Readers respond to complaints in a Hawthorne Boulevard food cart

The last weeks WW cover story investigated complaints from multiple food cart owners renting space in a southeast Portland parking lot, or “pod,” dubbed Hawthorne Asylum. These cart owners alleged unsanitary conditions, such as overflowing dumpsters and “dirty” portable toilets. Multnomah County officials say such conditions would not be unusual; instead, they are the frequent result of a lax regulatory system for pod owners. Here’s what our readers had to say:

comrade says, via Reddit: “My experience with this place is similar. I like the place, but I tried to use the toilets at Asylum two weeks ago and they were so dirty that I held it.

Christopher Hedgecock, via Facebook: “I’ve been to the asylum several times over the past two months. I found it super clean and tidy. Lots of people take advantage of the open homes.

Mary Sue Healy, via wweek.com: “We’ve had food carts and pods in Portland for decades with little to no issues, including foodborne illness outbreaks and complaints. It just sounds like asylum lot owners are bad food cart lot owners. You don’t hear about these issues on the big lot up the street on Hawthorne, the one on North Mississippi, Cartopia on 82nd, Killingsworth Station, etc.

“Although we agreed that the county and city should do more to inspect and regulate cart lots.”

Sollipsister, via wweek.com: “Me. The food carts and the pods they’re in…I always bring hand sanitizer and make other plans to relieve myself. This isn’t a ‘sit down for a bite’ experience. big meal.’ I liken it to those depictions of chaotic medieval or Renaissance European street life with beggars, merchants, stray dogs and rats, half-naked orphans alongside carts of vegetables and fish and, probably, poo.

Jim Ruby, via Facebook: “With city regulations, we should be able to get a hot dog for $12.”

greazysteak, via Reddit: “Am I the only one who has a problem with it being called a famous cart pod and it’s only been three years and there’s no more signature cart there- down?”

vote4boat, via Reddit: “Food carts are like growlers. It was always cool because it was cheaper. People paying $13 to eat with plastic forks should probably reconsider the whole paradigm.

Christine, on wweek.com: “Over $2,000 for a parking space?” What would be the rent for one of the enclosed food court areas at Lloyd Mall with full utilities and indoor seating? Maybe some of the cart owners should regroup and head back inside.

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