BEND, Ore. - Facing an outcry over a key intersection closure on Bend's Westside, especially from hard-hit businesses along Galveston Avenue, the city relented Friday and said a key thoroughfare will reopen earlier than planned, on Sept. 17.
"In listening to the business community along Galveston Avenue, the city has decided to make a change to the schedule of the project," a news release said.
"Through these changes, the intersection of Galveston Ave. and Riverside Blvd. will re-open on September 17. The Tumalo Avenue portion of the project will remain closed, as will Riverside Blvd south of the Galveston Ave. intersection."
This change will allow for east-west traffic access from downtown Bend to Galveston Avenue, the city said -- a key part of the aggravation felt by area residents and businesses.
Some businesses told city councilors Wednesday night that jobs were on the line, as their customer visits had dropped dramatically since Tuesday's closure, which was slated to last through the month.
City Manager Eric King said he asked for the change after a careful review of the reported impacts to the businesses along Galveston Avenue. The review included city staff, elected officials and affected businesses.
In reaching this decision, King said, "City council and staff recognized that our outreach efforts to the businesses primarily impacted by the project fell short of what was necessary for them to adequately plan."