Combating illegal fireworks

Combating illegal fireworks

Since 1951, state law has banned most fireworks except in professional displays.

But fireworks are still exploding in Oregon: Not just bottle rockets and firecrackers, but Roman candles and mortars. As for cherry bombs or ash can M-80s, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives classifies these as homemade explosive devices, and the Oregon Fire Marshal instructs local authorities to call the bomb squad.

The vendors who set up temporary shop in Oregon can sell only ground fireworks, like sparklers and fountains, that don’t launch anything more than a foot in the air.

But Oregonians have a proud tradition of hauling illegal fireworks over the Columbia River from Washington, where they’re legal and create a frantic seasonal border economy.

Read more in today's Willamette Week.