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Oregon teen paints 70 fire hydrants for city

Sophomore wanted to do something positive for the community

Watching the unrest unfold in several American cities this year moved one Oregon teenager to action right in her own hometown—and that mission started right outside her window.

“I was watching all the riots and fires on television and I saw so many bad things happening that I wanted to do something,” said Gracie Prose, 15. “ I looked out my window and there was a fire hydrant so I asked my mom about painting the fire hydrants in town. We made some calls and we put it into action.”

One of the calls Prose and her mom, Charity, made was to Dave Kent, the operations manager for the city’s water and waste water department.

“They both called me and I thought, ‘OK’, we’ll start with 8 hydrants and then Gracie called back and wanted more so we went from there,” said Kent. “We gave her the brushes and the red paint and she did all the rest.”

Prose repainted around 70 hydrants, starting with the one right outside her home on S. Seventh Street.

“The scraping before the painting is what took the bulk of time,” said Prose, a sophomore at Oregon High School. “It usually took me around 45-50 minutes.”

“And she had some very hot days in there,” said Kent noting that the city has around 250 hydrants in town. “She’d get done with one and she’d hike down to the next one.”

Oregon Mayor Ken Williams, City Administrator Darin DeHaan, Oregon Fire Chief Michael Knoup and Commissioner of Public Property Melanie Cozzi joined Kent by the hydrant in front of Prose’s home on Monday to present her with a certificate of appreciation and to tell her thanks.

“The Oregon Fire Department really appreciates all the help you did with this project,” Knoup said.

Prose is working toward a goal of 400 volunteer service hours before she graduates and calculates she donated between 68-70 hours on the hydrant painting project.

“I also helped out at Village of Progress and the Oregon library this summer, in between painting,” she said. “It made me feel good about myself.”