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Looks as if Portlanders might have the option of dining on the street until midyear ib 2022

DAVID F. ASHTON - Dining on the street, in parking spaces, has proven quite popular, and has been a boon for many restaurants in Inner Southeast Portland.One of the lifelines many restaurants, and some other local businesses, have relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic is the opportunity to set up dining and display areas in designated parking spaces as well as on the sidewalk. In some cases parts of blocks have been closed to allow their use by businesses.

The permit process for such use of the streets has been extended once, but was expected to end on October 31. Without explicitly saying that these programs will continue past that, the Portland Bureau of Transportation on August 17 announced that its permitting process will: "PBOT's Healthy Businesses permit program to continue waiving fees through June 2022" was the headline on a press release from the agency on that date. "Following the overwhelmingly positive public response to the program, the City Council allocated American Rescue Plan funding late last month to continue waiving permit fees through June 30, 2022," said the release. "Across the city, these temporary outdoor spaces have allowed businesses to create space for social distancing, and to accommodate customers who prefer to shop and dine outdoors. PBOT requires permittees to follow specific design requirements and permit conditions. Among them are requirements for pedestrian accessibility, safe use of electrical cords and string lighting, and access for emergency vehicles."

So if the permits will remain free of fees to merchants through next June, presumably the permits themselves will continue! It is not clear from the release, though, whether merchants will have to apply for replacement permits by October 31 to continue using these street sites, a step that was required last time – but it might be wise for merchants currently in this program to make sure what they have to do before Hallowe'en.

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