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Where Fireworks Bans Don’t Apply: Enclave In Edmonds Gets More Than Its Share

John Froschauer
AP Photo
Residents of Edmonds are encouraged to enjoy public fireworks displays, such as this one at Seattle's Gasworks Park on July 4, 2003. But some may be tempted to stay close to home and just go to Esperance and set off their own.

Like many suburban cities around the region, the waterfront community of Edmonds has a total ban on fireworks. But there’s an enclave within the city that is officially not part of the city. So the law doesn’t apply.

That means a special scenario on the Fourth of July.

Despite five attempts over the past 50 years for annexation into Edmonds, the enclave of Esperanceremains an unincorporated area of Snohomish County. It’s just over a half a square mile, with nearly 4,000 residents

“The people who live there are blessed because they don’t have the taxation and all the headaches of Edmonds. But they have the headaches of the police force not being around that much. So we have a lot of crime and some other things going on there that would not normally happen,”  said David Foster, Lead Pastor at Rock of Hope Church in Esperance.

He says on the Fourth of July, and in the days leading up to it, the whole area and especially the park across from his church, get lots and lots of fireworks.

“People come to that park and they’ll put off their fireworks for family and neighborhood. Because the county sheriffs are out doing other things,” Foster said.  

It is illegal to set off fireworks in county parks. But in Esperance, it is allowed on the streets and in backyards on July Fourth, so people often get away with it.

The pastor says he doesn’t mind so much, but he does wish people would do a better job cleaning up their fireworks debris.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to