Camas, WA — Thirty Camas residents spoke in a filled City Council chamber Monday night to express their opinions about fireworks usage within city limits.
The city is seeking public input about whether to make changes to the existing fireworks ordinance, and is considering four options:
- Keep the ordinance intact, as is.
- Limit fireworks usage to only the 4th of July, and New Year’s Eve.
- Create a “safe and sane” ordinance, which limits which fireworks can be lit.
- Ban private Camas fireworks all together.
Mayor Scott Higgins opened the hearing and emphasized that citizens had a three-minute time limit.
“I urge you to be respectful and honor each other,” said Higgins. “Please don’t treat people negatively.”
Of the 30 who spoke publicly, 11 are in favor of a ban, while 21 are in favor of keeping the fireworks ordinance as is, or limit usage to only one day during the 4th of July holiday, and New Year’s Eve.
The first five citizens spoke in favor of banning Camas fireworks all together, and gave impassioned testimony supporting their positions.
”I only see one viable option,” said Gary Fields. “A total ban of fireworks. Do the right thing and outlaw them.”
Scott Culbertson said: “I think we need to consider a ban. We have a change in climate, and summers are getting hotter and drier. There’s too much noise, and I have to leave Camas and then worry that things will catch on fire.”
Mandy Stonewahld referred to Prune Hill as “Prune Hill Baghdad” while addressing the council.
“The fireworks continue for hours on end, from 8 pm to 2 am, and they last for days,” she said. “We are concerned about our elderly, we’re concerned about those with special needs and the undo stress it places on them. Camas military vets suffer from PTSD, and we watch our neighbors try to one up each other by spending more money. Maybe we can push for a compromise and limit them to one day?”
Gabriel Kern spoke in favor of keeping the fireworks ordinance as is.
“I’m an Eagle Scout,” said Kern. “I represent the young families of Camas, and we want our fireworks. We love our 4th of July celebrations. Some of my favorite memories are coming together on this holiday.”
Kern’s father, a retired military colonel, said: “Prune Hill is not Baghdad. I bring my family together for fireworks, and I love seeing neighbors getting together. We just need to manage it better.”
”I’m married to an ex-military guy,” said Julie Brown. “We teach our children to use them responsibly. This is a holiday that brings us together, and we need to teach our kids respect.”
The City of Camas will continue to gather public input in the coming weeks before presenting all information to the City Council. Council member, Steve Hogan, said the council expects to vote on this issue in June, and noted that any change won’t be effective until 2019.
The City of Camas welcomes your comments. Please email Bernie Bacon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360.817.1591.
To learn more, visit www.cityofcamas.us