Portland ditching parking for restaurant seating

Portland ditching parking for restaurant seating


by Erica Heartquist, KGW Staff


Posted on April 8, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 8 at 9:17 AM

PORTLAND -- Most people were using every excuse to get outside in Portland's warm, sunny weather Monday.

Some businesses even opened up their street-seating.

The concept began as a pilot program two years ago and it's taking off, according to City of Portland officials.

"Really people want to be outside and all the outdoor establishments know that to have a little bit of outdoor space is critical," said Philip Stanton, owner of Mississippi Pizza, along Mississippi Avenue in North Portland.

All day Monday, people were sitting in the street. Literally.

They're called "street-seats," instead of parking spaces, owners apply for a permit with the city to build a seating area in front of their restaurant.

Rob Dilworth lives in Damascus and was grabbing some pizza with friends Monday. They all really liked the seating arrangements.

"The atmosphere, just being with friends and having a good time and just enjoying it," said Dilworth.

There are nine restaurants with street seats in Portland.

Mississippi Pizza was one of the first.

"It was something that I'd always thought about. Going to Europe, this is sort of the way the streets are in Europe, where the cafes spill out into the streets," said Stanton.

Stanton built what some are calling a "park-let" two years ago.

"A way to have a community space that we wouldn't normally have here. We'd just have ten feet of sidewalk," he added.

Stanton has applied to renew his application with the city to keep the street seats.

"We wanted to see if losing parking spaces was counterbalanced by the fact that we've created something really cool and neat. Would people still be willing to walk to our establishment? And for us it was a great win," said Stanton.

Eleven more establishments in Portland applied to put in street seats by the April 1, 2014 deadline.

Brix Tavern is one of them.

Jerred Kaufman, Brix assistant manager, said the more outdoor seating they can offer, the better. He said they want four additional tables right in front of the restaurant.

"We're a slamming restaurant and we get a lot of business. We need some more room to accommodate all the people that come in here," Kaufman said.

Street seat applicants are required to submit a detailed proposal to be considered, and the community must be on board, said Diane Dulken with the City of Portland.

"We only approve the ones that are supported by the community, so businesses apply and the community weighs in and says, 'We want this,'" Dulken said.

The city is taking public comment on the applications through April 30.

2014 Applications received:

  • Bamboo Izakaya, 1409 NE Alberta St
  • Bonfire Lounge, 2821 SE Stark St
  • Brix Tavern, 1338 NW Hoyt St
  • Dick's Kitchen Belmont, 3312 SE Belmont St
  • Lampoc Brewing, 1620 NW 23rd Ave
  • McMenamins - Barley Mill, 1629 SE Hawthorne Blvd
  • McMenamins - Greater Trump, 1520 SE 37th Ave
  • Ristorante Roma, 622 SW 12th Ave
  • SoMa Ecodistrict, SW 4th Ave, between College and Hall
  • Torta-Landia, 4144 SE 60th Ave
  • Portland Design Week Design Competition, locations to be determined. Additional public outreach will be included as part of competition and design development.

2014 Application Renewals:

  • The Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne
  • Bartini/Urban Fondue, 2108-2118 NW Glisan
  • Center for Architecture, Design Competition, 403 NW 11th Ave
  • Enzo's Caffe Italiano, 2529 NE Alberta St
  • Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi Ave
  • Oven & Shaker, 1134 NW Everett St
  • The Portland Bottle Shop, 7960 SE 13th Ave
  • Songbird Café, 6839 SE Belmont St

(Source: City of Portland)