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Let’s Ban Uncontrolled Fireworks in Lincoln City for Good – Ken Mergentime

Global Warming + Growing use of uncontrolled fireworks = Not a pretty picture when fires break out…

Last week the City Council of Lincoln City decided to draft an ordinance that would ban the sale and use of fireworks in Lincoln City this year on an emergency basis due to fire safety concerns. Once written, the proposal will be voted on by Councilors, perhaps as early as April 25. The group also plans to put forth a proposal for a permanent city-wide ban on fireworks that will be put before the voters at a future date.

I fully support these moves. Also, I am proud of our Council members for taking this important first step; and I encourage them to enact the emergency ban. As a resident of Roads End who is active with my neighborhood association, I’ve been following this issue closely for several years. Too many July 4th celebrations have been marred by late-night (and early morning) unauthorized, unsupervised reckless shooting off of fireworks – often professional-grade – on the beach, in the neighborhood and from wooden house decks.

After the horrible wildfires we suffered recently – especially the Echo Mountain Fire which came so near to Lincoln City – our extreme vulnerability to summer fires is becoming dangerously obvious. I’m all for enjoying a  professional fireworks show on the 4th, but we need to mitigate our exposure to fires by banning the sale and use of personal fireworks – for good.

The time is right. Lincoln City is not the only Oregon Coast town moving in that direction. Cannon Beach, Depoe Bay and Newport have all implemented bans of various types. Because of long-term drought conditions in Oregon and the fact that climate change is steadily increasing the risk of a deadly fire, we need to be more diligent about our own safety. Decreasing fireworks usage is a prudent and sensible move with demonstrable benefits.

Earlier this year Portland enacted its own ordinance banning the sale and use of personal fireworks, making permanent an emergency city-wide ban that was put in place last year prior to July 4th. As a result of that ban, the city reports that the number of Portland area fireworks-related fires dropped dramatically (66%).

I encourage all citizens of Lincoln City to get behind this effort. Oregon law currently forbids possession, use or sale of “fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.” Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are already illegal in Oregon. However, more needs to be done as the problem has become more acute. A ban on all personal fireworks in Lincoln City is the right thing to do.

–Ken Mergentime

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