An aerial view of the hundreds of mortar tubes lining the top of Pilot Butte shortly after being set up by Sure Shot Blasting and Fireworks on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

The tradition of fireworks to celebrate American Independence goes back to our first vice president, John Adams.

In his letter to his wife on July 3, 1776, he wrote that the day should be celebrated as a great anniversary festival: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

He was actually referring to July 2, the day the Continental Congress voted for independence.

The day the Declaration of Independence was transposed was July 4. That became the day of celebration and fireworks.

Now fireworks are used leading up to the Fourth of July. On the Fourth of July. After the Fourth of July. Around Christmas. Around the New Year. And many more.

Most of that will likely soon be coming to an end in Bend — except for professional displays. When city staff proposed broad language this week for a permanent fireworks ban in Bend, Bend city councilors raised no objections.

Professional fireworks displays like those on Pilot Butte would be allowed, as would other displays that get a permit from the state fire marshal. But sales of fireworks would be banned under the proposed language.

The city could also come and take your fireworks away or charge you for having them removed. The only fireworks soon to be legal in Bend are going to be paper caps and those little snakes that make smoke. And not much else.

Lighting up the night sky, lighting up your backyard, lighting up the street is fun for some.

The noise in the night is hard on others and pets. The danger for Bend is the added fire risk in an area where wildfire risk is high enough.

We don’t know when the formal language of Bend’s fireworks ban will come before the Bend City Council.

But it’s coming. If you have an opinion about it, you can let councilors know at or send us a letter to the editor of up to 250 words at

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(2) comments

Smedley Doright

According to the New York Times, the US really began in 1619, and there were no fireworks. These displays are not only triggering to veterans and precious pets, but dangerous to the environment and they perpetuate racial stereotyping. The danger can be mitigated by only allowing professionals to use them, but really the city should go all the way and ban them completely. Their symbolism of the racial animus that the signers of the declaration had cannot be understated. They have been instilling fear in the hearts of our BIPOC neighbors for decades. it's time for them to go completely.

Bend, do the right thing here, don't go halfway, make a real statement about commitment to equality and diversity.


Incredibly lame comment. Find a new hobby.

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