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After city clarified their request was non-binding, school district decided to continue longstanding tradition

Just two days after the school district announced it would cease the use of fireworks at high school football games, the tradition has been reignited.

The whole thing appears to be the result of a misunderstanding.

City Administrator Rick Robinson had sent a letter to school Superintendent Trip Goodall requesting that the district stop using fireworks that have "an explosive component," but suggested fireworks "without the percussive component" might be better, per the letter.

COURTESY PHOTO: SHAROSH RAJASEKHER ON UNSPLASH - The fireworks will continue this fall at Canby High School football games when the team scores a touchdown.

Robinson's request came after Canby resident Paul Ylvisaker complained at a city council meeting, bringing along both a doctor's note and a petition signed by 53 people including himself.

The school district quickly responded to Robinson and released a statement saying, "Canby School District notified City Administrator Rick Robinson today that Canby High School will cease the use of fireworks at football games, based on the city's directive."

The announcement that a longtime Canby tradition would come to an end caused quite a stir. Multiple petitions in favor of keeping the fireworks began circulating on social media.

But Robinson told The Herald that his email to the district was not a directive, but rather a request.

"I would hope that some compromise will be possible that is both sensitive to the needs of those adversely affected by the fireworks and also provides the attendees at football games the opportunity to enjoy fireworks," Robinson said.

Mayor Brian Hodson too responded to the uproar, noting in a statement that Hodson collaborated with Robinson on the request sent to the district, calling it an "appropriate ask."

"I know there is a way to work together to keep fireworks a part of the Canby High School football home game tradition," Hodson said in his statement. "I know that the City of Canby and the Canby School District can work out a solution that all sides can be proud of."

With the clarification that the request was non-binding and that the existing noise ordinance does allow for continued use of fireworks at the football games, the district decided to continue the fireworks.

"Today, district leaders met with the petitioner and notified him that fireworks would continue at Canby High School football games this fall," the district said in a statement Thursday. "Though it is not a complete solution, it is worth nothing that Western Fireworks already donates to Canby High School the least percussive fireworks available."

Ylvisaker is not pleased that the fireworks will continue and maintains that it's the city's responsibility to put it to a stop. He also disagrees that the fireworks should continue based solely on tradition.

"Tradition doesn't mean that you have permission to destroy a neighborhood," Ylvisaker said. "Tradition doesn't mean that you can abuse pets with the concussions. And so I hear people hanging on this: 'It's tradition. It's tradition.' Well, that doesn't give you a right to take a neighborhood out."

Ylvisaker said the decision to use percussive fireworks violates both the school district's and the city's values.

"It's discrimination. It's abuse," Ylvisaker said.

He said if the intermittent, percussive fireworks do in fact continue, he will continue to advocate against it.

The district said that it will work toward a solution that is less disturbing for the members of the community affected by the fireworks.

The district also encouraged the community to continue the passionate level of engagement with both academics and extracurriculars that has been demonstrated this week.


Kristen Wohlers
Reporter
503-263-7512
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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