Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Unhappy Valley - Nude Gardening Banned

Residents of Happy Valley, Oregon will have to cheer themselve up fully clothed from now on, as nude gardening is now illegal.

The issue arose when neighbors complained that Steven J. Howatt, 51, refused to put on clothes while gardening, mowing his lawn or walking around his property. A mail carrier also asked to changed routes.

Howatt, who didn't attend the council meeting, said the controversy says more about neighborliness than nudity.

If someone had spoken to him nicely, he said, he probably would have put on some clothes. Instead, one neighbor yelled profanities at him and others complained to his employer, the police, the media and the city, he said. "I'm disappointed we couldn't work out something."

A few Happy Valley residents wrote to the council in support of Howatt. "I hate to see more of our rights taken away because a few people are uncomfortable," said one e-mail.

Mayor Rob Wheeler said the nudity ordinance has attracted statewide attention. "In my seven years with the city," he said, "I've never seen people or the media so interested in what we're doing."

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