WashCo discourages fireworks, stops short of ban

Washington County

Some cities have banned fireworks but there is no ban in unincorporated Washington County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fireworks bans are in effect in Multnomah and Clackamas counties but leaders in neighboring Washington County have not followed suit.

People are being asked to voluntarily restrict their use of fireworks in unincorporated parts of Washington County while cities including Tigard, Tualatin and Forest Grove have issued bans on fireworks due to the extreme heat and dry conditions.

Tigard Mayor Jason Snider said they made the decision to issue a ban after listening to the recommendations of fire experts, law enforcement officials and the public.

“There is really two-fold: one the science and the risk of fire danger and the other being our community’s request and their voice. We take the feeling and beliefs of our community very seriously,” Snider said.

Beaverton City Council opted for an advisory option instead of an outright ban. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty said she was disappointed with the decision made Thursday night.

“I am pleading with our community to not shoot off fireworks this weekend. I know it’s part of a long-standing American tradition to shoot off fireworks however given the year we’ve had with wildfires, smoke and COVID, this is the year in which service to other people should be on the top of our list,” said Beaty. “Our military, our first responders have been pushed to the brink in COVID recovery and we cannot expect them to respond to a man-made disaster like a fire caused by a firework.”

Beaty urged people to find other ways to celebrate.

Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington said governing agencies “face extraordinary challenges when it comes to facilitating changes in human behavior” and getting people on board with policies takes “time and coordination and consistent messaging.”

“We all want the same thing: to influence positive behavior and prevent fires but we have differing views on how to accomplish that right now,” said Harrington. She said county officials are instead focusing on “working with fire districts, public safety, police, our cities, all of our community partners — urging people to have a different kind of fun this year. Let’s all have a safe Fourth of July.”

Harrington said enforcement was a big concern in considering a county-wide ban and they simply don’t have enough staff members to keep community members in check.

Mayor Beaty said the same was true in Beaverton, which is why city council didn’t have enough votes to put a ban in place.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and county leaders are encouraging people to watch a professional fireworks show, watch one on TV or simply enjoy the Fourth of July without fireworks this year.

Here are a few professional shows scheduled to take place in the Portland metro area:

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