A parklet - on-street parking space converted into outdoor dining for a restaurant - is seen in Montreal. The city of Portland will begin allowing parklets for some qualifying restaurants soon. Credit: Photo courtesy of city of Portland

The city of Portland announced Monday morning it will allow qualifying restaurants to use parking spaces as outdoor seating for guests.

The city will allow only five of the so-called parklets as part of a pilot program, and a restaurant that gets a permit to set up tables and chairs in an on-street parking spot will have to pay the city $5,520 to do so.

That’s the amount the city would have made from parking fees in the spot had it now been occupied by diners, according to a city announcement.

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City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau first proposed the idea of allowing parklets for outdoor dining in Portland, according to the announcement, and his Economic Development Committee has worked with city staff to research the concept.

“This is the culmination of three years of hard work and will allow local businesses to expand their reach outdoors,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “Vibrant cities across the country have realized the continued gains of providing outdoor space in an urban setting. I am excited to see this use expanded to Portland.”

The larger City Council approved a code amendment last month allowing the parklets.

[Parking spaces become mini parks in Portland]

Restaurants seeking to apply must not have enough space for outdoor seating on the sidewalk or an abutting park, and any parklet approved by the city will be required to be built up with a platform, as well as “curb stops and other tools to ensure that patrons are removed from traffic nearby.”

Portland Planning Director Jeff Levine said there are no requirements related to the number of tables a restaurant can place in a parklet, but that a single parking space is estimated to be enough room for two tables.

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Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.