North Bend road work halts until after holidays

NORTH BEND, Ore. -- Some time next year, downtown North Bend will have brand new sidewalks, traffic signals and street lights, but construction has been delayed until January.

Over the summer, the city of North Bend installed new sidewalks throughout downtown and the construction was devastating to many shops.

The Crossroads Community Cafe even had to close its doors.

For a separate project, the Oregon Department of Transportation planned to reconstruct downtown corners starting in November.

However, after hearing shop owners' concerns, they've decided to hold off until after the holidays.

ODOT spokesman, Dan Latham, says, "Dealing with construction, it's always a headache. What we're trying to do is make it a one aspirin headache and not a four aspirin headache."

Shop owners say that with the loss of some summer business, the holidays are critical.

Ronald Kaneen owns The Crystal Dolphin Art Gallery on Sherman Ave. He says he would lose 75 percent of his business if construction continued through November and December.

"I'm happy that they're going to have a downtown that looks pretty with trees and lights and hanging baskets, but I think they've gone about it in such a way that it costs the businesses a lot of money," Kaneen said.

Shopkeepers are relieved the construction won't start until after the holidays, but now there's another problem.

The corner sidewalks are ripped up from the city's project during the summer.

Kaneen is worried that's enough to keep customers from coming into his gallery, so he wants the city to fill the cracks with asphalt as soon as possible.

"Some old person is gonna come and trip and break their hip or break their neck. It's a dangerous situation, it should be done immediately," Kaneen said.