Downtown Port Angeles businesses grin and bear it through construction

PORT ANGELES — Stores stand like islands surrounded by pits and moats.

Temporary footbridges offer wobbly paths into businesses via what one business owner calls “the bridge of peril.”

The sound of a huge mechanized sledge hammer pounding pilings into the fill for a transportation center prompted some employees to wear ear plugs.

Two merchants complained they had days when they did only $14 or $26 in business.

Multiple street closures, detours, sidewalk closures, heavy equipment, dirt and sand and noise have made walking, driving and working in downtown Port Angeles a challenge.

“Yes, it’s impacting our business,” said Rick Mathis, owner of Rick’s Place Restaurant and Lounge at 102 W. Front St.

“And yes, we will persevere, and we will overcome,” he said with a laugh.

“If my restaurant had east-facing windows I could advertise ‘pit side dining.'”

Mimi Smith-Dvorak, who opened Spicer’s Delicatessen & Grocery, 222 N. Lincoln St., in June, said:

“It’s definitely been an horrendous winter.”

“I can’t imagine this is a normal winter. We’ve had $14 days.

“When the city closes the street, it kills us.”

Said Kelly Sandhu of Dairy Queen at 128 E. Railroad Ave.:

“We’re surviving. It’s been better than I thought.

“People aren’t scared to come in and the parking hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.

“Construction workers have been coming in also, so it hasn’t been too bad so far, knock on wood.”

Port Angeles Downtown Association treasurer Evan Brown of Brown’s Outdoor, 112 W. Front St., said:

“People have figured out it’s not a good idea to come downtown.

“A lot of people are just avoiding downtown.

“It takes too long to get through here.”

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