Food carts seek to buy more time as development looms

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With less than a month to find a new home, food truck owners in downtown Portland are hoping that a petition will buy them more time. 

Food carts nestled along Southwest Alder Street and Southwest 10th Avenue received notices from City Center Parking on May 30, stating that they must leave the area by the end of June. 

The notices explained that lot #67 located at 950 Southwest Washington Street will close to all food carts and monthly parking. 

Food truck owners met with city leaders on Thursday and handed them a petition asking for a 30-day extension for the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. 

Anna Srichandra of Anna Thai Basil, June 6, 2019. (KOIN) 

Anna Srichandra, who owns Anna Thai Basil, told KOIN 6 News she collected the signatures in just 2 days. 

“If we don’t have any place, they don’t allow us to stay anymore … we will lose our jobs. I don’t want to think about it,” she said. “I pray everyday, every night — just let somebody help us.” 

One of the food cart’s customers — Christopher Ray — said he wants to help collect more signatures and spread the word on social media. 

“I think it is really important to keep these family businesses going,” Ray said. 

Food truck owners said the developer told them they can’t delay construction for financial reasons. 

But that doesn’t mean the owners of the iconic trucks are out of options. 

A number of city partners are working to keep the carts from being forced out of business. 

Customers buy food from a food truck along Southwest Alder Street and Southwest 10th Avenue, June 6, 2019. (KOIN) 

One proposed longterm solution is the so-called “Culinary Corridor” introduced by design developer Randy Gragg last year. The project suggests turning parking spots into food cart locations in the downtown area. 

Gragg and other key city officials, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation, hope to relocate the food trucks right away. 

“It’s going to take a lot of organization from the part of the food court owners because they are really going to have to manage themselves,” Gragg said. 

PBOT, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and the current developer of the site are eyeing private and public land to turn into a temporary home for the trucks — and keep them downtown. City leaders recognize the food truck culture as a symbol of innovation and community pride. 

“In Portland, we try to figure things out and this is over 40 businesses, most of them immigrant-owned,” Gragg said. “They employ about 200 people and we want to keep this in downtown.” 

PBOT is willing to work with Gragg on the Culinary Corridor project at the direction of the mayor’s office; however, the bureau said the proposal needs more research. 

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