Following up on our story about business owners' efforts to clean up the nightlife in downtown Portland: The city is set turn one block of Southwest Ankeny Street into a car-free zone with outdoor tables for diners.
The City Council is set June 15 to consider a proposal from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to make Ankeny car-free between 2nd and 3rd avenues starting June 21. The proposal came from neighboring business owners who want to create a food-centric nightlife zone in the so-called "Barmuda Triangle."
"We heard from businesses that they wanted this, and we've responded accordingly," says PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson.
The ordinance before City Council is a pilot project that will close the street to cars for four months, Anderson says. It would also allow neighboring businesses including Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, Berbati's, Shanghai Tunnel, Valentine's and Central to put cafe tables on the street.
The plan was spearheaded by Dustin Knox, who opened Central as a low-key lounge and creperie where the more obnoxious elements from large Old Town clubs aren't welcome. Knox and Berbati's owner John Papaioannou told WW they imagined a European-style promenade in the scenic Ankeny alley.
The same day that the March 23 edition of WW hit the streets, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Tom Miller visited Knox at Central. Miller said he would back the plan if it cost the city nothing, and if police and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved.
"We still expect adults to be adults and have an adult experience, but we're focusing it more on the food side," Knox says. "We're trying to create a place to sit down and eat and be safe."