PORTLAND, Ore.– A 12 year old education and enforcement program called LOWER THE BOOM was shelved this year by Portland Fire and Rescue. Fire Chief Erin Janssens founded the program in the hope of curtailing the use of illegal fireworks in the city. The program could cost the fire bureau anywhere from $50,000 to $120,000. It wasn’t providing the results to justify continuing at this point. Lt. Rich Chatman says” “Partners in the program, Portland Police providing the enforcement piece; didn’t have enough bodies to support fire investigators. Another issue that is worrisome is having investigators walk into alcohol fueled parties where someone could be handed a $500 or $1,000 ticket for illegal fireworks use. Without police backup that just wouldn’t be safe.” This points out again how much the city needs more police officers. Chatman says, “It’s not clear when or if Lower The Boom will make a comeback.”
Portland Police response :
We consider the Portland Fire Bureau a key public safety partner and have worked closely with them in the past on fireworks missions. Unfortunately, we have had to face a true reality of critical staffing shortages combined with increased calls for service. We were not able to dedicate the resources to a specific mission for the prevention of fireworks use on this recent July 4th due to the needs we have in responding to serious/active emergencies. We did triage calls that came in to determine if a response was needed, which is in line with our daily operations. We will continue to work with the Fire Bureau to find a solution to the continuing problem of illegal fireworks use. One solution is for those who wish to make a difference in this community’s safety is to join us by applying to become a Portland Police Officer-we are hiring!