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Portland restaurants see uptick in customers during stretch of warm weather

The increase in customers is a hopeful sign for restaurants and businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

PORTLAND, Ore. — This week, Portland has seen the warmest weather of the year so far and it's a welcome sight for struggling restaurant and business owners who depend on big crowds heading into the summer months.

The city saw temperatures in the upper '70s during a three-day stretch of warm weather following a mostly wet and cold spring. 

Alexa Hancock works at Little River Cafe.

"This place is really dependent on the weather. Once it's rainy and cold, we don't get as much business," said Hancock.

Hancock said she has been slammed this week trying to keep up with the customers. 

"It was pretty busy and we had a lot of people getting ice cream and stuff and just trying to get a snack when it's hot outside," said Hancock.

RELATED: Portland's outdoor dining program to continue through August

Daniel Toms and his family took advantage of the dry, sunny weather and dined outside at Little River Cafe.

"It's much better, after two years of the pandemic and then the wet spring that we had," Toms said, referring to the increase in crowds this week.

The increase in crowds hasn’t been just along the waterfront. Restaurants in downtown Portland are seeing an increase in people too.

“People don’t hesitate to come downtown and enjoy Saturday Market. We really have seen an uptick in people coming in,” said Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro and Bar.

Schroeder hopes the crowds are a good sign of what’s to come. 

“We really believe in downtown," said Schroeder.

She hopes the late spring forecast will continue to fill the booths inside her restaurant as well as the outdoor seating.

In March, the city of Portland announced it would extend Healthy Business Permits program through Aug. 31. The program, which allowed more than a thousand struggling restaurants and businesses to expand onto sidewalks and street parking, was set to expire June 30. Many restaurant owners having a tough time staying open during the pandemic have called the permits program a lifeline. Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has said her hope, after Aug. 31, is for the city to establish a new, permanent program.

RELATED: Portland expected to see its busiest summer tourism season in years

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