Portland food cart law to be enforced 3 years after being introduced

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:37 PM PST
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Beaverton, Ore. (KPTV) - A new statewide rule for mobile food carts has gone into effect this year. Oregon Health Authority is asking food carts to get rid of large water storage cube, a rule that was established back in 2020 and is now enforced three years later.

OHA says wastewater cubes can potentially become a public health issue if wastewater spills over or it’s disposed of incorrectly. Instead, they’re asking food carts to have on-board potable and wastewater tanks on-site or, to be hooked up to the city water and sewage system. That’s what BG Food Cartel owner, Dean Biggi did when he opened in 2018.

“The city kind of warned us this could happen and it’s probably a smart idea to do it ahead of time when we were breaking ground,” says Biggi. “It made it kind of nice for us because we didn’t have to deal with all of a sudden shutting down the place. These guys lose a month’s income, they might lose some of them because they can’t afford that.”

Hooking up to a sewer line, can be pricey; Biggi said it cost him about $250,000 and though it was tough financially, it was worth it.

Tyler Auton, owner of Avenue of St. Charles, has been in Beaverton for over three years. He says he’s relieved the new rule doesn’t affect him but is worried for others.

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“The average price is like probably $30,000 to $40,000 to get the water systems in,” says Auton. “I feel like a lot of cart owners just kind of got slapped in the face with his new regulations they don’t have the money to pay for them.”

Marble Queen food cart in Portland announced they had closed because of the new wastewater laws. Another food cart FOX 12 spoke with says they hope to get connected to a sewer line soon. In the meantime, they bought a tank for almost $400 and it holds a little over 30 gallons. The wastewater goes inside and gets picked up multiple times a month.

Auton says if his food cart was in a location with no city water and sewage hookup, his business wouldn’t survive.

“We do everything from scratch, and I know a lot of other carts do it and I’m using so much that it wouldn’t be feasible,” says Auton.

Biggi says as a landlord, they pay to get the wastewater cleaned three times a year and the food cart owners pay for the water they use just like they would at home.

OHA and Public Health say food carts won’t be closed down immediately if they are actively working on a solution and it’s approved by Local Public Health Authority.