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‘Parklet’ program extension proposed for downtown Bend restaurants

Protected outdoor seating on the street 'was what got us through the winter'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- A proposal to make last year's pilot program of downtown Bend restaurant outdoor seating areas a permanent fixture will come before city councilors next week.

The temporary "parklet" program was created last May to help restaurant businesses operate amid state-set limits during the ongoing pandemic.

The proposed extension would allow businesses to keep using nearby sidewalks and parking spots for additional seating.

Melanie Kebler, a new Bend city councilor said Friday, “When you look at the number of participations, you see that there were several businesses that wanted to participate and obviously felt that this was going to be helpful for them in getting through the pandemic.”

Chloe Deckwar, a manager at the 900 Wall restaurant, is one of those participants. She says the parklet program has allowed her to set up about 14 tables along the sidewalk and in the parking spaces near the restaurant.

“It’s very exciting, as this was what got us through the winter, and luckily we had people who wanted to brave the cold,” Deckwar said.

Ben Hemson, the city's business advocate, said he surveyed parklet program participants last month to learn how much of an impact allowing the outdoor seating has had.

“Some of those folks came back and said 75% of their revenue over the course of the pandemic has come from this outdoor dining,” Hemson said.

Deckwar says that although restaurants are being allowed to start serving indoors, it would still be nice to have outdoor seating available, especially considering state limits on both indoor and outdoor dining capacity that are still in place.

“Having the outside tables makes people more comfortable that are not wanting to eat inside," she said. "And with the weather getting nicer, it’s going to be more people just wanting to enjoy the outdoors.”

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / News / Top Stories
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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.



  1. So tax payers now get to pay for restaurant’s space? Or will they be paying more for this expanded space? No thanks, someone will eventually get hit at Deschutes.

    1. Not to mention cutting the parking downtown during the summer busy season. Guess people will be forced to use the parking garage and pay more to the city there…

  2. You guys should run a story on the license plate recognition cameras they’ve quietly installed in the bollards at those 15-min spots to pilot-test a new ticketing system, totally cutting edge and creepy NWO-QANON type thinking

  3. City missed a big opportunity to see Downtown become a true retail hub, and not just a place to eat and drink. By catering (pun intended) to restaurants over retail, they have determined what Downtown will look like in the future.

  4. I assume that restaurants do make more money than most other retail. That doesn’t mean that having a Downtown which is primarily restaurants and bars is a good thing. It becomes a place that locals don’t go to, especially during the day, and also creates a law enforcement issue with lots of drinking at night. Take a look at other small cities that have experienced the same phenomena. If you want a true Downtown, where locals are encouraged to come and shop, and hangout, then you need a balance of businesses. The Council has even said they want a Downtown that is a ‘public square’, but policies like this work against that.

  5. “So tax payers now get to pay for restaurant’s space?”
    It’s not clear to me what this means. As it stands, no one pays to park in the street anyway, so blocking them off with “parklets” wouldn’t affect any kind of revenue stream. I can see the restaurants wanting to keep them for the time being, things are fluid, the current easing of indoor seating restrictions might come back with another surge, and if these “COVID hotboxes” (as I call them) are providing up to 75% of restaurant income (according to one source quoted in the story) then, yeah — of course the restaurants don’t want to lose them.

  6. Great idea, at least until dining restrictions are lifted. Along with it, maybe the city could build more parking garages, and make it free. Consumers have all been hit hard by COVID, so free parking would be a nice thing. The city can decide which portion of their budget gets slashed to pay for all of this.

  7. So taking away Free parking and charging in the parking structure is going to help how? I used to eat downtown but it’s not going to happen this summer it seems.

  8. Seems odd to keep taking up parking spots now that downtown is again busy and full….and you can eat inside now. Also, how about all the spots being taken for take out!?? That was useful when all there was was take out. Now they sit empty as we all drive around looking for spots.

    1. Thanks, good idea. I’m fine with this if the businesses think it will help them. The sidewalks really aren’t wide enough for setting up outdoor cafe seating, as it is in the downtowns in some cities. I’ve never had to walk more than a few blocks, so I don’t get the complaints about parking. The only people not able to do that are eligible for handicap permits; maybe we should increase the number of handicap stalls in the area.

  9. I told my friends that restaurants would push to make these permanent. Look at what Deschutes Brewery built.

    We don’t need diners eating up both sidewalk and parking spaces.

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