PORTLAND — A battle is brewing in Portland between restaurants putting tables on the sidewalks to satisfy customer demand for alfresco dining and those who say the sidewalks are being impeded.

Sight-impaired pedestrians, wheelchair users, stroller-pushing parents and other walkers have lodged official complaints about restaurants overextending into the sidewalk space in violation of their permits and city ordinances.

Bud Buzzell, a 72-year-old sight-impaired resident, said the narrowed sidewalks near his home are becoming an increasingly frustrating and dangerous maze.

Restaurant owners say outdoor dining is popular and helps drive up business. Officials with a downtown business group say they are attempting to strike a proper balance.

City Manager Mark Rees said during a recent city council meeting that the city takes the matter very seriously.


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