Bend City Councilors appear ready to permanently ban fireworks, but the public has a little more time to weigh in.
“For the entire community it really does take education and cooperation to simply decide that we won’t use fireworks,” said Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell.
Campbell was one of five councilors in favor of a permanent ban on fireworks in Bend.
Councilor Anthony Broadman said wanted more information before making a decision.
“This is as sad for City Council as it is for everyone,” Campbell added. “We grew up with fireworks and we all understand that that is what people think of as the celebration on the Fourth of July.”
In late June, the City of Bend declared a local state of emergency and banned all use of fireworks due to the high risk for fire during the summer drought conditions.
“From everyone I have talked to, it was a noticeable difference,” said Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler. “People really did take it seriously and sort of themselves did not engage in as much firework activity as in the past.”
During Wednesday’s City Council meeting Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz told councilors not to have giant expectations for enforcement if there is a permanent ban.
“We understand it is not going to be 100% actively enforced every minute, but it does send a signal that our community seemed to respond to, about taking this issue seriously and self-policing the use of fireworks,” Kebler said.
Councilors were in favor of keeping public firework shows like those at Pilot Butte and Vince Genna Stadium.
“If we can do a good job with public displays and when those are allowed and where those are allowed, with emerging technologies, I think that we can all, again it will take a little time to get used to the new world, but I think in a few year’s time, we will just look back and be proud of ourselves for doing the right thing at the right time in order to protect our community from fire danger,” Campbell said.
Councilors will sort out the details on a citywide firework ban later this year.