Earlier this year, the owner of a shop downtown stacked her snow tires on the sidewalk outside her door and tried to sell them.
That and all the other random uses downtown business owners are finding for sidewalks—folding tables, racks of clothes, brochure displays—is a problem, representatives of the Bend Downtowner’s Association told the Bend City Council Wednesday night.
There are two main concerns, said the Downtowner reps.
One is equity. Right now restaurants have to pay to use the sidewalks for their tables and chairs and some restaurant owners are frustrated that others don’t have to pay to use the space.
The other problem is accessibility for people with disabilities, people pushing baby strollers, etc.
“We aren’t…trying to make it difficult to do business downtown,” clarified Chuck Arnold, director of the Downtowner’s Association. He just wants to see an equitable solution that provides access to all sidewalks downtown, he said.
The solution is clarity of rules and consistency in their application, said Arnold.
Council members expressed concerns over the problems and said they they would take up the “junk on the sidewalk” at a later meeting.