July 4th in Portland: Laws? What laws?

We don’t heed no stinking laws! For a place that has strict laws against fireworks, this place sounding like a combat zone last night. There were homeowners putting on pretty impressive displays of low-altitude bursts, and the streets were full of people lighting up the place. The smell of gunpowder and the smoke was surreal. I was having 'Nam flashbacks. Cops were around, but I guess they just give up early and respond only if somebody sets a house or themselves on fire. Pretty cool to see a celebration this big after the lame-o 4ths in Alaska. There were at least four different large official fireworks displays in the city, and from our vantage point we could also see the one in Vancouver.

Howzabout you all?

We went to a municipal display in Schertz, TX. We didn’t realize that we were only 30-50 yards away from where they were set up. We ended up lying flat on our blankets to get the best view of the fireworks (directly overhead), which were awesome.

I did feel little bits of debris falling on me throughout the display. And every once in a while, I did see a still-sparkling bit of firework come all the way to the ground.

And my t-shirt definitely had a burnt sulfur smell afterwards.

Strictly no personal fireworks allowed where I live, too. Not even sparklers. My neighbors put on a 10 minute semi-professional display (large fireworks exploding in cascades hundreds of feet in the air) on Saturday night. The wind took the smoldering bits to the east, directly at the police and fire stations 200 yards away.

They did resond to that one.

Yeah, my first 4th in Portland was quite a shock after living in California all my life, where fireworks went illegal about 20 years ago. At my apartment complex they post signs saying no fireworks are allowed, then management takes the day off. War Zone!

Some fools started in again with what sounded like mortars at about 3:30 in the morning, right outside my bedroom window. At least it sounded that way. Stupid kids! Show some respect! I never would have pulled a stunt like that when I was young. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not me.

Yeah, I never went fishing with M-80s when I was a kid. And never flushed a cherry bomb down the toilet either. I was a fookin’ angel, man.

Zippy the Wonder Cat hid in the back of the closet whining all night…and I almost joined her. Did the police that were supposed to be monitoring the Native American fireworks stand take the week off or what? I swear the neighborhoodlums lit off things that the Mythbusters crew wouldn’t touch with a ten foot fuse.

I wouldn’t have used the corner of the neighbor’s lawn, where it met the retaining wall, as a base for setting off bottle rockets, either. And then fled in panic after one tilted at the last instant, aimed straight at the neighbor’s front door. I’m also glad I had the good sense not to light ground flowers in my hand and throw them up in the air. And almost get in a fight with some guy when one buzzed his head. That would’ve been bad.

Same here. I’m pretty sure civvies setting off fireworks is illegal in Chicago, but when I went to the lakefront to watch the municipal display, the park was chock full of people setting them off anyway. With dozens of police (cruisers, bicycles) passing right by and not doing a thing.

I suppose they were more concerned about crowd control at that point (although for all the people, things were relatively calm, aside from the constant sound of explosions). Makes me wonder why they have the law if they’re not going to enforce it.

Same deal in the park two blocks from my apartment – explosions going off all weekend, well into the night. Thankfully there’s a large school building between me and the park, so between that and my own walls the noise is minimal, as long as my windows are shut.

I am grateful Chicago opted for multiple smaller “official” displays this year, though. For one, the Northside one was close to me, and I could easily bike in/bike out without getting stuck in crowds/traffic. For another, the crowds are much smaller. I tried the Grant Park fireworks dealie exactly once, many years ago. Took me half an hour to find my friends even just standing on opposite corners of the same intersection, because we could neither make each other out in the massive throng of people, nor could we phone each other, because a million other people were overloading the cell phone towers already.

We left and went to a movie as soon as we found each other.

Oregon fireworks laws are soo strict that a firework may not go more than 1 foot into the air or travel across the ground more than 6 feet.

So the huge air-born concussions I saw and heard last night must have been military exercises. :smiley:

I live in a rural area and have never heard of a ticket being issued.

There were so many people along the bluff street above Oaks Park, a cop car couldn’t have gotten through. I suppose a foot patrol could have, but as soon as they left, it would start up again.

I think there are laws for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is so if you do burn down somebody’s car or house, you’ll be completly liable. Your insurance isn’t going to touch you.

Oh, and we never had shootouts with roman candles when I was a kid. That would be, like, dangerous. And shit.

It’s the same situation in Albuquerque. There seem to be too many people shooting off fireworks during the fireworks intensive holidays (July 4th, New Year’s Eve) for the police to be bothered to respond, and besides on those holidays it’s probably priority to them to be trying to stop the drunk drivers before they go the wrong way down the Interstate.

