A fight broke out last Saturday on a typically busy night in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. One man was sent to the hospital and another arrested for assault and disorderly conduct. Police and city officials say this type of incident has become less frequent since the creation of an entertainment district in the nightlife hot spot.
The entertainment district started at the tail end of Sam Adams’s term as mayor and has continued on a trial basis under Mayor Charlie Hales. It basically consists of strategic street closures on Friday and Saturday nights when 20-somethings from the suburbs pour into the bars and clubs.
Cops originally favored the street closures to reduce crime and the incidents of drunken pedestrians getting hit by cars. But many business owners and residents in the entertainment district are not happy about the the way things are going. Bar and restaurant owners say the street closure barriers are a turnoff for their customers, making the area look like a crime scene or construction zone.
Despite the pushback, Hales says he wants to continue the pilot project and eventually make the street closures permanent.
Do you party in downtown Portland’s entertainment district? Do you work or live there? How have the street closures affected you?