Hardesty and PBOT move to make outdoor eating programs permanent

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 12:21 PM PDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2022 at 12:48 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The programs “Healthy Businesses” and “Portland Public Street Plaza” were created to provide crucial outdoor space to businesses during the pandemic. Now, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Portland Bureau of Transportation want those programs to be permanent staples of the city.

Hardesty gathered alongside PBOT officials Monday at Pride Plaza off SW Harvey Milk to discuss making both programs permanent. Currently permits for the Healthy Business program are free. However, Hardesty says to make them permanent, city council needs to meet PBOT’s budget request, although no exact amount was revealed.

“Hundreds of small businesses have told us operating outdoor city streets was essential to survival during the pandemic,” Hardesty said.

Portland Public Streets Plazas program builds on that effort by creating made outdoor gathering places like the Pride Plaza in Southwest Portland.

“I encourage you to reach out to my colleagues on council and tell them that this is something that would be a good thing for them to do,” Hardesty said.

As they push to make those programs permanent city code, Hardesty says she plans to address how they can make outdoor city streets more accessible to those with disabilities.