▶️ ‘Parklets’ in Downtown Bend are here to stay, but will come at a price

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The parklets — or outdoor dining tents — in downtown Bend are here to stay, but there will be a price for businesses that opt-in.

After a successful first-run while pandemic restrictions were in place, the city has decided to allow the outdoor dining areas year-round.

“That transition means a shift from free spaces and city provided safety equipment, to charging for spaces and some real guidelines around what businesses have to do to make a safe and esthetically pleasing space in those areas going forward,” said Ben Hemson, the business advocate for the city.

Some restaurants take up to nine parking spots for their parklet, and others like Bos Taurus share a parklet and only take up two spots.

“I don’t know how it affects every business that is using them,” said George Morris, chef and partner at Bos Taurus. “I guess I would say I have mixed feelings.”

“The City needs to make money too right, so they have people to pay and if this is one of the ways they need to do it, they have been really, really good to restaurants, they have been really, really good to businesses, so I am definitely not opposed to it,” Morris added.

One possible fee discussed by city council Wednesday night is $100 per parking space, per month, but some city councilors including Anthony Broadman say that fee is too steep.

“They (customers) are willing to wait an hour to go into a restaurant, but how long are you willing to wait for a parking spot?” Broadman asked. “Not very long right? You are going to circle or go to the garage like we ask. So, I would like a more targeted approach to a fee, if any. Either based on square footage or having one parking spot be included or a lower overall fee.”

City Council will meet again to discuss the parklet fees on November 3.

The City of Bend had eight businesses with an active parklet in the last year and over the summer it was below 1% of total available parking spaces in downtown.

After discussions Wednesday, the council wants a parking space capacity cap of 5% used for parklets.

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