James Geiger and his wife, Brenda, plan to build a train depot-style car wash along Highway 99, one of four commercial projects in the works in Central Point. - Julia Moore

Central Point on track for commercial growth

CENTRAL POINT — Summer sunshine could arrive with a burst of commercial optimism on both ends of this growing town.

A train depot-style car wash tucked alongside the tracks parallel to Highway 99 will grace the city's southerly entrance just before Pine Street, with an auto parts store going in next door.

At the other end of town, near the freeway interchange, a Goodwill retail store will open inside the Albertsons Shopping Center, while the area's first liquefied natural gas station will be added to the Pilot truck stop.

While residential development has remained slow, commercial projects have trickled in this year and are seemingly "coming online" at the same time, said Community Planner Connie Clune.

James Geiger and his wife, Brenda, surveyed plans Thursday for their Wash & Go Depot Car Wash, across from the 7-Eleven store and just south of the Grange grain elevator at Pine and Front streets.

The 100-foot, tunnel-style car wash will pay homage to the city's old train station, which once was located a stone's throw from the Geigers' recently acquired property.

James Geiger, a real estate appraiser who has owned and operated a handful of businesses, including a commercial cleaning service, said the city seems poised for new commercial businesses.

By some counts, he said, some 22,000 vehicles per day zoom past the highway frontage on which he'll soon break ground. "I think the timing, economically, is good for opening a business in Central Point," he said.

The burst of projects is a welcome change after a slow few years on both the residential and commercial fronts, said Clune, who noted that the liquid natural gas station might be the state's first.

Clean Energy, the largest provider of natural gas in North America, is building a national "highway" network of more than 100 liquefied natural gas stations.

"To the best of our knowledge, we will eventually be one of two or three in Oregon and probably the first one in the state, depending on how long it takes to get up and running," Clune said.

Peter Stovall, a project analyst for Clean Energy, based in California, said the city's location along the Interstate-5 corridor was a key reason the site was chosen. "We picked Central Point because it's really the connection point between the Pacific Northwest and California," said Stovall, who added that city officials had been easy to work with.

"We have a strategic partnership with Pilot Travel Center, and they have a site there, and it was a perfect fit for us. It's halfway between that stretch from Seattle to Portland and on to the San Francisco, Sacramento area."

Geiger said the addition of local and regional services was important for the city, which has a population base big enough to support additional retail outlets.

"I really want to see the community develop and offer the kind of services here that people need so they don't have to drive into Medford," he said.

"There are 17,000 people here, and they shouldn't have to do that."

Clune said the fueling station would be reviewed by the city Planning Commission April 3.

Geiger hopes to break ground soon and open to the public by early summer.

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Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at

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