Yep, fireworks are illegal here too, but that didn’t stop anyone from using them all. frickin’. night. On Saturday, Sunday, and again tonight. I honestly don’t have a problem with people (responsibly) having a little fun, but enough is enough people! (Besides, the dog is a nervous wreck after three nights of this!)

Fireworks aren’t illegal here, but the ones that shoot up in the air mostly are. Maybe entirely are. It’s a moot point, though, because the challenge last night was deciding which way to look next. As Dad said, he thinks we saw more fireworks last night without leaving our yard than we saw in the town I grew up in at the Official Fireworks.

And some stragglers are shooting off fireworks tonight. Yippee.

My state (Indiana) finally gave up. It used to only be legal for sparklers and smoke bombs and anything that didn’t shoot up or go bang. It was actually one of my neighbors in the '70’s who found a loop hole in the law that said it was legal to sell wholesale as long as you were taking them out of state. Suddenly we had tons of “wholesale” outlets that had you sign a piece of paper saying you were taking them out of state. Later it evolved into paying a couple bucks membership to join some group that you agreed would only shoot them off in specific locations (nobody did). Eventually they realized that the people here wanted to be able to shoot off fireworks and anything else was just a farce, so now I can go into a store and pretty much buy what I want.

My kids (teens under my supervision) shot off probably a few hundred dollars of fireworks… along with most of my neighbors doing the same. Tonight was our communities display so many were set off tonight. We’ll be hitting the stores tomorrow for the big sales to have something for next year.

I just read recently that fireworks injuries are way down from previous years… I don’t have an explanation, but those are the stats.

Fireworks = cool.

Fireworks at 3 am = not at all cool.

Seriously, what is the deal? Is it extra-super-duper fun to do it in the middle of the night? Gosh, I’m getting old and cranky.

You have absolutely no idea. I was working medical at the waterfront festival this year, during the official fireworks show we had over 10,000 people crammed into a space shut down by the fire marshal at half that capacity. But, of course, nobody will actually STOP the drunken crowds from rushing the gates and very quickly security gave up any semblance of maintaining order.

After the event closed, probably 50,000 people immediately started walking from the waterfront towards the parking several streets up. I saw a half dozen police cruisers, sitting completely immobile and absolutely overwhelmingly swamped by people. It was bedlam and anarchy for 40 minutes, and I don’t think anybody on the first three streets paralleling the river made it out of the city for over an hour. Walking the roads clogged with people and useless cops and smoke made it feel like a riot.

Also…duh? You guys are surprised that people are setting off fireworks in the wee hours of get-drunk-and-burn-things-of-July? You really are getting old and cranky.

I live in a rural area where fireworks are relatively unrestricted – I believe things like firecrackers and bottle rockets are technically illegal, but everybody ends up with cases and cases of them anyway. Mortars and other aerial displays are fine, and it’s usually too damp here on the 4th for fires to be much of a concern.

I’m pretty sure somebody in this valley goes the “home-made explosives” route every year though. Earth-shattering kabooms with echoes rolling from mountain to mountain and all that.

Anyway, I got my explosives fix on the 3rd, since it seemed likely to rain all day on the 4th (it did). My approach was simple: take last year’s Christmas tree, dried in a shed for 6 months, stuff it full of fireworks, and apply heat. The results are on Youtube. :smiley:

The park behind our house had some fireworks going off on Saturday night. I went out to the fence to watch and was incredibly amused by the ~10 teenage boys. Some choice quotes from them, “Happy 3rd of July, guys. This is the greatest night of our lives.” “That was awesome- let’s try the whole pack this time.” “Jeremy, you just stand there and I promise it won’t burn. My brother bounced one off me last year.” Then they got the brilliant idea of all standing under the picnic shelter and launching the roman candles, parachutes, rockets, etc. at the roof so they would bounce back at them and everyone could play chicken at the same time. Around this time one of the young gentlemen began a bizarre homophobic rap. “Dude what are you doing? Jason is gay, man.” Jason says, “Oh I don’t mind other than it was hurting my ears.”

It was very amusing to see these “inventors” of new ideas in action not to mention their perceived coolness and the inherent invincibility of teenagers.

I am so glad that the 33 bus didn’t show up. We were going to go on the 4th to see Curtis Salgado and watch the fireworks. I didn’t want to go because I expected it to turn into something like what you described. My wife is an eternal optimist, though, so I grudgingly agreed. Now i can quote your post and do the I tol’ you so dance. The fireworks there looked awesome from here, though.

Ahh the joys of living next to a state with less restrictive fireworks laws. :smiley: mortars and things that go boom in the air are legal in Washington, and Vancouver is just across the river. They’ve outlawed bottle rockets for some reason though, I have no idea. and firecrackers.

I’ve never gone downtown to watch the fireworks because I hate crowds. Looks like I’m not missing much.