Portland -- The city of Portland is a step closer to extending a pilot program that created a car-free zone in Old Town.

The program started last December as a way to help police keep people safe in what's become known as Portland's entertainment district.

No cars are allowed to park in a six-block area of Old Town Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Cars left on the street will be towed.

Mayor Charlie Hales proposed the one-year extension to the program that was discussed today.

Crime has dropped nearly 30 percent since the program started. The extension has the support of the Portland Police Bureau.

From our perspective on public safety we feel like the area is safer now than it was before and that's what matters to us. said Sgt. Pete Simpson.

I'd prefer it to go back to the way it was especially because Third Avenue is such a major thoroughfare. I think it impacts my business. said Hobo's co-owner Andrew Guthrie outside his restaurant.

Council will likely vote on the one year extension at next week's council meeting.

Background: Hales extends weekend street closure in Old Town

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