Home The Latest Oregon cracks down on illegal fireworks explosion

Oregon cracks down on illegal fireworks explosion

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, June 27, 2013

BY EMMA HALL | OB WEB EDITOR

06.27.13 Blog FireworksWith the 4th of July quickly approaching, many Oregonians are crafting barbecue menus, hanging red, white and blue bunting and preparing for their annual trek across the Columbia River for illegal fireworks. Oregon only allows fireworks that travel less than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air, but it’s a simple trip up to Washington to buy roman candles, bottle rockets or firecrackers.

The fireworks industry has been growing nationwide, with consumer sales of 185.5 million lbs. of fireworks worth $645 million in 2012, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. In fact, there has been a trend of state and local governments relaxing fireworks laws and prohibitions since 2000, the APA says.

Not so in Oregon, where fire departments hand down a $1,000 fine plus liability for any damages if you are caught with illegal fireworks.

Portland fire chief Erin Janssens launched a public service campaign against fireworks in 2012, partly a result of the high-profile Northeast Portland restaurant Aviary burning down July 4, 2011 after only 5 months in business (and taking 5 months and $1 million to rebuild).  Despite the campaign, Portland still saw 12 fireworks-caused fires and 35 fireworks-related injuries last year. It must be noted that although still a lot (a dozen is about the weekly average of fires Portland sees), 12 pales in comparison to the 55 firework-caused fires in Portland on July 4, 2004.

In her 4th of July safety message this year, Janssens warned against fireworks not only for fires and injuries but also for causing trauma to returning veterans, increasing the number of lost pets, and contributing to environmental pollution.

Perhaps this has had an effect on the number of Oregonians patronizing Washington fireworks stands. Despite the overall rise nationwide, fireworks stands are slowly dwindling in Washington — there are 90 in Clark County this year, down from 93 in 2012. Statewide, stands are down 3.2%.

Washington laws are also tightening despite the APA’s assertions. In October, Vancouver decided to limit fireworks’ use to only one day (ending at midnight July 4) and sales to only three days, beginning in 2014. The Washougal City Council voted in May to limit the sale of fireworks to six days a year, down from 13, also beginning in 2014. If the nationwide trend is towards more lax fireworks laws, the Pacific Northwest seems to be dissenting.

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.

 

More Articles

Revolution in print, pixels and passion

News
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
RyanFrankNewsBY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER

The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.


Read more...

Making faces

News
Thursday, February 20, 2014
02.20.14 Thumbnail ModelsBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

As retailers consolidate and newspapers fold, the business of modeling shifts to ad agencies, apparel companies and new media.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

Branching out

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
DSC04185BY LINDA BAKER

A blueberry bush is a blueberry bush — except when it’s a blueberry tree.


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

Car ignition recalls and lean product design

Contributed Blogs
Friday, April 11, 2014
04.11.14 thumb gm-gettyTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The auto industry is starting to share more costs across manufacturers for complex and challenging design work, like new transmission design, and certain new engine technologies. What we’re not yet seeing is wholesale outsourcing of “unavoidable waste” components to specialist companies.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS