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

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


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