In an effort to make Portland's old town entertainment district safer during weekends, the city will vote on a new ordinance next week, which would shut down area streets to traffic at night.
The pilot program moves to close NW Third from W Burnside to NW Everett and one block of each of the perpendicular feeder streets on Fridays, Saturdays and major holidays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Police say the main reason for this is because five of the top six locations for calls for help are within this area, and a majority of those calls are for pedestrians hit by a car.
"I think it's good idea, there are a lot of crazies jumping in street, and when you're driving it's hard to pay attention to that when you're also getting to your destination and trying to find parking," said Portland resident Jordan Andersen.
But the program comes with its trade-offs.
Cars will be towed if you park within the boundaries of the street closure, and the closest parking to bars with in the program's perimeter will be blocks away.
"I think it is going to take some business away, people are not going to walk from a ways a way, they will want to walk to somewhere close and make it easy on themselves," said Portland resident Brennan Rooks.
That's something of great concern for businesses within the perimeter of the program, which bank on easy access to their bars.
"I've heard several customers have a formula for them to circle once or twice around a bar, and if they don't find any parking, they go elsewhere," said Hobo's Assistant Manager Steve Gonzales. "So I know this will hurt."
Taxis and limo services will also have newly designated areas.
The city does plan to permit a few food trucks to provide late night food to bar patrons.
If the city council passes the ordinance next week, it will be tested in two 90-day phases, and then it will review whether or not it was effective.
If you have concerns, or want to voice your opinion, you can testify at the city council meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m.
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