By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
More than a dozen restaurants in downtown Bend are seeking permission to use sidewalks and portions of streets to increase their seating capacity.
Deschutes Brewery is among nearly 20 restaurants asking the city of Bend to use the sidewalk and possibly the street in front of the pub for additional seating.
“This would extend the outdoor seating to the sidewalk,” said Michael LaLonde, Deschutes Brewery President and CEO. “We would like to keep it along the sidewalk so that wait staff don’t have to navigate foot traffic on the sidewalk in front of the pub. That would be the best solution to the problem; have outdoor seating, have it close to our building and have the pedestrians actually walk further away.”
It’s unclear at this point how far out pedestrian traffic may be re-routed, possibly into some of the parking spaces in front of the brewery which may be closed to allow pedestrian traffic to circulate safely.
“More seating equals more revenue. We experienced significant revenue loss the past two months. Many businesses are struggling to stay alive. Anything council can do to help us increase our business with these types of opportunities, we really appreciate it,” LaLonde said.
Other restaurants are proposing closing entire alleys during certain times of the day to create outdoor seating.
Perhaps the most intriguing proposal is to make Minnesota Avenue a one-way street with seating on both sides of the travel lane.
Jon Skidmore, City of Bend Chief Operating Officer, said decisions on whether to expand outdoor seating will be made in a matter of days.
“With the alleys, we should be able to get them done in a few days. With the parking, reusing parking, that may take a few more days just for us to figure it out. A lot of it depends on what the applicants are bringing to the table in terms of how they are proposing to close off portions of the street and make sure that it’s still safe,” Skidmore said.
That’s less than 1% of the more than 2,100 public parking spaces available in downtown Bend.
The following businesses have been in contact with the City of Bend to either expand their seating on the sidewalk or into the streets/alleys.
The Lemon Tree
The Bend Store
Tin Pan Theater
Worth Taps & Tacos
Good Drop Wine Shoppe
The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin
Deschutes Brewery & Public House
Beach Hut Deli
White Water Taphouse