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The city plans to tie a fireworks ban to the weather conditions and to bolster communications leading up to Fourth of July 

PMG FILE PHOTO - Wilsonville City Council gives direction not to preemptively ban fireworks.

Barring dangerous weather conditions, Wilsonville City Council gave staff direction not to pursue the institution of a fireworks ban within city limits in preparation for the Fourth of July.

The City Council discussed the issue during a meeting Monday, May 16, opting to give staff direction on a proposal to institute a ban only if the fire hazard rating reaches a red flag warning, meaning "warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger," according to the National Weather Service. The city had banned fireworks last year due to the extreme weather conditions.

"I would agree that if we were going to ban the use of fireworks, there really needs to be a reason for it and it needs to be a safety reason," Councilor Joann Linville said. "I would rely on both the weather conditions and recommendations from our fire officials, whether they issue a red flag warning, or we seek their opinion on whether it's safe conditions at the time or close to the time."

Coupled with that, the council directed staff to provide education to residents about which fireworks are legal and which are not, as well as the risks of using fireworks haphazardly and illegally — including the potential for criminal and civil charges.

The council was concerned about the prevalence of illegal fireworks in the community and the purported lack of enforcement. City Manager Bryan Cosgrove said he would work with Police Chief Rob Wurpes and Assistant City Manager Jeanna Troha to see what they could do to bolster enforcement.

"There's no enforcement on those (Roman candles and other more explosive fireworks) and they're 100% illegal in Oregon and they're going off all over town. That was the frustration. I don't have a problem with legal fireworks," City Councilor Charlotte Lehan said.

Cosgrove said the city would communicate with local homeowners associations to spread the word about safe fireworks use.

The idea of banning the sale of fireworks was also brought up but Cosgrove recommended against that, citing litigation risk — particularly for businesses with existing licenses. The city of Portland is banning the sales and use of personal fireworks, while the city of Tigard took the same approach Wilsonville is planning.

A formal proposal may be brought to council at an upcoming meeting.

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