For First Friday, streets stay open

First Friday returns July 5 to downtown Hood River, but there will be no street closures this year.

In the past few years, the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Council had arranged, with Providence Health System’s help, to pay the $600 monthly permitting and security costs to shut down Oak Street and several side streets to make way for the festivities.

But that won’t happen this year, according to Chamber Executive Director Mike Glover.

Providence decided not to provide the street closure funding this year, and not enough downtown merchants offered to help cover the costs, according to Glover.

“In a way, this takes First Friday back to its roots, putting the emphasis back on guiding people into the businesses, making it more of the art walk it started out as.”

Numerous downtown businesses will stay open late, and many provide music and other amenities.

The Center for the Arts hosts the opening of “The Earth Laughs in Flowers” photo exhibit, in Columbia Art Gallery, starting at 5 p.m.

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