PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s “oldest food cart pod” is set to get revamped as a new space featuring an events stage, a bar cart and of course, good food.

The Southwest 5th Avenue food cart pod has long been a Portland staple but has faced a number of challenges including vandalism and even an explosion.

In an effort to revitalize the area, local business owner Expensify is working to improve the area by adding security, seating, heating, new asphalt, an events and music stage and a “large bar cart.”

The new location is going to be called “Midtown Beer Garden” and renovations are set to begin on Thursday.

“The Expensify global headquarters are right next door to the food truck pod on 5th and Harvey Milk, and we go there every day,” said Expensify founder and CEO David Barrett. “It wasn’t doing great before COVID, and the quarantine sure didn’t help. Then, on top of everything, a cart blew up in the middle of the night, wiping out many of the few carts remaining, and knocking out windows for a block around. It’s had a long string of bad luck, and we’re going to work with the rest of Midtown to turn that around.”

The project is being done in collaboration with ChefStable, an owner and partner with several Portland restaurants including Lardo, Ox, Oven and Shaker and St. Jack.

Local food cart owners also shared that they were excited about the upcoming renovation.

Christian Lee, owner of Korean Twist which has been at the 5th Avenue pod since 2008, shared that many of the cart owners have felt unsure about their future, and these renovations are giving them hope.

“We’re grateful Expensify is committed to creating a brighter future for the food carts on 5th Ave.,” said Lee. “Many cart owners here have felt uncertain about what the future holds and we’re excited about the improvements that will be made for enhanced security with a built-in fence and giving customers a place to sit to enjoy their lunch.”

There is no word on when the project will be complete, but Barrett shared that he hopes that the new location will become a “mark of pride for the city.”

“It’s going to take a lot of sustained, creative effort from all of us to transform the community from its current status into a real mark of pride for the city,” said Barrett. “But we’re here for the long haul, and I can’t wait to relax with a beer in the sun at the new heart of a vibrant Midtown.”