As the month of December wanes we quickly approach another fireworks holiday. Fireworks are used around the world to celebrate everything from heritage to Christmas, but in the U.S. we eagerly await Independence day and December 31st. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world are filled with plenty of festive gunpowder and enchanting displays of light. When the clock strikes twelve, it is customary to light up fireworks to bid the current year farewell and welcome the next one. In Portland there are strict laws about what fireworks you can use to celebrate.
Portland Fireworks Guide
The National Council on Fireworks Safety estimates that there are over 9,000 fireworks-related injuries in any given year. Fireworks can not only injure the people who use them, they often start wildfires and can even destroy property if they are shot off too closely to residential and commercial buildings. In addition, pets and veterans suffering from PTSD are greatly sensitive to their sounds, which are typically stretched out over the course of a week during the Fourth of July. Since 1951, Oregon has banned consumer use of every type of firework that travels through the air.
For safety and environmental reasons, the State of Oregon prohibits (and enforces the prohibition of) fireworks that are deemed “fun” by die-hard fanatics. Anything that explodes or travels more than six feet horizontally or over a foot in the air vertically is prohibited. The possession and sale of fireworks that are either uncontrollable or unpredictable, or both, despite meeting the other accepted requirements, are also prohibited. This includes popular favorites like bottle rockets, firecrackers (including Crazy Jacks or Jumping Jacks), mortars, missile rockets, and Roman candles. Such fireworks, though festive and entertaining, can cause severe bodily injuries even to bystanders.
What is allowed in Oregon? Oregon is one of a handful of states that allows consumer fireworks of the non-aerial variety, dubbed “safe and sane” fireworks. Those that don’t fly up into the air and have the potential to do much harm are good to go. Sparklers, ground spinners, cone and base fountains, wheels, and hand-held candle fountains are all popular types of firewo
rks permitted in Portland.
The Washington Loophole
Since Oregon banned most types of fireworks it has become a tradition for some Oregonians to travel across the I-5 bridge to purchase “illegal” fireworks that are completely legal in Washington and bring them back within Oregon state lines. What many don’t realize is that law enforcement has been given more ability to crack down on offenders. For just one violation you could be charged with a fine of $1,000.00. Some have even served time.
If a proper New Year’s celebration just isn’t possible without loud and explosive fireworks, by all means head over to Vancouver where all fireworks made available to consumers are legal, so long as a recent ban does not fall through. Just don’t cross back over the I-5 bridge with fireworks in your trunk, as local police may search Oregon vehicles. Instead, stay by the river, fire them off alongside your Washington neighbors and observe these important fireworks safety tips:
- Always buy from a reliable dealer or retailer
- Never mix fireworks and alcohol
- Always have a bucket or water hose available nearby
- Don’t relight duds
- Never use fireworks indoors
- Keep them away from dry grass, trees, and houses
- Don’t light them in your hand
- Keep in mind that a sparkler tip is as hot as a blowtorch
- Keep pets inside as they are prone to running away frightened
- Soak used fireworks in water
If you have been hurt by an irresponsible fireworks display in the Portland metro area, RizkLaw is here to help. We specialize in all kinds of personal injury claims and strive to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (503) 245-5677 for a free personal injury consultation.