By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Jessica Fredeen and her family are close to the action on the Fourth of July.
“We live right here on 8th Street and we’re right at the base of Pilot Butte,” Fredeen said. “So it’s extremely loud.”
While Fredeen says her family enjoys the annual show on the top of Pilot Butte, those aren’t the fireworks she’s worried about.
“It’s okay to light off fireworks that are bought here in Oregon,” Fredeen said. “But yeah, illegal fireworks from other states are not allowed. Just out of safety concerns and concerns about fire in this area. And again, concerns about our animals.”
Lieutenant Juli McConkey says the Bend Police Department is being proactive about illegal fireworks by checking up on residents who they’ve had problems with in the past.
“We are strictly enforcing citations this year, so we’re hoping there’s no illegal fireworks happening,” McConkey said. “And it is a $750 fine, and a possible criminal charge as well.”
On the last Fourth of July, just one citation was handed out in Bend.
In Redmond, the fine for possession or using illegal fireworks has been raised from $100 to $500.
“We also have the option to arrest people on that,” Lieutenant Jesse Petersen said. “They’re not usually aware of that, but it is a B misdemeanor, which means that you can spend up to six months in jail and you can get a fine up to $2,500.”
Both Lt. McConkey and Lt. Petersen said they don’t think the lack of a firework show in Redmond will play a role in increased illegal firework use.
However, Redmond firework vendor Frank Ball said sales have increased since the show’s cancellation was announced.
“Sales have been really good actually,” Ball said. “A lot of people are coming in, buying bigger items, buying more items. Normally by this time, we haven’t sold anywhere near as many of the big items as we have.”
Ball says he hopes higher sales are a sign that fewer residents will set off illegal fireworks.