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Medford City Council to consider fireworks changes

The City Council will be presented with a list of options to consider at Thursday's meeting.

Posted: May 1, 2019 6:51 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The City Council will be presented with a list of options to consider at Thursday's meeting. The current Medford Code allows Oregon legal consumer fireworks in the city limits and prohibits the use of all fireworks in hazardous wildfire areas, the Bear Creek Greenway, any city park, and public schools.

The options the Council will consider include:

  • Keeping the current code language without changes
  • Keeping the current code language with increased penalties/fines as a deterrent
  • Limit the use of legal fireworks to July 4 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and December 31 from 6 p.m. to January 1 at 1 a.m. with increased penalties/fines for violations
  • Total ban on all fireworks with increased penalties/fines for violations

Between 1993 and 2009, the City approved a ban on all fireworks in the city limits. 

Medford Fire Deputy Chief Greg Kleinberg said it was difficult to enforce the full ban for a few reasons. 

"It was very hard for us back when the full ban was in effect to tell people fireworks were prohibited, but if you use them, here are some safety things that you need to know so that you don't injure yourself," Kleinberg said. "It's difficult sometimes to find where they're shooting them off and if we have to enforce a complete ban that's going to be challenging with the amount of staffing we have."

Kleinberg also said the full ban made it difficult to teach firework safety. 

Ward 3 Councilman Kevin Stine said he isn't on board with many of the options, and he doesn't believe increasing the penalty fine would be a successful deterrent. 

"I don't know if we made it $1,000 that it's going to stop the types of people that are going to willingly break the law in the first place," Stine said. 

Stine also said he will not support a complete ban.

"That would make it where the people that are following the rules and are having an enjoyable time with their friends and family would be prevented from doing so," Stine said. 

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