Arch Bridge impacts Oregon City businesses

Arch Bridge impacts Oregon City businesses


by KGW Staff

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Posted on July 12, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 13 at 11:07 AM

Oregon City, Ore. -- Construction interruption is never good around open businesses. That's the case for shops along Main Street in Oregon City.

The Arch Bridge restoration project is six months along and has another year and a half to go.

For some business owners, it feels like a toll bridge - that's costing them.

Muno's Bakery on Main St. has been serving up sweets since 1938. Jennifer Tomlinson bought the business last November. She knew the bridge was going to close for repairs, but she had no idea it would cost her so much.

"We lost about half of our clientele," said Tomlinson.

Tomlinson and most other shop owners in the downtown area had counted on the 14,000 cars that crossed the bridge daily and spilled on to Main St. But, after 88 years the Arch Bridge was desperately in need of repair. Now, it's getting a $10.6 million face lift, that will take up to two years.

So far, the impact has been mixed depending on the type of business. For the most part, restaurants are doing fine.

At Mi Famiglia Pizza restaurant at 7th and Main, business has actually improved since the bridge closing, according to owner, Patty Eddy.  And a few blocks away in Christmas at the Zoo, owner Connie Nicoud is doing fine after just six weeks in her new location.

"I have more people walking in this store then i did on Northwest 23rd," said Nicoud.

But other store owners were not so optimistic.

The Happy Lounge has seen business drop off, not only because of the bridge, but the closure of the Blue Heron paper mill. Other businesses have closed or moved. For rent and lease signs dot the street. Some shop owners question parking changes, now down to 30 minutes only.

"They've had some problems," noted Lloyd Purdy, manager of Historic Main Street. He added that while the bridge is down, the city will start on a $2.5 million overhaul of downtown.

"New curbing, new lighting, two-way main streets, " said Purdy. "It helps balance out traffic flows in both directions."

Perhaps the biggest impact is to Hopp's Custom Upholstery shop. After 86 years, the family is closing the Main Street location.

To help bring more people downtown, a Farmer's Market is held each Wednesday afternoon. Also, the First City Celebration will take place July 30th.