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ASHLAND, Ore. - A woman seen frequently in Ashland riding topless on her bicycle says she plans to be in Ashland's Fourth of July parade free and independent of all clothing but a hemp G-string. The Chamber of Commerce says that's contrary to the rules for the family celebration. She says she'll sue if she can't parade as she wishes.
Jen Moss has been known as "The Naked Lady" since she moved to Ashland in May from Ojai, Calif., drawn by the town's nudity laws. They specify only that people must cover their genitalia in a city park or the downtown commercial district, which means Moss need not cover her breasts.
The police in California, she says, harassed her when she rode her bicycle wearing a G-string and pasties.
Moss applied for an entry for the parade, which draws thousands each year.
The Ashland Chamber of Commerce learned of her coverage plans from an online posting. She promised to lead in-line skaters "wearing only a hemp G-string and blowing a conch shell."
"We don't feel that someone in the parade who is topless or nearly naked is appropriate for a family audience," said parade chairman James Kidd.
He said a letter was sent to Moss on Monday and wouldn't speak specifically about the chamber's position until he was certain that she had received the letter.
Kidd did say that parade rules clearly indicate that entries must be appropriate for a family audience. He also said he understood that the Ashland city ordinance allows women to be topless.
"She's welcome on any other day of the year to do that," he said. "But not on the Fourth of July while in the parade."
City Council member Eric Navickas said he's on Moss's side.
If she can't be in the parade, Navickas said, it would be "an interesting commentary on our society that we're willing to tolerate dead bodies through our aggressive foreign policy from the war, but not healthy, naked bodies."
Moss told the Ashland Daily Tidings in an e-mail that if she can't be nearly naked in the parade, she would "run around near naked protesting their unconstitutional(ism) and un-Americanism." And she said, she would ask the American Civil Liberties Union for help in a lawsuit.
While this reporter hasn't seen a picture of Ms. Moss, I feel it is safe to say that she must be butt-ugly if the Chamber of Commerce is trying to stop her from being naked.