Could Downtown Portland Food Carts Be A Thing Of The Past

Dated: February 9 2016

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A massive new development deal planned for downtown Portland is expected to reshape the city's skyline.

On the street level, an equally momentous change could take place: the end of downtown Portland's food carts as we know them.

As first reported by The Oregonian, the Goodman family hopes to build as many as 11 new buildings, a grocery store and $1.5 billion in investment in between local landmarks like Voodoo Doughnut and the Portland Saturday Market.

The recently unveiled proposal, called the "Ankeny Blocks," would rise on a handful of City Center Parking lots that nearly 70 food carts currently call home -- the pods at Southwest Fifth Avenue and Stark Street, Southwest Third and Washington and Southwest Second and Stark. If the development goes through, it would wipe half of downtown's food cart scene off the map.

The lot at Southwest Fifth and Stark was Portland's first pod, a model for gathering a number of food carts in one place that has been replicated in cities across the country.

No plans or blueprints are in motion for the large-scale project yet, though the Goodmans say they are eager to get started. The family is in conversations with potential tenants but declined to reveal names.

Food Carts Portland, a local cart blog, took the announcement as a sign that downtown Portland's food carts could soon be a thing of the past, calling on cart owners to "get in front of City Council" and lobby for the city to amend the "no business in the right of way" law enforced by Portland Bureau of Transportation. The law precludes trucks from moving about the city, temporarily parking and serving for a set amount of time, like carts in Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle. 

In a Medium article, meanwhile, Green Lane Project staff writer Michael Andersen called the announcement "a big classified ad dressed up as a news story," noting that the project would cost $1.5 billion that has yet to be acquired.

There's no word yet on when these plans will eventually come to fruition, but as the city has already seen, food cart pods are often used as placeholders for future development. Over the past year, a number of cart pods, including Good Food Here, D-Street Noshery and North Station have shuttered due to impending construction plans. 

More to come. 


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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

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