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Uber makes it easier to leave a car at home for the July 4th weekend downtown

Driving to downtown Portland might be a bit stressful this weekend with the Waterfront Blues Festival and Portland Craft Beer Festival occurring at the same time — and both events are likely to result in more tipsy drivers on the roads.

For those who want to avoid driving to downtown and back, Uber is providing, for the first time here, a standard pickup and drop-off point for its customers, says John Isaacs, Uber’s Oregon public affairs manager.

Folks will get dropped off and picked up 24-7 at the Harbor Way turnaround south of Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The service lasts from Friday through Monday night when fireworks are set off.

Passengers will still need to “hail” a ride using their Uber app, but cars will be available there around the clock, Isaacs says.

“This is literally the eaiest it’s ever been to use Uber as your form of transportation to get downtown,” Isaacs says.

The company, now the largest provider of taxi or taxi-style services in Portland, was named the official “ride-sharing partner” for both the blues and craft beer festivals.

Under city rules, Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies are barred from taking customers via street hails, something reserved for traditional taxi companies. But the dropoff site on Harbor Way may be the closest Uber has come to accepting rides at a designated spot, providing customers arrange the ride via their Uber app.