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Bend official says extended fireworks use ban could become permanent in the future

(Update: adding video, new info)

City extends state of emergency, fireworks use ban through end of August

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend announced Thursday it is extending the local state of emergency in response to extreme weather conditions through the end of August, including a ban on use of fireworks that helped quiet the city over the Fourth. Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore, hinted to NewsChannel 21 similar restrictions on the use and possibly sale of fireworks could soon be adopted into permanent city code.

"I've been in the city for 20 years, I've worked with the city for about 10," Skidmore said. "With each year, the calls for prohibiting the use of fireworks grows louder."

Skidmore said city councilors will consider permanent changes regarding fireworks regulations at a meeting next month.

"Whether it's seasonally, year round -- it could look at sale of fireworks, it could look at use of fireworks," he said. "We could be looking at professionally produced shows such as the one on Pilot Butte. So a broad range of topics to discuss, and it looks like council will be taking that up some time in August."

The emergency order includes mobilizing city resources to provide support services to unhoused community members and the immediate ban on the use of all fireworks within the city of Bend, according to the announcement, which continues below:

The amended emergency order extends the expiration date from July 9 to August 31 and updates the findings to be more current.

“We appreciate the community’s assistance over the Fourth of July weekend in not using fireworks,” said city Chief Operating Officer and Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore. “We had many fewer calls for service, with only one citation issued for use of fireworks. Our community stepped up and helped keep Bend safe.”

Despite slightly cooler temperatures this week, local fire risk is still extreme, officials said, with dry fire fuels in Bend and around the city. Temperatures are expected to rise again in the coming days, continuing to impact unhoused and vulnerable community members.

"Extending this emergency order provides the city the most flexibility to support unhoused community members and preserve public safety and water resources during these extreme weather conditions," the announcement said. The City Council is expected to ratify the emergency declaration at its July 21 meeting.

Lynne Ouchida, community outreach manager for the Humane Society of Central Oregon, said the city's first fireworks ban also greatly reduced the number of lost dogs brought to the shelter.

She said the week surrounding July 4th is usually their busiest time of the year, with fireworks scaring many dogs away from their homes and onto the streets. For example, five years ago, the shelter had 16 lost dogs on July 5th. This year, they only had one.

"We always wondered what would happen, but to actually, after 30 years in this business, to witness it, I can only say it is the best thing to happen and to see," Ouchida told NewsChannel 21. "I love witnessing that positive impact that the banning has had on animals, and I hope that it continues."

Pat Bowling, manager of BrightSide Animal Center in Redmond, echoed a similar sentiment. She said the shelter had reduced numbers this year as well, and would like to see such bans stick for good.

If Bend cannot ban fireworks altogether, Ouchida suggested the city use the new silent fireworks displays for the large show at Pilot Butte. That way, animals and people will not be impacted by the explosive nature of the fireworks.

The city of Redmond's fireworks use ban already extends for 60 days; Deschutes County commissioners have not yet discussed whether to extend the ban, an official said.

NewsChannel 21's Max Goldwasser will have more in his report First at Ten on Fox.

“It is likely that the City Council will engage in a conversation regarding fireworks regulations, starting in August,” said Skidmore. “But through this summer, we are asking community members to refrain from lighting fireworks due to high heat, drought conditions, water curtailment and the extremely dry fuel conditions.”

Community members are encouraged to report the use of fireworks via email at fireworks@bendoregon.gov. Use of fireworks posing an immediate risk to persons or property are emergencies and should be reported by calling 911. Response to all 911 calls for service are based on priority.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

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Comments

76 Comments

      1. Vehicles serve a necessary function. The risk they pose to others is more than balanced by their function in modern society.

        Fireworks run multiple, major risks to people and property while serving no useful purpose.

        Banning them makes perfect sense, especially given the heat and drought conditions.

    1. …And lets not forget about PGE with the ‘above-ground electrical infraatructure’ in the most wildfire prone places in the world. Should we ban that too?

      1. I think the comparison is apt. Obviously fireworks are not as important as a pandemic. However, the boiling a frog slowly method of ramming policy through under the guise of an emergency still works as well as ever.

  1. It is likely that the City Council will engage in a conversation regarding fireworks regulations, starting in August,”….There it is. They are leaning and likely to enact a permanent ban. Delighting Fido owners and disappointing the next generation of children. Sad but not surprising for California’s newest suburb…

    1. Delighting Fido owners, veterans with PTSD, everyone with half a brain and the next generation of children who still have a roof of over their heads and trees to shade them. There, fixed it for you!

