By Justin Aufdermauer
It’s almost hard to believe that it’s October, because things have not slowed down in the slightest it seems. A few weeks ago you read about our #constructdowntown sweepstakes that runs until Dec. 29, and this week I thought we should bring you a quick brief of the downtown construction project.
Main Street is, of course, still in the depths of construction – literally. The vaults along the corner of Main and Third are garnering the most attention because of their massive impact, and the workload has been delayed slightly by the recent bouts of rain we’ve been experiencing. Over the course of just a few weeks we saw the sidewalks demolished and the footings and walls formed and poured in front of Sunflower Flats, which set the stage for the concrete fill. The next two vaults are located just north of that large one – in front of Everything Pets and Tangled Yarns, where the entire process has to be repeated on a smaller scale.
Then, of course, comes the sidewalk building! While requiring extra effort from customers, business access to Sunflower Flats, Annie’s Country Sportswear, Everything Pets, Tangled Yarns, and the now open Pacific Restaurant will be maintained, despite all the construction.
I would like to pause here to highlight that in the midst of all this construction, Pacific Restaurant officially opened their doors and has been at capacity every day for lunch. In a time that could be catastrophic for a business owner, with the end of the tourism season, the return of the rains, and the bustling of construction, Pacific Restaurant is proof that people will walk a block or two to get to something they want to. Even though there is no parking directly outside of their restaurant, people are happily parking on Pacific and cross the Plaza, or over on Ivy and crossing Main.
In just over a week, PUD will be shutting off the street lights in the construction area along Main while they transition to the new light poles. This means that during the evening as we lose daylight, the storefronts along Main will be the only things lighting the way. If you are walking downtown during this time, take extra precautions to watch your step.
Over on Pacific in the northwest corner of the Pioneer Museum, we are starting to see the formation of what will be a unique outdoor area. With the traffic from Hwy 6 now veering off to the north by the Post Office, it has created a nice-sized footprint of creative space. The Pioneer Museum will be inheriting this area, and it’s exciting to think of the ways they will use it. The decorative concrete will be poured soon to enhance the look and feel of the new outdoor gathering spot.
Meanwhile over on the bridge, the shuttle service is still being implemented to get people across. Northbound pedestrians can catch the shuttle at the Post Office, and southbound travelers can hop on just north of Rosenberg Builders Supply. The shuttle will be available from approximately 7:30 a.m. until approximately 6:30 p.m. You are greatly encouraged to use it. If you need to get across during the off-hours, Dial-A-Ride is a back up. While we all understand that circumstances arise sometimes on a short notice, please do your best to plan ahead – for your own safety. Pedestrian access will likely reopen by the end of the month, so just hold tight a little longer and take advantage of the shuttle options.
Speaking of the bridge, the City and the Tillamook Urban Revitalization Association are partnering to try and salvage the railings on the remaining old bridge and relocate them to Sue H. Elmore Park, where they could be integrated as a decorative piece. It’s anyone’s guess at this point as to how much of the original railing will be recoverable, but the City is hopeful that it will be a nice historical addition to the park.
We continue to offer a weekly highway project update by email, and if you would like to sign up or learn more about it, please visit tillamookchamber.org/highwayproject or contact the Chamber office at (503) 842-7525.