City of Portland hosts meeting to discuss recovery efforts after - KPTV - FOX 12

City of Portland hosts meeting to discuss recovery efforts after natural gas explosion

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It has now been two weeks since a natural gas explosion destroyed businesses on Northwest 23rd, and the shockwaves of that explosion are still being felt, especially for the owners of those small businesses.

At the jewelry and apparel store, Dazzle, it's back to business, but it's not business as usual.

"I've noticed the last two weeks of October, the numbers of people are down on the street, and everybody is experiencing some kind of loss of revenue," said Dazzle owner, Favia Priola.

Priola isn't alone and considers herself lucky. The natural gas explosion heavily damaged some businesses and destroyed others.

"Somebody compared it to losing a child because a small business...your business is your life," said Joel Mikkalson, owner of Ritual Adornments.

Almost everyone in the immediate area has been impacted. Traffic flow has been disrupted, and with it, the cash flow.

Those concerns prompted the city to host a special meeting with business owners to explore ways to help. 

Priola suggested a temporary moratorium on parking fees.

"Let the people come down to shop, and hopefully open that door up through the holiday season. And tell the community that they're behind the businesses, that they know a lot of people are suffering," said Priola.

Other suggestions included temporary sidewalks for shoppers on foot.

"They're walking on the streets. There's no place for them to walk, so they go into the middle of the street. And it's already congested with pedestrians, and a lot of cars going down 23rd Avenue," Priola said.

The shop owners said they're encouraged by the city's willingness to hear them out, but the help, they say, can't come soon enough.

The city has appointed a special "Recovery Manager" to oversee the rebuilding effort. They also plan to create a new website where people who are impacted can get the information and help they need.

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