smoking areas on private property, the City of Eugene said.

"People can just go three blocks outside the zone," said Jeff Keim, with Thunderbird Market. "Go to businesses where they're still allowed to smoke. So they're not going to come downtown. We're all going to lose our jobs is what's going to happen."

"It gets everybody nervous and anxious, people working here, about losing hours," said Tom Tracey, with the Horsehead Bar. "You know, you lose clientele, you lose hours."

However, property owners within the zone can ask the city to opt out of the ban, permitting smoking in a designated area adjacent to the building, which as some people still hopeful for the same business.

"I don't think people are going to stop dancing," said Shawn Difiore with a laugh. "I don't think they're going to stop drinking."

Still though, there are major concerns when it comes to the ban getting passed.

"Way too much government, way too much regulation to start telling people what they can do in open air environments," said Difiore.

The goal of the proposal is to make Downtown Eugene more welcoming and accessible. The city says that it is scheduled to take action on the proposal next Monday.




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