Our story about downtown bar owners' efforts to dissuade douchebags and pedestrianize a block of Southwest Ankeny Street apparently captured the attention of Tom Miller, head of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
The day the story hit the streets last week, Miller met with Dustin Knox outside the bar Knox owns on Ankeny in the heart of downtown's Barmuda Triangle.
Miller—who could not be reached for comment for this story—said he supports making Ankeny car-free if it costs the city nothing and the emphasis is on selling food rather than booze, Knox says.
"It seemed very positive," Knox says. "It sounded like he just wanted to be an advocate for what he felt would be a revitalization of the downtown situation and would help move away from some of what's going on down there."
A man who identified himself as a local architect has also chimed in at City Hall to support creating a European-style promenade in the narrow block between Southwest 2nd and 3rd streets.
Miller told Knox the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Portland Police must agree to the plan, Knox says. But the owners of Voodoo Doughnut, Berbati, Valentine's and Dan and Louis Oyster Bar are all on board, according to Knox.
Knox says he hopes to have the street closed to traffic and open to outdoor cafe tables this spring.
"In the end, the local businesses will be paying for it," he says. "Everyone is excited to see this happen."