      1. Left is left. Jump back in the Prius and go search out the rubes that you attack. Maybe get a job with the government and search out the anti-vaxers.

        1. Please clarify which rubes I’m attacking. Fire doesn’t care which way you lean politically. As for the anti-vaxxers, the government doesn’t need to search them out. Natural selection at work…

      2. It’s a 100 plus year tradition in this city. They were never a problem, despite horrendous heat and drought of the past until,,, wait for it, social media. So many ol fuddy duddys with cute fido’s have now had a platform to complain and sadly it’s working. I wonder how many of the old fuddy duddy Fido owners enjoyed fireworks as a kid…hhmm

        1. This fuddy duddy doesn’t have a skittish dog. But I do have a grandson who has flashbacks from his service. Social media has nothing to do with it. And when I was a kid, my family and our neighbors enjoyed the community fireworks without spending my dad’s hard earned money to see it go up in smoke or having to worry about irresponsible, stupid people setting our world on fire during excessive heat and drought. Anyone who can’t wrap his or her head around the danger we’re in currently probably would be foolish enough to smoke a cigarette while fueling their rig.

          1. We I have a Dad who did 2 tours in Vietnam, a brother who fought in Honduras in the eighties, a sister who served 20 years in the Air Force and now a nephew who just reenlisted in the Marines. And they ALL LOVE fireworks. My Dad spent what he could on them, which wasn’t much at all. Then I became a teen in the 70s, 80s here in Bend and started working buying my own. Now I’m happy to say Ive always been able to provide ample fireworks for my kids.

            1. I thank your relatives for their service and I’m glad none came home with PTSD triggered by explosions. My grandson was severely injured when his vehicle was blown up and his flashbacks result in horrible anquish. Sorry if I can’t comprehend your need for self-gratification. Don’t you think giving up an unnecessary activity for the sake of another’s well being would be a great teaching moment for your kids to learn, one that will serve them throughout their lives?

              1. It’s not self gratification. He and his family just like many family’s in the United States are celebrating once a year. Celebrating your grandson the men and women who has fought for this country and the freedom they have fought for and sacrificed for all. I have family and friends who fought and served and at no time have they wanted to take away the freedom of my 4th or anyone’s else’s that they fought for from others to celebrate. Fire danger comes in all forms. You weren’t here when someone caught the west hills on fire when a guy was cutting rebar and sparked the fire. Or when someone’s trailer chains sparked a fire from dragging. Those were preventable. Your also leaving out all the people in town that are having outside fires. I don’t see you harping on them. Where’s the common sense with those people? A teachable moment isn’t taking something away from some one. That’s being selfish for your self. I’m glad your not my dad I probably bored as hell

                1. Thanks for bringing up those other fires. You make my point. They are good examples of how an accidental spark can cause a serious fire when everything is so dry. But you want to willfully introduce sparks at a time when everything is combustible. A teachable moment about sacrifice for others and not being selfish and egocentric is apparently an important lesson you skipped, so it’s obvious you’re not my kid.

            2. Bendite ~ not everyone who returned from there tour of service enjoys fireworks.

              My father served, WWII on Omaha Beach D-Day). Fireworks were not his thing …maybe because after the LCT he was on, took fire, taking lives. His shipmates. Gone ~ blasted away by major fireworks. One day before my father turned 21.

              I know men who served in Nam, who suffer from PTSD all these years later.

              As an adult I have never cared for them. Frankly I don’t understand the thrill of them. And with the high danger (drought/ heat) it seems to make sense.

              Lucky for your family they enjoy fireworks. Not so much for others. A mutual respect for others is a good thing. Benefits all. And it’s not just about you.

              Regarding “Fido” owners ~ I’m fortunate that they don’t bother our pets, but I also live in an area where most of the community understands the dangers and does not set off fireworks.

    2. I have no problem with the insult of being called California’s newest suburb if we get to have a common sense ban for the dry two thirds of the year.

      1. Right, its just like being back home in Sacramento. And what’s commen sense about it, I mean since historically fireworks cause around 1% of ALL fires in Bend every year?

          1. Because we ALWAYS have. You have a greater chance of burning your house down using a hokey electrician or lighting up a briquette charcoal bbq. And you have a much greater chance getting injured at Mt Bachelor. Just keeping it realistic.

            1. Why don’t you put the blame where it belongs – at the feet of the idiots who do the illegal fireworks that land on people’s roofs and cause the 1% of fires you cite? An argument against common sense isn’t an argument.

