Proposal to close some downtown streets in Portland to help businesses reopen

Published: May. 15, 2020 at 7:18 AM EDT
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A plan to temporarily close several downtown streets in the interest of supporting small businesses cleared its first hurdle on Thursday.

The proposal was passed unanimously by members of Portland's Economic Development Committee.

If approved by the full city council, it would allow restaurants and stores to expand onto public and private property for seating or retail space.

Six downtown streets would be temporarily closed to allow businesses to use sidewalks, parking lots, plazas and parklets.

The city's manager, Jon Jennings says six-foot social distancing measures are required.

"We are going to be looking at this very closely because we do not know how long covid-19 will be with us. We don't know if there will be another outbreak at some point," said Jennings.

If the plan moves ahead, street closures would remain in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The city says access will only be allowed for delivery vehicles and residents.

If approved the street closures could remain in effect through November.

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