Ashland won't expand nudity ban

Ashland will not pursue an expansion of its partial ban on nudity after Mayor John Stromberg cast a tie-breaking vote against the move on Tuesday night.

The City Council voted 3-3 about whether to prepare a controversial ordinance to extend the city's nudity ban to cover 1,000-foot zones around schools.

The ban on the display of genitals downtown and in parks will remain in effect.

The council then divided on whether to send the proposal for a nudity ban extension to Ashland voters. Stromberg again broke the tie, voting not to put the issue on the ballot.

Stromberg said if enough community members care strongly about expanding Ashland's ban on nudity in parks and downtown to other areas of the city, residents can gather signatures and have the issue placed on the ballot themselves.

Council member David Chapman said his impression is that the nudity issue is not a priority for the community.

"Most of the people I talk to are asking me why I'm wasting my time on this," said Chapman, who, along with council members Eric Navickas and Carol Voisin voted against expanding the nudity ban or putting the issue before voters.

Council member Greg Lemhouse, a police officer who works in Medford, had proposed expanding the nudity ban to school zones after a nude man from California was seen by children walking home from Walker Elementary School earlier this year.

Lemhouse, along with council members Kate Jackson and Russ Silbiger, voted to prepare language that could extend the ban, and also to send the issue to voters.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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