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Main Street construction ends, now businesses must 'activate' downtown

City leaders, business owners vow to put construction behind them and get back to work.


Tigard Maor John L. Cook cuts the ribbon on Main Street, officially ending an 11-month construction project. Now, Cook said, businesses will have to entice shoppers to come back.A few construction workers put finishing touches on Southwest Main Street, as a crowd of city officials and business leaders met on a blustery Thursday morning to officially put an end to a yearlong construction project in downtown Tigard.

On Nov. 13, Tigard Mayor John L. Cook officially declared Main Street open for business, cutting a ribbon of construction caution tape.

“Thank you all for the patience you have showed for the past 11 months,” Cook said. “It has been cold. It has been cold at the cash registers and cold weather, but I want to appreciate everyone who has come down and supported businesses during construction.”

Construction began in January, completely rebuilding much of Main Street south of Commercial Street. Crews installed wider sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossings, added lighting, landscaping and environmentally sustainable elements, including large swales for stormwater runoff.

The $2.54 million project was funded by a grant from Metro, the regional government.

The new Main Street was designed to attract more customers with improvements enhancing walkability and improving circulation.

Whether that will happen has yet to be seen, but Cook said the city will do what it can to entice shoppers back to Main Street. He also called on businesses to step up, as well.

City planner Kim McMillan received a golden rearview mirror from the Tigard Downtown Alliance for her worn on Main Street. 'Now we can put this behind us,' said TDA President Steve DeAngelo“The next thing is for you businesses to activate this sidewalk,” Cook said at Thursday’s ceremony. “It doesn’t mean anything to build a nice wide sidewalk if it just stays that way. The next thing is to activate it and bring the people back down. We are going to help market that. Anything we can do to bring people back.”

That’s good news. Many downtown businesses have seen a significant drop in sales during construction.

Construction projects are always hard on businesses, said Steve DeAngelo, owner of DeAngelo's Catering in downtown and the president of the Tigard Downtown Alliance — a group of downtown stakeholders, including business and property owners.

“Over the last nine or 10 months, we have had a lot of boots on the ground and heard a lot of concerns,” DeAngelo said. “This project, like all other construction projects, come with their challenges.”

At Thursday’s ceremony, DeAngelo presented a special award to city planner Kim McMillan, the engineer in charge of the project: A golden rear-view mirror.

“Now we can put this project behind us,” DeAngelo said. “We appreciate all that she has done to help make peace with the community, as difficult as that is.”

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