PORTLAND, Ore. — After more than two years, the City of Portland's downtown buildings have reopened to the public. Buildings such as City Hall and The Portland Building will now be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many city services will still be available online, but people also have the option to get things done in person.
Stephanie Saldari works with the Portland Bureau of Transportation and had the chance to have an in-person meeting with a coworker for the first time.
"I get to see everyone and talk to them on the way to getting coffee," Saldari said. "I get to pass by people's desks to catch up and go back to my desk, but it's also nice when you're in the building alone because you have the entire office to yourself."
Masks are optional inside the buildings, but they are still encouraged. All visitors are expected to check in at the front desk. The city said it will continue to monitor COVID-19 numbers and adapt to prioritize the health of the community and city employees.
Over at the E-San Thai food cart in downtown Portland, food workers like Alida are happy to see the buildings opening back up. It should mean that more customers come by.
"I can already kind of tell more and more people are coming downtown," Alida said. "Maybe even a month ago it seemed like Portland was a little bit of a ghost town, but it's starting to get more lively now."
Although City Hall is open to the public, different offices and bureaus will still decide how many days per week they will be open to the public during this new phase — meaning that a number of city workers may still be at home much of the time.