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Sandy City Council votes to hold Fourth of July fireworks show and hopes people will adhere to social distancing guidelines.

COURTESY PHOTO: UNSPLASH/ROVEN IMAGES - City staff hope to keep even local and safe for all with distancing precautions. There will be fireworks on the Fourth of July in Sandy, but mum's the word.

After a discussion at the June 1 meeting about perceived risks to hosting the annual event, Sandy City Council voted 5-2 to go ahead as scheduled.

The event will be entirely city-funded this year, with staff hoping people will be conscientious while celebrating, given ongoing concerns about COVID-19 transmission. Staff encourages all who come out to keep their distance from others and watch from their homes or cars if possible.

"There are restrictions we need to follow," said City Manager Jordan Wheeler. "We're not trying to make it a huge event. We hope this will just be a local fireworks show where people can watch from home."

Councilors and city staff alike expressed concern that the event might draw visitors from other cities and counties where similar celebrations have been canceled.

That concern is also why Clackamas County Bank opted not to sponsor this year's event, though the bank chose to omit further comment.

"We hope to be able to partner with Clackamas County Bank again in the future," said City Finance Director Tyler Deems, who is coordinating the event. "We totally respect their decision, and there are no hard feelings."

The fireworks will start at dusk Saturday, July 4.

"The Council recognized there was a real need for a community event to bring some joy at this time," Wheeler added. "So, they voted to go ahead."

"Independence Day is about celebrating our nation's freedoms and the values our country was founded on, like equality, personal responsibility and liberty," said Mayor Stan Pulliam. "It's for those exact reasons I voted to have our annual fireworks celebration. I can't think of a moment in our lives where it is more important to celebrate these values than now. Our neighbors have now all been well educated on the proper social distancing guidelines and other safety measures. It's now upon each of them to decide the best course of action for their families. It's not our government's responsibility to be making those decisions for them."

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