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City officials are seeking to support alternative ways to help increase patronage of local businesses affected by physical distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants in downtown and midtown Oregon City will be able to expand their outdoor seating after the City Commission on July 15 approved a plan through November.

Oregon City restaurants in the downtown area and along Seventh Street (Singer Hill Road to Jackson Street) can create temporary outdoor dining once they get a permit. Permit applications are available at orcity.org.

COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon City provided this image as an example of the type of parklet city officials are trying to encourage outside of restaurants for outdoor seating. Two pilot programs, one to allow restaurants to build parklets for outdoor seating in streets, and the other to allow for business of various types in parking lots, will empower businesses to expand into spots normally reserved for vehicles. City officials are seeking to support alternative ways to help increase patronage of local businesses affected by physical distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Laura Terway, the city's community development director, said the two programs together could help all types of Oregon City businesses.

City Commission will review the program after Nov. 30, but before March 15, 2021, to determine if any changes are needed to the standards. Whatever changes are approved will be put into place for a restart of the program March 15 through Nov. 30, 2021. Permits currently cost $25 but the cost of the permit may get more expensive next year if the city decides to continue the program.

"It's an excellent investment in our city and the health of our future economy," wrote Victoria Meinig, executive director of the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce in support of the program. "Offering businesses alternative ways to increase patronage during these trying times of COVID-19 will help drive local commerce and help sustain and promote the businesses that are still struggling to withstand the pandemic effects."

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.


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