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MSNBC: PSU asks for smoking ban in Park Blocks
Author: Rod Hill
Posted: August 14, 2012

Read the original article on MSNBC here.

PORTLAND -- A student survey shows 75 percent of the Portland State University student body supports a smoking ban in the Park Blocks that run through the campus, school officials said.

The university is dedicated to providing a healthy learning environment and has asked the City of Portland to ban smoking in those blocks, according to Dana Tasson, director of student health services.

The blocks appear to be part of the PSU campus, but are in fact an extension of the city-owned park land that runs north to south through downtown.

Portland Parks and Recreation spokesman Mark Ross said the request will be considered and the city will talk to residents living near campus.

Ross said the city will look to reach a decision that makes people in the area as happy as possible. There are precedents in place for smoking bans in city park areas, including Director Park and Pioneer Court House Square.

Jennie Bradd is a non-smoking PSU student and said she supports the smoking ban. She said her 3-year old daughter, who has asthma, has suffered from attacks brought on by second-hand smoke.

Student Dana Summerfield worries her rights are being threatened. Summerfield says the Park Blocks make up the only free, open-air space left for smokers to enjoy.

She said she doesn't think smoking is a problem on campus, and she believes most smokers are courteous to their fellow students. 

Ross did not say how long a decision from the city would take. For now, smoking is allowed in the open green space of the South Park Blocks.