Eugene seeks to limit use of illegal fireworks

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene City Council plans to crack down on M-80s, bottle rockets and other illegal fireworks. Its approach, however, has yet to be determined.

The Register-Guard newspaper reports councilors Monday night asked city staff to come up with proposals to deal with illegal fireworks, including increased fines, public education and better enforcement of existing laws.

"I basically have to leave my neighborhood for the Fourth of July, and leave town," Councilor Claire Syrett said. She noted her dog is so terrified of fireworks that it has injured itself during explosion-induced frenzies.

State law prohibits residents from having, using or selling fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than 6 feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. That doesn't stop people from using them on Independence Day and other times of the year.

Legal fireworks in Eugene can be sold from only June 23 to July 6, but there is no state or local restriction on when they can be discharged.

The Eugene fire and police departments have proposed limiting the discharge of legal fireworks to four days a year -- July 4, July 5, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The council appeared reluctant to embrace that idea before asking staff to come back with a multipronged approach.

Council President Chris Pryor said whatever regulations eventually are passed must be enforceable.

"It's got to be a solution that is enforceable and has teeth," Pryor said. "I'm not interested in gestures."