CRESWELL – It is looking like the lawn chairs will remain folded up in the garage for yet another July Fourth.
While the City of Creswell, local businesses owners, and a newly assembled Creswell Chamber board are stepping up to provide some semblance of a Fourth of July celebration this summer, chances are that its key features will be missing from the activities lineup.
Creswell resident Jason Stubbs attended Monday’s city council meeting as a representative of the new Chamber board of directors. Stubbs, who serves as vice president, said the board’s initial focus was figuring out a July 4 fireworks display.
The board received approval for the required contracts and permits, and the OK from the fire marshal. It’s green-light to go – except for the location.
The Creswell School District property was the site of past firework displays, and district staff “is currently thinking that it’s not going to be able to allow (fireworks)” on its property, Stubbs said.
Joel Higdon, who is the district’s facilities operations and safety officer, told The Chronicle on April 30 that "the District is seeking an opportunity for hosting the fireworks display," though "several challenges and obstacles are present."
Higdon said that safety is the priority – especially considering the County is is the Extreme Risk category, and that Gov. Kate Brown extended the state's COVID-19 emergency order to 60 days.
"With these considerations, Superintendent (Mike) Johnson is seeking further clarification from Lane County Public Health," Higdon said. "The District wants Creswell’s Fourth of July Celebration to be as full and successful as possible. We are mindful of the health and safety of our community and hope that the fireworks display can be hosted from school district property. "
Amberg noted that potential alternate firework locations have been researched by City staff and deemed unfeasible, largely due to the airport flight patterns and other related requirements.
“If we can’t move forward with the firework display at the school, we probably will have to forfeit the funds we’ve already committed so far. We’re hoping that the school district will be a little accommodating and work with us on this,” Stubbs said. He said he plans to discuss the fireworks further with Higdon later this week.
The parade is a definite “no” by the City, Amberg said, citing staffing, time, and the unknowns of fluctuating Covid regulations. Stubbs said that the Chamber board has reached the same conclusion, and said it will likely be up to the citizens to form a “makeshift parade” if the community wants it.
The City still plans to host community-wide contests, like house decorating, sidewalk chalk art and pet contests. Activities at the Hobby Field Airport are still a go, and the fly-over is not yet guaranteed, but Amberg said that the airport manager Shelley Humble “is working on it.”
Local businesses like Creswell Wellness Center and Farmlands Market are still planning food and activity-related events.
“Not a lot of progress, I’m afraid, except that I think we all can be very happy that the Chamber of Commerce is once again a real player,” Amberg said. Despite this year’s challenges, Stubbs said he is hopeful that the Chamber can host a full-fledged Fourth of July in 2022.