              1. Kind of like those idiots that use firearms illegally……..I like your logic, look forward to your future posts in regards to gun rights.

      1. Wrong. The guys like me who are disappointed are ” guys” like me. The children, tens of thousands of them including 8 on my culdesac are extremely disappointed. My retired neighbors who kennel thier pooch and enjoy our show are disappointed.

  2. Labor Day weekend….gonna be LIT

    Seriously though, even Northern Idaho (Bonner County, I understand) wrote a ban that covers June – November….permanently.

    If they can do it, why can’t we?

    1. Because some people had them as kids and just cant let it go. They’ll be feeling like they are being attacked, like they always do, if they aren’t allowed to do whatever they want when they want to. Its spoiled child stuck in the past syndrome.
      Besides everyone knows Idaho is full, full I tell you, of commies soshalists and other progressive types bent on crushing your freedoms beneath the heel of the jackboots, or something.

      1. If they aren’t allowed to do what they want when they want to it’s spoiled child stuck in the past syndrome. No high-speed dunmddrag it’s called being an American syndrome. Where we are supposed to be free to do whatever we want whenever we want. And for us people that have lived here in Central Oregon way before all you Californians invaded and changed it to fit your needs and make it just like where you came from we can’t help but complain about your new rules this used to be a great place to raise your kids and live because of the freedoms we had and now they are gone so we are a little ticked off about it. Kids lighting legal fireworks on pavement supervised by adults don’t start fires and the council knows that they are just taking our freedoms from us one step at a time just like they have been doing for the last 30 years since Californians started invading.

        1. Yadda, yadda, yadda! Always somebody else’s fault. Please cite one place where shooting fireworks is a “freedom.” It’s a privilege – like driving – one that can be revoked anytime without your civil rights being violated one iota. The City council is doing its job – choosing the greater good over the individual’s childish obsession with blowing things up.

    1. If you do make your own, I choose seeing you behind bars or at least with a hefty fine. You’re probably the type of “the-rules-don’t-apply-to-me” bad apple that makes a ban necessary for the safety of the bunch.

  3. Maybe next summer we can have fire works on the privates lakes, https://www.tanagerbend.live/ thewater being developed in Tumalo using irrigation water. So much for a drought and water shortage when it comes to the city/county and developers making money. Hope there is something in there development plan about draining there lakes for drinking water when the glaciers dry up like the article the other day mentioned.

  4. Why not a designated area for them instead? Say a huge parking lot or some such (possibly several depending) where you could show up with your family and light them off? Have the fire dept standing by to wet things down, food trucks, live music, etc…like one of the many festivals we have downtown. Then when its over, all the mess is in one area. Also, it would keep noise out of the neighborhoods that causes stress to our vets with ptsd and the people’s pets. Have everyone sign a waiver saying they wont hold anyone liable if they blow off a finger as well since we like in a sue happy society.

  5. i will gladly still buy fireworks and light them, just like everyone else in town will continue to do regardless of the fireworks ban. Oregon is just trying to make us like natzi germany

    1. When Hitler banned fireworks, that was definitely the beginning of the end for Germany.

      ….lol come on, man. It’s a toy. It’s fun, but definitely not worth burning down your neighbor’s home.

      Maybe celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

  6. One the bright side of the continued Californication, we will soon be allowed to take what we like from others. I’m headed to Walgreens!

  7. They should just go ahead and ban people from floating the river while they are at it. Also the Bend concert series makes too much noise so they should ban that too.

    The next time city council wants to stomp on American flags at least call us he news station so we veryone from California can praise their bravery.

    1. The city council is “stomping on American flags”? Just because you can’t shoot off fireworks? They’re doing their duty to protect the community they serve, making decisions that are unpopular, like being parents. And you’re just acting like a spoiled teenaged drama queen being told no.

  8. One day a year where kids can stand outside and be amazed at all the pretty colors and sounds standing on pavement with adult supervision with legal Oregon fireworks. Yep that sounds like a fire Hazzard to me. But nope it’s just our local Californian run government taking our freedoms from us. If you have a pet on the 4th take them camping if you know someone with PTSD take them somewhere out of town and enjoy what they sacrificed and fought for so that way they don’t have to hear the noise or see the bright lights kinda like living in a city by the way just saying. It’s not like people don’t know in advance that the 4th is coming make a plan and go have some fun and let other people have fun I know you people want this to be California but it’s not yet.

    1. Sorry to inform you but it’s been Cancerifornicated a long time ago. But it seems it’s slowing down now that they found Idaho.

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