Monday, August 19, will mark one month since Mayor Charlie Hales had city staff warn campers along the sidewalks outside Portland City Hall—as well as the keepers of a religious vigil inside the plaza—that their days of protesting and sleeping directly outside the building were numbered.
That also may the day, coincidentally, that tables and chairs start going up in the plaza, the first step in Hales' plan to make the space into a different sort of public gathering spot including food carts and other entertainment. His spokesman, Dana Haynes, confirmed tonight that furniture was on its way and could be in place as early as Monday. Earlier the Oregonian, via Twitter, reported at least one food cart was headed to the plaza: Fuego.
Talk of ordering furniture for the plaza and chairs was in full swing well before the mayor's office swept out the protest camp and then doubled down with a broader crackdown on sidewalk and camping rules, the Mercury has learned. Haynes first confirmed discussion about food carts after a press conference Monday, July 22. Talk of finding musicians for the plaza apparently began weeks before that.
Policy adviser Josh Alpert told facilities staffers the day after the press conference, the day sidewalks were power-washed, to not only keep proceeding with the furniture, but also to push ahead with bringing in food carts.
Who will get to use those chairs and for how long? And how much will they cost? Haynes is checking.
Staffers in the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, however, are trying to include healthy options.