Central Point prioritizing fire prevention

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – From the moment the Almeda fire broke out in Ashland last September, Central Point’s City Manager, Chris Clayton told NBC5 News all hands were on deck.

“We had 24 hours to think about and consider exactly what we would need to do if ended up in the same position,” said Clayton.

Little did he know one day later another fire sparked in Central Point.

“From what had happened the day before we communicated immediately with the Jackson County EOC and evacuated the entire city,” said Clayton.

They didn’t want what happened in phoenix and talent to happen to Central Point. Central Point Police Chief Kristine Allison and Captain David Croft worked with the EOC to make the call. Nine months later, Clayton’s proud of the city’s response but admits there is room for improvement.

“One of the challenges last year during the fires in September of 2020 was water for the firefighters,” said Clayton.

Clayton said there’s no water system that parallels the Greenway. That’s why the city is working with its Public Works Department and the Water Commission to implement water lines and fire hydrants on the Greenway.

“It’s an emergency access road that vehicles can use quickly to get down onto the Greenway,” said Clayton.

Similar to other neighboring towns recently, Central Point just released a new evacuation map, breaking the town into zones. The City Council also voted to increase the park’s maintenance fee by 85 cents a month to help mitigate fire hazards on their portion of the Greenway. But that’s just the short-term plan.

“Our plan for the city of Central Point is to add our section of the Greenway to our Urban Renewal District and bring it into an Urban Renewal Project,” said Clayton.

But that could take time. Now, the city is preparing for fire season and encourages you to do so as well.

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