Make outdoor dining changes permanent for Portland restaurants

Eem, a Thai barbecue and cocktail restaurant in North Portland, is one of many restaurants in the city to add outdoor seating during the pandemic.

Eric Nelson / Courtesy of Eric Nelson

Early in the pandemic, the City of Portland Department of Transportation created programs to provide restaurants with outdoor seating that otherwise would not have been permitted. Some streets were partially blocked off to accommodate outdoor dining spaces, which in many cases was the safest form of food service. Now the department has been instructed to prepare to make these special outdoor seating arrangements permanent. Security, ADA compliance, and private use of public spaces are among the issues that need to be addressed — and funded by the city council. We’re joined by Portland Department of Transportation Chief Chris Warner to learn more about those plans. And two restaurant owners share the role outdoor dining has played in their businesses: Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro and Bar and Carlo Lamagna of Magna.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement