All Tillamook County owned property and grounds is completely smoke- and tobacco-free, as of Jan. 1.
By Brian Cameron
“As a Tillamook County Commissioner, I believe that it is my responsibility to advocate for changes that are important to the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Tillamook County,” Commissioner Bill Baertlein said. “It is my intention to continue to advocate for changes that will improve upon the livability of our community.”
Baertlein is referring to Ordinance 82 –making Tillamook County property completely smoke- and tobacco-free. Baertlein sits on the board of the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization for Tillamook, Clatsop and Columbia counties. One of the primary health objectives for the county is to improve community health and cutting insurance costs, which can be readily accomplished to a great degree by the cessation of tobacco usage.
The county measure was brought to the voters in November as Measure 29-151 and passed by a margin of 4,283 voting yes and 3,478 voting no – and as of Jan. 1, the new law went into effect.
“I felt that this was a community issue that needed to be addressed by the voters of Tillamook County and the Board of Commissioners voted two-to-one to refer the issue to the voters,” said Baertlein. “They approved the ordinance in the November 2017 election.”
According to Baertlein, his constituents in the medical field and social work have all come to thank him for referring it to the electorate. However, he’s received mixed responses from smokers themselves and even was told that the new Tillamook County ashtray may end up being the bed of his pickup truck. Baertlein was expecting some negative feedback after instituting the proposal, but he reasons that all this does is update Tillamook County to the same level the rest of the State of Oregon has been at with tobacco usage for quite some time.
“This ordinance falls in line with Oregon State law,” said Baertlein. “County Parks and State Parks now have the same rules and we will be designating campsites as smoking or non-smoking. This is an area where Tillamook County has lagged far behind many of our local businesses and municipalities.”
Ordinance 82 prohibits use of tobacco products at any time on Tillamook County property – which includes the interior of any county building or structure, grounds parking area or vehicle. The ordinance also prohibits smoking within 10 feet of the entrance, exit, windows or ventilation intakes to county owned or leased buildings.
The ordinance defines “tobacco product” as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and any other smoking product; dip, chew, snuff, snus, and any other smokeless product; and electronic smoking devices.
The stipulations do not apply to county roads, however.
Any violation results in a Class D offense with a maximum penalty of $250 in fines.
“The smoking ordinance is one that the voters approved, the 1 percent Excise Tax was one that the voters did not approve,” said Baertlein. “In both instances, these were issues that involved improvement to the lives of those living in our community.”