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FIREWORKS SAFETY

In partnership with Happy Valley Police, Community Service Officers have a responsibility specific to fireworks use and as a result are an integral part of the City’s Fireworks Task Force which has been in operation for over a decade. This work not only provides residents and visitors with safety awareness about the dangers of illegal fireworks use, but enforces the rules and laws associated with all aspects of fireworks use in the City.

Residents and visitors alike should be clear that the City has an absolute zero-tolerance policy for illegal fireworks use. A firm $1,000 citation will be issued on the spot if someone is found to be using illegal fireworks or in possession of them within City limits.

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Working together with residents

As part of a comprehensive safety program to reduce catastrophes, the City proactively provides information about the dangers of fireworks use to the community through proactive messaging. Whether it be through the City’s website, community newspaper, social media platforms, or e-notifications, we understand that public education is the first step to helping residents understand the gravity of this topic. Community Service Officers rely heavily on residents to be part of ongoing efforts to keep the community safe and when it comes to illegal fireworks use specifically, the City encourages citizens to speak up when someone is in non-compliance.

The dangers associated with illegal fireworks use can be devastating. That’s why persons found actively using illegal fireworks or in possession of illegal fireworks are not only cited, but often required to participate in more extensive educational activities, such as mandated classes, to further drive home the topic.

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How to report illegal fireworks use

If you observe someone in the City to be lighting ILLEGAL fireworks and you either don’t feel comfortable approaching the individual or you have already tried and the person continues, please report it by calling the non-emergency police line at 503-655-8211. Please note, due to the high number of emergency calls on and near the 4th of July holiday, callers may experience significantly delayed response during these times.

Even if you don’t know the identity of the person utilizing the illegal fireworks, please be ready to give the location of where the use is happening. We would like to emphasize that Community Service Officers or police must witness someone in possession of or actively using illegal fireworks to issue a citation. Please understand this can be challenging if we are responding to another call and those using illegal fireworks have already dispersed when we arrive.

If you have encountered repeated incidents of illegal fireworks use in your neighborhood or you have information related to illegal fireworks use and you’d like to alert the Fireworks Task Force about your concern, you may want to complete a Report a Concern form to document your complaint. Please understand that this method of contact is not intended for immediate response. This method is great for passing along helpful information that the Task Force can follow up with. You can act as a witness and sign a formal complaint once an officer arrives.

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When to call 9-1-1 when fireworks are involved

Generally speaking, there are limited phone lines for emergency services. PLEASE ONLY CALL 9-1-1 if you are experiencing an in-progress emergency that threatens life or is actively damaging your personal property. Calling 9-1-1 because you hear or see fireworks in the distance, at an unknown location, ties up these important lines and may delay emergency response to others in need.

Are any fireworks allowed for use in the City?

Residents and visitors may only use fireworks purchased from Oregon permitted retailers and stands. This means if you purchased your fireworks from another state or from a vendor that was not approved by the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, then those fireworks are illegal. Fireworks that fly in the air, explode, or behave in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner are not allowed for use in Oregon. Oregon vendors that have been approved to sell fireworks won’t even have these in their inventory. Please be mindful of this when you select fireworks and always make sure safety measures are in place beforehand and that you have a designated way to dispose of any debris. While residents are permitted to utilize legal fireworks in Happy Valley, it is important to note that none are permitted for use in any Happy Valley managed park or public space.

Illegal fireworks turn in events

Annually, the City of Happy Valley partners with the Happy Valley Police Department and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office to help get illegal fireworks off the streets. These events typically take place in the days leading up to the 4th of July holiday and are offered as a no questions asked amnesty event. After sorting through the fireworks, Community Service Officers will be transport them to a location where they will be further sorted by members of the Oregon State Police and Portland Police Bureau Bomb Squads. From there, they are shipped securely back to the major firework manufacturers who agree to dispose of them properly. Be sure to follow the City’s Facebook page and look for promotional advertisements about this program in early summer issues of HV News when we announce our next amnesty event. Turn in events take place at the Happy Valley Community Policing Center, located at 12915 SE King Rd.

Safety precautions are key to curbing mishaps, but there is never a guarantee no harm will be done if fireworks are used. We encourage our community to be mindful of the safety of self and others when utilizing fireworks and be exceedingly careful when using legal fireworks at your place of residence. For pets, veterans, children, and those struggling with their mental health, fireworks can often be traumatizing and triggering. Please be a good neighbor and engage in fireworks use with careful thought. Together, let’s keep Happy Valley a safe place to live, work, and play.

Be mindful of those who may be struggling. The sound of fireworks can be extremely triggering for combat veterans and other community members who have experienced trauma. With one loud bang, someone’s fear, anxiety, and turmoil may be brought to the surface and relived. Those impacted are likely taking personal steps to manage their symptoms as best they can, but keeping fireworks use within reason goes a long way in helping support those most vulnerable.

Keep your roof over your head. Fireworks are inherently dangerous and with one false move, your home could literally go up in flames. Even worse, a mistake on your part could cause a neighbor’s home to burn to the ground. Ultimately, if your fireworks start a real fire, you aren’t the only one who may pay the price.

Is it worth it? Consider the cost of a $1,000 citation. If you are found to be in possession of illegal fireworks, your items will be confiscated, and you will be given an automatic citation to the tune of one grand. Officers aren’t going to be interested in hearing any of your excuses. If someone in your neighborhood is setting off illegal fireworks, PLEASE call to report it. You could help prevent serious injury and property damage and help keep neighborhoods safe.

Don’t be the neighbor everybody loathes. Independence Day is of course a time for celebration, but incessant fireworks in the days leading up to and following the holiday is a nuisance and disruptive to those trying to go about their daily lives. Please be courteous to others and keep the noise to a minimum.

Stay in control. Wildfires brought on by dry climate conditions are of significant concern in the Pacific Northwest. This is especially the case given recent events. Thousands of acres can easily be destroyed because of a lone flame or smoldering shell. Help keep our green spaces, wetlands, and forest areas safe by keeping fireworks far away from vegetation and out of harm’s way.

Safety, first. Would you allow a child or even yourself to handle something that was hot enough to melt glass or aluminum? Even sparklers, which are commonly used around the 4th of July can burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees! It’s no wonder the busiest day of the year for emergency rooms is usually Independence Day, with most common injuries resulting from extreme burns, loss of fingers or limbs, and severe eye damage. Pay attention to what you’re doing and keep safety your top priority.

Protect all creatures great and small. Pets do not understand why their world suddenly gets so loud this time of year and not being able to anticipate where and when the next boom will originate is extremely stressful. Make sure you have a plan in place to help your pet remain comfortable and contained during holiday festivities. Even worse than hearing every snap, crackle, and pop is being lost outside without you for comfort.

Don’t risk it. Per Oregon law, fireworks used in the state MUST be purchased from an Oregon permitted retail sales location. Fireworks that fly in the air, explode, or behave in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner are not allowed to be used without a proper permit issued by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Contact

Christine Beltz

Administrative Assistant

(503) 886-8406
[email protected]

Michael Barnes

Community Service Officer

(503) 886-8487
[email protected]

David Coan

Community Service Officer

(503) 886-8488
[email protected]

Jason Thompson

Community Service Officer Supervisor

(503) 886-8417
[email protected]

Steve Campbell

Director of Community Services & Public Safety

(503) 783-3818
[email protected]

Happy Valley Police (non-emergency) – (503) 655-8211
Happy Valley City Hall – (503) 783-3800
Clackamas County Police (non-emergency) – (503) 655-8211
Clackamas Fire District #1– (503) 742-2600

In an emergency, dial 911