By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Roger Worthington, the owner of Worthy Brewing and Worthy Taps and Tacos, posted a passionate video on YouTube Monday to voice his frustrations with vehicles driving on the Brooks Street Promenade in downtown Bend.
“There’s a sign at the obelisk that says authorized vehicles only,” Worthington said. “By whom? What does that mean? I’ve been here a while and I’ve never seen a vehicle that was quote authorized.”
Worthington is calling on the city to shut down the promenade to vehicles between certain hours so restaurants can expand seating and for pedestrian safety.
“I’ve already seen motor vehicles crush bicycles leaning against the half wall,” Worthington said. “It’s just a matter of time that an inattentive driver will run over a kid. Then what’s the city going to do? I put it up to the city over a year ago that this is a powder keg about to blow.”
Ben Hemson, a business advocate with the City of Bend, said there has been conversations between the city and business owners about what to do with the promenade for years.
“Really where it got bogged down is there wasn’t a good consensus between the business owners along the corridor,” Hemson said.
Some businesses along the street do want the promenade to be shut down to cars. But others use it for their own delivery trucks and vehicles.
Due to allowances being made because of the pandemic, some restaurants could move seating into the promenade temporarily, but no one has applied for a permit.
“I know there’s an interest there, but so far we have not recieved the documentation to move forward, as opposed to Tin Pan or Minnesota where we have received the documentation,” Hemson said.
To change the street long-term, Hemson said more conversation needs to happen between the businesses, the city council and the Downtown Business Association.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a never going to happen type of thing,” Hemson said. “But I would say more work and more attention need to be paid to this to move it forward.”