Frustration mounts for Free Street businesses over redesign of Congress Square

CORRIGAN REPORTS, BUSINESS OWNERS SAY THEY ARE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SUPPORT. THE REDEVELOPMENT OF CONGRESS SQUARE STARTED ALL THE WAY IN APRIL AND CLOSED THE STREET FREE FOR MUCH OF THE PUBLIC. BUT THREE MONTHS AFTER ITS REOPENING, THE ONLY THING THAT HAS BUILT IS THE FRUSTRATION OF LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS. 21;44;34;02 I THINK IT’S ACTUALLY AT THE POINT NOW WHERE WE ARE JUST KIND OF LIKE, WELL, IT IS WHAT IT IS. MANDY LACOURSE IS THE OWNER OF MARCY’S DINER ON FREE STREET, AND SAYS HER BUSINESS IS DOWN 30% FROM LAST YEAR, EVEN WITH OUTSIDE SEATING IN 2021. 21;45;16;23 LAST SUMMER . WE ARE SPLIT ALL SUMMER, HUGE, EVEN WITH ONLY OUTDOOR PLACES. AND WE STARTED THIS YEAR, IT’S LIKE, OH, NOT NOT NOT BUSY. CONSTRUCTION WAS DELAYED IN JULY, WHICH PUSHED THE SCHEDULE FOR THE FIRST PHASE OF COMPLETION INDEFINITELY. OTHER CONSTRUCTION DELAYS HAVE AFFECTED INTERNET SERVICES FOR NEARBY RESIDENTS. DOWNTOWN PORTLAND HAS TRIED TO HELP EASE THE PAIN FOR FREE STREET BUSINESSES DURING CONSTRUCTION BY OFFERING GIFT CARDS TO PEOPLE WHO SHOP ON FREE STREET ON FRIDAY AND ENTER IN A DRAFT, BUT THE COURSE SAID THE GIFT IS FAR FROM ENOUGH. 21; 46; 15; 18 HOPE SOMEONE FUN WIN THESE AND COME HAVE BREAKFAST. BUT IS IT ENOUGH? NO, I DON’T THINK I THINK IT’S NOT ENOUGH. THERE IS NOT MUCH THAT CAN ACTUALLY FIX THIS PROBLEM AT THIS POINT OTHER THAN TO WRAP IT UP AND AS CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES, THE FRUSTRATION CONTINUES TO MOUNT ABOUT WHAT THE RACING SAYS IS A LACK OF TRANSPARENCY. 21;47;23;05 THERE IS NO INFORMATION. THERE IS NOT, IT IS THERE. IT’S A MESS. IT’S A MESS. AND I AM TIRED. THE HOPE IS THAT THE PROJECT WILL BE COMPLETED BY WINTER, BUT AT THE MOMENT THE BUSINESSES ON FREE STREET AND CONGRESS PLACE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: THEY ARE TWO I

Frustration mounts for Free Street businesses over redesign of Congress Square

Portland Downtown has offered gift cards to people who shop at affected businesses.

Businesses along Free Street in Portland continue to be frustrated by the continued redesign of Congress Square, which has closed the road to much of the public. Construction suffered numerous delays, pushing back the original completion date for the first phase of the project. mid-June at an unknown date. Mandy Lacourse is the owner of Marcy’s Diner on Free Street, and says her business is down 30% from last year, even with outdoor seating in 2021. what it is,” said Lacourse. “Last summer we skipped the whole summer, even with only outdoor seating. This year it’s just not busy.” post a photo on social media. Lacourse, however, feels that is not enough. “Portland Downtown has been very helpful,” Lacourse said. “And I hope some fun person wins them and can come over for breakfast. But is that enough? No, I don’t think that’s enough. There’s not much that can actually solve this problem at this point, except solve it.”

Businesses along Free Street in Portland continue to be frustrated by the ongoing redesign of Congress Square, which has closed the road to much of the public.

Construction suffered numerous delays, which pushed the original completion date of the first phase of the project from mid-June to an unknown date.

Mandy Lacourse is the owner of Marcy’s Diner on Free Street, and says her business is down 30% from last year, even with outdoor seating in 2021.

“I think it’s actually at the point now where we’re kind of like, this is what it is,” Lacourse said. “Last summer we skipped the whole summer, even with only outdoor seating. This year it’s just not busy.”

The non-profit group Portland Downtown has tried to help affected businesses by raffling off gift cards for those who shop at businesses and post a photo on social media. Lacourse, however, feels that is not enough.

“Portland Downtown has been very helpful,” Lacourse said. “And I hope some fun person wins them and can come over for breakfast. But is that enough? No, I don’t think that’s enough. There’s not much that can actually solve this problem at this point, except solve it.”