PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An iconic part of downtown Portland is no more.
The large and well-known food cart pod consisting of nearly 40 carts on Southwest Alder Street cleared out Sunday.
The nearly 40 carts that once lined a lot between SW 10th Ave and SW Alder Street were evicted to make way for construction to begin on a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Among them was Altengartz — the first food cart on SW Alder Street. Owner Jameson George has been around so long, he’s earned the nickname “The Podfather.”
“It’s almost surreal,” George said. “It’s been a great journey, I feel very grateful for having 19-plus years on this corner.”
Some of the carts moved to a temporary home in the parking lot of the downtown Post Office, where they will be stored until a new location is found. Others told KOIN 6 they have found new locations throughout the city.
Some cart owners struggled to move their units out of the lot — many hadn’t moved in more than a decade.
City Center Parking tried to shut George down early by cutting the power at 5 p.m. but he soldiered on with a generator.
“I’m going to keep the party going,” he said. Just wanted to bring this chapter and era to an end appropriately — being the first cart on the block, I think it’s only appropriate to be the last cart serving on the block.”
Loyal customers were sad to see the carts go.
“We’re a hotbed for you know, unique food or good food quality — this is a part of that,” Austin Gipson said. “This represents a part of that, you know, so I don’t know what that’s saying to everybody to just kind of push these guys all out and displace them.”
“It definitely feels like a loss right now, I hope they are able to create the feel somewhere else, but it’s definitely going to feel like something is missing when we walk around down here,” Erik Benedetti said.
Evan Siegfried was a longtime customer at Altengartz.
“When I first came to this town, this is one of the first places I came to eat,” he said. “What are we going to get? A hotel? Who cares? Who cares about a hotel, another condominium, we already have a few of those don’t we?”
City commissioner Chloe Eudaly has tried to spearhead an effort to move around 37 carts a few blocks north to the park blocks between West Burnside and NW David in the Pearl District. The proposal isn’t a done deal but city leaders have been trying to get it on a fast track with the Pearl District Neighborhood Association.
A GoFundMe for the carts is aiming to raise $300,000 to move the pod to the North Park Blocks. As of Sunday, $12,400 had been raised.