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Some downtown Bend stores worry about festivals’ impacts


One business in downtown Bend has started a petition to move festivals from the downtown streets.

Many of the businesses have varied opinions on the matter. When asked Monday by NewsChannel 21, they each brought up things they feel could be improved to make the festivals better.

The Capitol in Bend has started a petition to relocate festivals from downtown.

The petition states the festivals have become so large, it is actually hurting businesses, and calls for the festivals to be moved from downtown streets.

We did reach out to the owner of The Capitol, but have not heard back.

One store worker said parking is a problem when the streets are shut down, and the tents that line the streets block off the storefronts, so not as many people come in.

The owner of J&J Bar and Grill, Jack Pedro, said while business is good with the increase in people downtown, he said his vendors can’t get to the restaurant to deliver more food during events that close streets, and that is a problem.

“The festivals are great for business. It brings a lot of crowd to the downtown Bend area, and we appreciate those things,” Pedro said. “It does draw a little havoc when you need to bring in supplies for customers, but other than that it’s a good thing.”

Pedro said he would love to be able to work with event organizers to make things run smoother for businesses. He also said he would not be in favor of them being moved from the downtown streets.

Mindy Aisling, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, said the idea behind the festivals is to get more people into the downtown area to experience what it has to offer.

Aisling said she’s conducting a survey to reach out to businesses to figure out how they can improve the festivals. She said it’s important to make sure that everyone involved has their voice heard.

“We were just named the fourth-largest growing city in the nation, right? So thinking ahead 10 years, when we are bigger, will closing down the streets work? Do we need to save money for a heritage square? How does that whole picture work?” Aisling said. “And that’s why we kind of need to look at what the results of the survey are and what business owners are saying right now.”

Aisling said being able to have a conversation with the business owners is important to the future of the downtown area.

She has created a survey for the owners to get a better idea of some of the issues that need to be worked on. She hopes that from there, they will be able to build on the successful aspects of the festivals.

Aisling added that the Fall Festival held last weekend was successful, but they are still waiting to hear back from those who were involved in it.

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