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No painting of fire hydrants in Medford

I recently moved to Medford, and we built our retirement home here. We live on a corner, so we ended up with a large and rather dull yellow fire hydrant on the grass strip near the curb. I’d like to perhaps paint it like a little doll. I even considered dressing it up for Halloween but didn’t. Are those things allowed? I’d like my front yard to look a little better.

— Nancy, via email

A lot of towns around the country allow homeowners to paint or otherwise gussy-up the fire hydrants in front of their homes, but Medford is not one of them, Nancy.

And there are plenty of reasons, says Greg Kleinberg, Medford Fire-Rescue deputy chief and fire marshal.

The hydrants need to be readily visible to firefighters responding to a fire call on your block, Kleinberg says. So disguising it like a yard gnome or Raggedy Ann doesn’t make that very easy.

Also, the hydrants are color-coded to immediately tell firefighters how many gallons per minute of water they can expect from that hydrant, Kleinberg says.

If you change those colors, Nancy, firefighters won’t know how much water they can get through those lines and to your neighbor’s house, or yours, in case of a fire.

“So, doing that would defeat the purpose,” Kleinberg says.

That includes painting on a bullseye for the neighborhood dogs.

By the way, the hydrants are owned and managed by the Medford Water Commission.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.