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Studded Tires

Pete Springer/OPB

On November 1st, in Oregon, you can legally put studded tires on your car. Many people say this is just in time, as temperatures in parts of the state are dropping into the 20s at night. Add precipitation and snow might be mere days away. Rocky Brown owns Lew Brothers Les Schwab in Baker City. He puts studded tires on his vehicles. Snow tires and studded tires make up a large portion of his business during the winter months. For many people, the enthusiasm for studded tires is not about sales, but safety. Some people say the right tires could be the difference between your car stopping — or not.

But not everyone holds that opinion. Jeff Bernards lives in Portland. He says studded tires cause $40 million of damage to Oregon roads each year. That money, he says, would be better spent on education. Now he’s working on a petition to ban studded tires. He’s gotten through a few legal roadblocks and now needs to gather 80,000 signatures by next July to get his initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

Do you use studded tires? Will you be put them on your car this winter? If so, why? Will you sign Bernard’s petition? Why, or why not? To what degree does the debate over studded tires reflect a divide between rural and urban parts of the state?

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