The city of Bend bungled the closure of the Galveston Bridge. The city didn’t do enough to let businesses know it was coming.
As you may have noticed by now, the city is working on what should be an improvement of the intersection at Riverside Boulevard and Tumalo Avenue near the south end of Drake Park.
The city did not hide what it was going to do. It had meetings with residents. The changes were discussed in council meetings. The city has a website with information about road construction. The city also says it sent out notices to homes in the area about the project.
But what the city did not do is make any special effort to notify businesses along Galveston that a key access to their business corridor would be lost for about two months.
They are getting strangled.
Garrett Wales, a partner at 10 Barrel Brewing Co., told Bend City Councilors on Wednesday night that business was so slow on Wednesday that he sent a dozen employees home. He is worried he may have to lay people off. Brian Tremain, the owner of Primal Cuts meat market, said business was way down compared to the same time last year.
City staff admitted they made a mistake by not giving businesses a better chance to prepare.
“I think we had a swing and a miss,” said Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore. “We didn’t do a great job of reaching out.”
The question is what will the city do now to reduce the damage.
There was discussion Wednesday about re-opening one lane of the Galveston Bridge. That is likely not possible under the existing construction contract.
Better signs about the detours might help. And the signs could also help the other problem created by the closure — increased traffic on nearby residential streets.
Councilor Jodie Barram also made a good suggestion for the city to specifically note on its detour signs that businesses on Galveston remain open.
There’s something you can do, too.
Don’t let the construction stop you from shopping along Galveston. Those businesses could use your support.