Displaced food cart downtown finally opens new location on Saturday

A downtown food cart pod displaced two years ago by the construction of a Ritz-Carlton hotel finally opens this Saturday in a new city-funded location.

In December, WW examined the bureaucracy delaying the launch of a replacement trolley pod on Southwest Ankeny Street. The group that attempted to move the module, Friends of Green Loop, struggled to obtain the necessary permits from city offices and agencies to restore business.

This spring, Mayor Ted Wheeler funded the capsule with $269,000 from the city budget, an item Wheeler and Commissioner Mingus Mapps named their favorite use of city dollars this year.

But many of the original location’s food carts have been in storage for two years, and not all businesses have survived the long wait.

The new module, simply called “The Cart Blocks”, is adjacent to the North Park Blocks. Carts line Southwest Ankeny Street and 8th (aligned laterally) and Park Avenues.

Returning carts include Tito’s Burritos, Shanghai’s Best, Anna Thai Basil, Baghdad Iraqi Grill, and Emame’s Ethiopian.

The pod’s opening comes at a time when city officials are eager to entice citizens back downtown as some of Portland’s offices, commercial spaces and stores reopen to full capacity. The capsule opening is part of Portland’s “Here for Portland” campaign. A slate of reopening events kicks off Saturday and includes singing with Pink Martini, dance and fashion shows and lots of food. (Events begin at 1:30 p.m.)

Keith Jones, director of Friends of Green Loop, said WW in May, “[Cart owners] are very happy to hear that it is moving forward, but none of us are going to jump for joy until there are actually carts on the scene.

Last Friday, Jones watched as all the carts headed to their new locations.

Eleven of them, he said, had been parked for more than two years at the downtown U.S. Post Office site. Twenty-one of the original 55 food carts are back.

On Thursday afternoon, Jones strolled through the park as cart owners moved in. He says it’s the first time in two years he’s seen the square not lined with fences.

Although it’s not as big a space as he wanted – he says he had to scale down his original vision a bit – he says he’s “pleased to see the cart owners so happy” and adds that they are really proud of this space.

Earlier this year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation denied Jones’ request to use 8th Avenue for carts because fire trucks couldn’t pass, but Jones managed to make an 8-foot-wide encroachment on PBOT to allow multiple carts to queue. the side street.

Just this morning, he said, the city tore down the fences surrounding the park and cleaned up the graffiti.

“It’s pretty amazing to see the park,” Jones said. “It’s transformed.”