Fireworks fallout from Eugene ban: '$50,000 out of our budget'

EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene put new restrictions on fireworks in place this year - and sales at fireworks stands run by a church went up in smoke.

"They changed this the day after sales begun," said Aaron Taylor with Crossfire World Outreach Ministry. "We only have a 2 week window to sell them, they change it and now we have to deal with this."

The restrictions put in place by the Eugene City Council cut the number of days legal fireworks can legally be discharged inside the city limits without a permit from 365 to 16.

After 25 years selling fireworks to raise money for church functions, Taylor said he's never seen so much unsold merchandise.

In the past, his stands have returned about a 1/4 of a semi trailer full of unsold fireworks. This year, the leftovers will fill 2 trailers.

"It directly affects our ability to help people locally," he said. "It's going to take about $45,000 to $50,000 out of our budget for helping those that are hurting, for doing youth camps and the money has to come from somewhere."

Taylor was critical of the city for putting so much emphasis on restricting legal fireworks.

"They ought to be concerned about illegal fireworks," he said.

The City of Eugene drafted and passed a law limiting legal fireworks use to periods around the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve.

"In fireworks enforcement the most important issue is the safety of our community, and that's really where the focus of this whole discussion has been," said Lt. Scott Fellman with the Eugene Police Department.

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