PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The original owner of Carts on Foster revealed he was just as surprised as everyone else to hear about the Southeast Portland food cart pod’s closure.

Former owner Steve Woolard told KOIN 6 News one food vendor called him in late July to share that the new pod owner and his team started to disassemble the lot “in the middle of the night” before notifying business owners that they had just three weeks left to find a new home.

Carts on Foster’s current owner has not yet responded to KOIN 6’s inquiries about the business closures.

Woolard opened the Southeast Portland food cart pod in 2010, and told KOIN 6 it was the first pod to serve beer after he finally received permission from state and city officials.

Now, beer is the mainstay of many Portland-area pods including Prost! Marketplace and the newly-opened Midtown Beer Garden. But the original beer-slinging pod has gone.

“It’s just bittersweet to take something that you envisioned and you thought the neighborhood could really enjoy — and they did, for quite a few years — but then the new owners just didn’t seem to care as much about keeping the place up,” Woolard said.

He passed the food cart pod onto new owners in 2021 when he was 65 years old, because his wife had retired and he “wanted to enjoy the rest” of his life.

The former owner said Carts on Foster had developed a family atmosphere in his time there, with many businesses celebrating birthdays and anniversaries together.

Since the pod’s shutdown this month, a number of carts have announced their moves to other locations. This includes LoRell’s Chicken Shack, Bari Food Cart and Year of the Fish.

According to Woolard, the current owner has been spending more time opening up a food cart lot in Woodstock. In early May, The Bee reported that the owner of recently-launched The Heist pod — on Woodstock Boulevard — owned the food cart pod on Southeast Foster Road as well.

Additionally, Woolard mentioned crime in the area surrounding Carts on Foster. Although he believes the pod’s current owner could have reached out to the Foster Area Business Association for support grants, he said the community also could’ve used a better police presence.

“It would have been nice to have our leaders for the City of Portland do a little more work than they’ve done because the city has definitely fallen on harder times,” he told KOIN 6.