Mayor Charlie Hales will extend the weekend street closures in the Old Town Entertainment District, his office announced this afternoon.
The district was featured in this WW's most recent cover story about Oregon's complicated relationship with alcohol, and how it plays out in Old Town.
The city had closed a six-block area in lower Northwest Portland to traffic on Friday and Saturday nights between 10 pm and 3 am. It was part of a 90-day trial run that ran until last weekend. Hales' extension will keep streets closed on weekends for another 60 days.
The City Council wanted to decrease traffic hazards between cars and the thousands of drinkers who flock to the nightclub and bar-heavy area.“We want to hear from stakeholders about how it’s working,” Hales says in a release. “I’ve toured the area from midnight to 3 a.m. on a Saturday night when it is most busy. So I’ve seen it for myself. And to my mind: It’s working. Now we want to hear from others before we decide how to proceed.”
The closure is on Northwest Third Avenue, from Everett to Burnside streets, including adjacent streets.
Hales will meet with business owners, social services agencies and neighborhood groups this month for further discussions, his office says. No time or date has been set for that meeting. He also will schedule another walking tour of Old Town/China Town for midnight on a Saturday in April. After that, the release says Hales likely will seek to make the street closure permanent or to end it.