Proposals: Restrict fireworks to New Year's Eve, July 4

EUGENE, Ore. - The City of Eugene may move to restrict fireworks to New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July.

The City Council discussed the proposals but took no action at a meeting Monday.

One of the proposals: limit legal fireworks to January 1; July 3, 4 and 5; and December 31.

The goal: Allow the lawful use of fireworks while reducing their year-round impact on pets, veterans with PTSD, wildlife, livestock and other residents, according to a staff report.

The Council will also weigh dedicating funding for police and fire to pursue public education and enforcement on the topic of fireworks.

Also up for a possible vote: a change to the city's social host ordinance to include the unlawful use of fireworks as one of the offenses that could land residents and landlords in trouble with the city.

City staff say this would help "deter usage of fireworks and alcohol together in party setting."

Oregon law already limits the kinds of fireworks that are legal. In general, fireworks can't fly off the ground or shoot flames or projectiles.

That such fireworks are illegal doesn't stop people from setting them off.

"We receive a lot of communications from the community about both noise and safety concerns related to fireworks," said Mia Cariaga in the city manager's office.

None of the changes would have prevented what happened to the Chavez family.

But one element of the City's proposed restriction on fireworks is a public education campaign to "educate the community on the negative effects of fireworks usage."

An illegal firework landed between the Chavez home and a neighbor's house July 5, 2014, setting their home on fire.

Their home is still being rebuilt. They advocate for a ban in residential neighborhoods.

Pastor Aaron Taylor with Crossfire Ministries says the sale of fireworks are what make a number of community programs possbile.

"Without them, they honestly couldn't happen. We just could not do them," he said.

Taylor called limiting fireworks to specific days "the most ridiculous concept i have ever heard in my entire life. Apply that to anything else it doesn't make sense."

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