Eugene City Councilors Wednesday approved a pilot ban on dogs in the downtown core. They voted against banning smoking. Both proposals are aimed at addressing public safety issues.
The vote was 6-2 in favor of keeping dogs off sidewalks and rights-of-way downtown. Councilors Betty Taylor and Emily Semple were the no votes. Semple said the ordinance will be a hardship for people who don’t have homes “because they have nowhere to leave their dog,” Semple said. “They can’t abandon it. It’s companionship, protection and warmth.”
The City Council is trying to address public safety problems in downtown Eugene. The city banned dogs from the University area about 20 years ago and police say it improved people’s behavior.
Dog owners who live or work downtown will be exempted from the ban which sunsets in November.
Only three councilors: Greg Evans, Claire Syrett and Alan Zelenka voted for the smoking ban. Many on the council were concerned about how it would affect businesses.
The pilot dog ordinance will be effective in 30 days. It’s set to expire in November. The City Council will decide whether to renew or amend it in the fall.