PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The largest and oldest food cart pod in Portland has found a new home after being forced to move to make way for a new hotel.
At the end of May, food cart business owners at Southwest Alder and 10th received a letter from the city saying they need to be off the property at the end of the day, June 30. A new Ritz-Carlton hotel will replace the food carts.
The pod of nearly 40 food carts will now head to the North Park Blocks in the Pearl District. By mid-July the majority of the carts will have moved to the new location, where they will stay until at least October.
"I think [the new location] will be great. It will be a great place. It will make the place lively," said Danny Chan with Sumo Sushi.
While temporary, it's a relief to food cart owners like Chan who risked losing his business entirely.
"This is my life. This is what helps me provide for my family. I have a baby on the way," Chan said.
There are bigger plans, though, for these and other food carts in the city.
A group called Friends of Green Loop is planning a "Culinary Corridor," which has been proposed for Southwest 9th Avenue between Director Park and O'Bryant Park.
The plan would require a portion of the area to be set aside for pedestrians and pedestrian-oriented activities like food carts.
It's also a long-term plan to deal with the shrinking number of parking lots in the city.
"This is an important destination for tourists, and this has become part of our culture right, Portland culture. But more importantly, this is a good entry-level business for people to step in and try out their hand in the restaurant business," said Keith Jones, co-director of Friends of Green Loop.
In fact, for some lower income Oregonians starting a food cart business has been a way to survive and thrive in the state's uneven economy; the carts employ about 200 to 300 people.
Friends of Green Loop has started a GoFundMe account to raise $300,000 to tow the food carts to the North Park Blocks and provide electricity, as well as to support the long-term solution.
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