By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Sarah Worley, the owner of The Good Drop Wine Shoppe in downtown Bend says says she’ll gladly give up a handful of front door parking stalls to offer outdoor dining all summer.
Outdoor dining tents, or “parklets” as they are being called, saved some businesses downtown, especially during those winter months.
“I can honestly say I would have had to have laid both of my employees off truly honestly because there wouldn’t have been any work for them,” said Worley.
Worley says the outdoor tents kept her business open during the pandemic.
Now, she wants them to stay.
“For me I would like to see them continue, quite frankly, permanently,” said Worley.
On April 7, the Bend City Council has a work session to discuss just that.
“Once this emergency order elapses, we need to make sure we have the next structure in place to ensure businesses that if they choose and if we agree they can continue to use outdoor space,” said Councilor Anthony Broadman.
Broadman says the city needs to put businesses in a position where they can succeed after the pandemic ends.
“We still have an economic crisis where we need to support businesses, workers, and you know make sure we are putting people in situations where they feel safe and part of that is continuing to allow people to operate outside,” Broadman added.
Deschutes Brewery also said it would like the parklets to be up as long as possible, even after the restrictions are lifted, but Worley knows not all downtown businesses want the parklets to be permanent.
“There is actually a mixture of some people that want to stay and some people that are upset because it takes away parking on the street,” said Worley.
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.
“I hope that City Council sees that there is a way to work through this work through this where everybody can meet in the middle and be happy,” Worley said.