Early Friday morning, the North West Newport Avenue corridor was opened. Everyone Central Oregon Daily spoke with was happy about the opening, particularly the local businesses that have been in the middle of it for the last two years.
Newport Avenue Market CEO Lauren Redman told us, she is glad the impacts of the construction were not worse.
“We’re just really happy that we didn’t have to lay anybody off,” Redman said.
Other businesses we spoke with, like Gather Hair Collective and Chow, were relieved.
“Definitely thrilled to be open,” Janelle Derven, Manager of Gather Hair Collective said. “It was a little chaotic because things would be changing on a frequent basis.”
We asked Principle Engineer for the City of Bend, Brittany Barker, about the frequent changes.
“We started this project in April 2021 really in the midst of a lot of the impacts that we didn’t see coming with supply chain issues and staffing shortages,” Barker said.
Even with the unexpected bumps in the road, the project was always predicted to take two years.
“We had failing storm drains that we had to replace,” Barker said. “After looking through the corridor further we saw that the sewer line was over 50 years old and our water line was over 70 years old.”
Construction started and “the entire west side was basically shut down,” according to Chow’s Executive Chef Jesc Miller.
He added businesses had to adapt for survival.
“We had to do what we had to do: to-go orders and stuff,” said Miller. “But the thing now that it’s open, is that people are still going to pass through us because everyone is used to it being closed.”
Other improvements to the area include new sidewalks, bike lanes and crosswalks.
Businesses said they are happy about the new safety components but wish communication about the project had been better.
“So many cooks in the kitchen or whatever you want to call it because it wasn’t just the City, it was Taylor Construction, it was this and that so there was still a lot things that we ended up being out of the loop on that were pretty frustrating,” Derven said.
The important thing is that Newport Avenue construction is officially over.
“We’re thankful for our customers that sustained us through the really tough times, and now, hey lets party. It’s summer in Bend,” Redman said.
Crews will still be around throughout the month of June working on irrigation and landscaping, and the road will remain open.