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City expands Street Seats program

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Dimitri Shepard and Heather Chambers enjoy a slice of pizza in the outdoor seating area of Mississippi Pizza. The tables are part of the city's Street Seats program, which removes public parking for community spaces.The city of Portland has deemed its Street Seats program so successful that it's looking to expand next year.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation hosts an open house Friday, Dec. 5, to answer questions and encourage more participation. The open house is set for 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave.

Staff and local design firms will be on hand to provide design inspiration. Now in its fourth year, the city's Street Seat program has grown to include 12 locations, 10 of which are restaurants offering outdoor cafe seating.

The other two are open installations on Northeast Alberta Street, designed for public seating as a collaboration between PBOT and the Center for Architecture in its second annual Street Seat Competition.

PBOT will accept applications for new Street Seats through Jan. 15.

The program is open to all businesses or nonprofit organizations that wish to convert on-street parking into other public uses, such as café seating or a mini-park.

Based on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the program enlivens the streetscape by creating spaces for the public to stop, sit and enjoy the streetscape.

Street Seats also enhance street vitality and benefit neighboring businesses. Each business or hosting organization manage their own maintainance of the Street Seats, plus the cost of the lost parking space revenue.

Moving forward, PBOT staff want to encourage proposals that are open to full public use, and show creativity and excellence in design.

Proposals may be seasonal or year-round, and may be located in any part of the city except the downtown core from West Burnside to Southwest Harrison Street, and Southwest Second to Tenth avenues.

For more information and a map of current Street Seats, visit:

www.PortlandOregon.gov/Transportation/StreetSeats.

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