PORTLAND -- An iconic Portland food truck pod is going away.

Cartopia in Southeast Portland pioneered the food cart phenomenon six years ago. The business owners helped create the image that much of the nation has of Portland.

The Oregonian broke the story Thursday that the space at Southeast 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard currently occupied by Cartopia is being turned into an apartment building -- an apartment building without a garage, to encourage biking and public transportation.

For the people who run these carts, and those who love eating from them, losing Cartopia means a lot more than getting rid of a favorite place to eat.

Some say the move is erasing part of the neighborhood's identity.

"I think it's a real tragedy for Portland to lose these food carts," said Sophia Kecskes, a food cart customer.

Coral Bass said these carts are unique, and that's why she's been a customer.

"How many places can you get really drunk and come and get potatoes at two in the morning. Really, this is like the only place. And that's a shame. That's a shame for Portlanders," she said.

As hilarious as that sounds, Dustin Knox, owner of the Perriera Creperie cart, says it speaks to a greater truth. People like Cartopia because it is inclusive, homegrown, accessible, and high quality. In other words, it's Portland.

"That s a really hard spot for a 16 to 25 year old, who don't have the means to go out to a nice restaurant," said Knox. "But we gave them this. And now it's slowly being taken away."

Knox also said the neighborhood will not become 'bougie' once the food carts are gone.

"It won't turn into the Pearl District. It will not. There are too many kids running around graffiting things.

There was no word yet as to when Cartopia will close, but Knox says he s preparing for this summer to be the last.


KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report

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