Portland launches program to let local businesses set up on city sidewalks

May 28 2020, 11:58 am

In a move to help retail businesses prepare for reopening, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has launched the Safe Streets|Healthy Businesses program.

Aimed at providing sidewalk-access businesses reallocated city property (the curbs and sidewalks in front of businesses) to ensure a safe measure of distance for customers, the program is now taking applications.

PBOT assures Portland business owners that this new program will have a seamless process without bureaucracy, and there will be no fees for the application or the permits.

city sidewalks

“Cities around the world are reallocating streets for people to support safe physical distancing,” said Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “Portland started with 100 miles of slow streets on our Neighborhood Greenways, closing them to through traffic to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Our next phase is working with our local business community to support their reopening and reimagine public space.”

Businesses are encouraged to apply for the reallocation in order to give them more space to have more dining room, retail space, sanitation, or other distance-supporting measures in place.

PBOT is also promoting businesses on busy corridors to work together, and should the number of applications and interest arise, permanent closures of street access for seating and public use could be implemented.

“Normally, at this time of year, we would be getting ready to issue permits for street fairs, farmers’ markets, and block parties,” said PBOT Director Chris Warner. “Instead, we’re adapting to find creative ways to adapt our streets and help Portland safely get moving again. That is what Safe Streets|Healthy Businesses and our strategic framework are all about. 

Applications are now open, and businesses aiming to reopen and return to a new normal version of operation are strongly encouraged to apply for these new permits. Applications are available online.

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