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Wheeler boosts downtown business week after protests

Multnomah County

Wheeler spoke passionately about "taking back our city"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After the demonstrations in Portland on August 17, Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to give a boost to the impacted businesses.

Wheeler spoke Wednesday about his disappointment when he went downtown Sunday after the largely peaceful protests and learned many shops and restaurants had closed, hotel rooms were unbooked and shoppers weren’t out.

“We lost the ability to be in our city, in our home,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler is joining forces with the City of Portland, Travel Portland and the Portland Business Alliance to incentivize everyone to show these downtown businesses some extra love on Saturday, August 24.

“We’re here today to help take back our city and to help erase the memory of the fear that affected not just stores and restaurants and other businesses, but also which impacted community organizations, social gatherings and other events across the community,” Wheeler said.

As part of the “Shop. Eat. Play.” campaign, rides on the Portland Streetcar and Biketown will be free all day and there will be promo codes for rideshare, e-scooters and taxis.

Parking will also be free downtown, on the east side and at Smart Park garage. Despite that, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly encouraged people to chose an alternative to driving.

The Wiz Bang Bar made the difficult decision to close Saturday out of fear and will be among the many downtown businesses offering perks to shoppers on Saturday.

“I think we closed before when there was a major snowstorm, but besides that, in 8 years of business, Salt and Straw has never closed,” Kim Malek said.

Andrew Hoan with the Portland Business Alliance said a survey estimates there was upwards of $3 million of foregone revenue and added expenses for businesses on the 17th.

He joked that “nothing says civic duty better than eating ice cream.”

“Whenever a situation like the one last Saturday happens, it has a negative effect on our local business community, their employees, and their families,” Wheeler said in a press release. “This is the busiest time of year, and businesses large and small have been significantly affected so let’s show them some extra love on Saturday, Aug. 24th!”

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