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Mayor wants to keep cars out of rowdy Old Town area another year

Mayor Charlie Hales wants to extend the street-closure program in Old Town/Chinatown’s rowdy entertainment district for another year.

The program was designed by the Portland Police Bureau in December 2012 to create a pedestrian-only area during a part of Old Town/Chinatown that has a high concentration of night clubs, which has been a public safety challenge during weekend late nights.

The affected area is between Burnside and Everett streets and Second and Fourth avenues. Streets in that sector are closed to traffic between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

During a three-month test of street closures, Portland police noted a 30 percent reduction in crime in the area. The pilot program subsequently was extended for six months and then another year, expiring at the end of this month.

Business owners in the area have complained about negative impacts from the street closures. The Old Town/Chinatown Community Association and a Street Closure Advisory Committee both recommend ending the street-closure program end.

The mayor’s office committed to work closely with them in the coming year on alternative ideas.

The Portland City Council will consider Hales’ proposal on Wednesday, in a meeting that begins at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

Steve Law can reached at 503-546-5139 or stevelaw@portlandtribune.com.

Twitter: @SteveLawTrib

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