Store owners feared street closure would have disrupted business, cut revenue

'Portlandia' and the city of Troutdale reached an agreement over parking in downtown.

Film crews will only park their equipment in certain sections along the historic highway, so business can continue as usual.

"The city did a great job," said Pompeyo, who had intial concerns crews would block parking in front of his restaurant meant for customers.

"Portlandia is going to film the T.V. show, but won't block the whole street," he said.

Pompeyo credits the city for their quick response.

"They are very efficient and they respect us," Pompeyo said.

Parking concerns

When "Portlandia" filmed in Troutdale two weeks ago, businesses owners excited for the occasion stood by and smiled as film crews took over the downtown street and parked in front of their shops for half the day.

But when businesses received a flier from "Portlandia" Friday saying crews had reserved parking from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, on three blocks of downtown's main street, they protested.

“I cannot afford to lose that one day of sales,” said Saul Pompeyo, owner of Ristorante DiPompello.

Pompeyo said he's got nothing against crews coming to Troutdale to film movies or television programs as it gives downtown businesses good exposure.

“But they cannot take the parking for the whole street,” he said. “They need to share it with us."

Pompeyo wrote a letter to the Troutdale City Council expressing his frustration with the short notice of parking restrictions. And other business owners and employees who work downtown signed a petition to the city asking for a better parking plan.

The petition stated that blocking off and restricting parking on the East Historic Columbia River Highway for a whole day will cause downtown businesses and their employees to lose income.

Last time "Portlandia" gave notice about filming in downtown, Pompeyo said they gave 36 hours notice to use a few parking spots from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a Thursday.

“I lost some business, but I told everybody — enjoy,” he said.

City Manager Craig Ward said he met with business owners this morning.

He said the city became aware of Portlandia's intentions to film on Friday. A flier issued by Sidestreet, the production company used by "Portlandia," revealed plans to film in front of Mayor's Square, Caswell Gallery, Brewligan's and Depot Park, and reserve parking on the north side of the historic highway between Buxton Avenue and Southeast Harlow Avenue, and on the south side between Buxton Avenue and Southeast Dora Street.

“We contacted Portlandia (on Friday) and told them that we don’t want them parking on historic highway and taking all the parking spaces,” Ward said.

Ward said that because the historic highway is a county road, permitting is required through the county.

It appears there has been a “miscommunication” with the “Portlandia crew moving very quickly.”

Ward said the city of Troutdale has asked Portlandia to change its parking plan and offered alternative parking on side streets and other city-owned streets.

“Last I heard (the) 'Portlandia' crew is working on it,” Ward said.

What makes things difficult is all of this is happening tomorrow, he said.

Pompeyo said if his customers, among them those who use wheelchairs or who've made reservations in advance, can't park in front of his business, he needs to give them more forewarning.

“From now on into the future, the city needs to have a plan for parking when they do an event,” he added.

Business owners are asking the city for at least two weeks notice when any film production companies request road closures or restrict parking on East Historic Columbia River Highway.

Road closures should not affect more than 10 percent of the street parking, they said.

“The crew and actors need to park like any other employee who works on East Historic Columbia River Highway,” business owners stated in a public flier. “Street parking is for our customers.”

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