Ashland Businesses Coming Back After Plaza Fire

By Sharon Ko

ASHLAND, Ore. — A fire forced several businesses to close their doors in the Ashland Plaza, but months after the flames were put out, those businesses are reopening.

In March of this year, police arrested a transient for deliberately starting a fire on the staircase between two buildings on the Plaza. The flames forced several businesses to close because of the extensive smoke damage. But now they are ready to reopen and start fresh.

Owners say opening up again came at a high cost. The Hong Kong Bar was only open for a month when the fire occurred. Owner Beasy McMillian says about $45,000 went into repairing the smoke damage. Plus, the money he lost through rent and labor costs also hit hard.

Gold and Gems Fine Jewelry also dished out thousands of dollars in repairs. Richard Hansen, the jewelry store owner, says hours alone cost him between $200,000-$250,000. But Hansen says he is grateful for the community’s support.

Gold and Gems Fine Jewlery is open and the Hong Kong Bar is planning to reopen in about a month.