The folks at Thump Coffee are all for closing off Minnesota Avenue in Downtown Bend, just not the part of the street where they do business.
Barista Isaiah Freier says cutting off access to drivers between Bond Street and Lava Road could prove frustrating to customers.
“People often park on the street here before they’re going to work in the morning or if they just want to stop by and get a quick cup of coffee,” Freier said. “But they don’t have time to walk around downtown and linger.”
The Downtown Bend Business Association has proposed turning Minnesota Avenue into a pedestrian-only promenade.
They’ll talk about the plan Wednesday night with the Bend City Council.
Freier says it could cause problems for employees as well.
“If you have a downtown permit you can park down here,” Freier said. “That would no longer be an option.”
Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe is also against the idea.
Owner Tom Beans took to social media over the weekend encouraging customers to reach out to Bend City Council prior to their meeting with the Downtown Bend Business Association.
In his post, Beans claims “the majority of retailers on Minnesota, Dudley’s included” are against the proposal and that he is “truly worried about the future of Dudley’s if this comes to pass.”
Mayor Sally Russell believes it’s just too early in the planning process to start forming opinions.
“It’s really important for all of us to sort of get out of each other’s ways and open a broader conversation that is informed and grounded, and based on whatever the proposal truly is,” Russell said. “None of us have really seen that in a substantial way.”
With no hesitation, Scout and Pine owner Chris Foote tells Central Oregon Daily News he is still all for it.
“There’s very little parking to be lost, we’ve had great success with the restaurants kind of creating their own [outdoor dining space],” Foote said. “I think it helps make Bend a charming destination.”
Drawing in tourists is one thing, but Freier also worries about losing some regulars.
“I wonder if we wouldn’t see as many of those familiar faces if they did close down the street,” Freier said. “That is a really sad thought, because we do love our regulars.”
After multiple attempts, the Downtown Bend Business Association would not allow Central Oregon Daily News to interview them on-camera.
Executive director Mindy Aisling did send a written statement stating, “At the City of Bend’s request, the DBBA has looked into what it would take to create a pedestrian promenade in Downtown Bend. This is a great opportunity to invest in downtown’s future and it is an honor to provide research and stakeholder feedback on this project to the City of Bend.”