Jul. 5—LA GRANDE — A ban on fireworks in La Grande did not stop a large number of people from celebrating the Fourth of July in traditional fashion.
The Union County Dispatch Center received at least 40 calls of people using fireworks in La Grande on Sunday, July 4. The first call came in at 5:32 p.m. and the rest were received between 8:52 p.m. and 11:41 p.m.
Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen said that he and his deputies counseled many people using fireworks but said no citations were issued. Bowen said he didn't want his deputies issuing citations because the ban on fireworks, which took effect Tuesday, June 29, is a city of La Grande ordinance and he did not feel it was the sheriff office's place to enforce a city ordinance.
Bowen said that when people were caught using fireworks they were reminded that use is illegal in La Grande and that if they were caught again using them they could be cited.
The ban on fireworks was put in place because of the elevated fire risk due to dry conditions.
Bowen said some of the calls about illegal fireworks came from the north end of the La Grande area where people could use them legally because they were outside city limits.
Fortunately, none of the fireworks ignited any fires. The La Grande Fire Department reported at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, June 5, that there were no fires overnight.
Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer primarily covering the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.