Portland considers smoking ban at city-owned golf courses

AP News
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Posted: Feb 14, 2015 2:53 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The city of Portland is considering a tobacco ban in public parks that would extend to its five golf courses.

The Oregonian reports (http://is.gd/3YmovV ) such a ban would be the first in Oregon. Other Oregon cities that have banned smoking in their parks have exempted public golf courses.

"If they pass this, it's going to be everybody," said John Zoller, Portland's manager of golf. "It's going to be across the board. It's going to be all parks and parks properties."

In Eugene, the city-owned nine-hole Laurelwood course allows tobacco use, which is prohibited in city parks. Lake Oswego also has a tobacco ban in parks, but it allows smoking on the Lake Oswego Golf Course.

In Newberg, the Chehalem Park and Recreation District barred tobacco use in parks, but decided to continue allowing it at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course.

Head professional Branden Thompson said he and his staff were concerned about how a ban would affect rounds played and how they would able to enforce a ban. The district opted to allow smoking on the course, but to quit selling tobacco products there.

The Portland-owned golf courses include two at Heron Lakes, as well as Rose City, Eastmoreland and RedTail. To help with potential lost revenue, Portland's proposed ordinance allows groups that rent city courses for tournaments to apply for a permit that would allow smoking.

The vote is scheduled for Wednesday, but it could be delayed a week.

Other major cities have instituted total bans at public parks that include golf courses, including New York City, San Francisco, San Diego and Salt Lake City.

San Francisco's ban went into effect in 2005. The city's municipal courses include the famed TPC Harding Park, a historic course that has hosted PGA Tour events, a Presidents Cup and has been awarded the 2020 PGA Championship.

Tom Smith, the course's general manager, said the policy has not caused a drop in rounds played.

"We hear positive things about it from non-smokers who want to come out for the fresh air," Smith said. "They value that policy."

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com