PORTLAND, Ore — One of the most popular food cart pods in downtown Portland is shutting down this Sunday.
Last month the owners of the food carts at Southwest 10th and Alder Street were told to vacate by June 30 to make way for a Ritz Carlton luxury hotel. That left many unsure of where they were going next.
"A lot of questions, a lot of concerned customers asking where we're going to and it's also been a lot of frustration because this has been such a staple in Portland being one of the main food truck pods," said Ibolya Mandoki, manager at Grilled Cheese Grill.
Mandoki says her cart has been in the same location for six years. Luckily for her, she knows where she will open up next.
"We're not moving too far away, we're just moving to 3rd and Washington, so we're thankful and lucky that a lot of our customers are just a quick walk away."
The same can't be said for Francisco Castaneda, owner of Tito's Burritos.
"It's really, really hard. Not for me, just for everybody. We're here for a long time and it's really hard to find another spot," he said.
Castaneda says his last day will be Friday and he'll pack up and leave on Saturday.
"Probably sit it by my house for some time 'til I get another spot," he said.
One spot that the city is trying to open up for the food carts is in the Pearl District at the North Park Blocks. It would house at least 37 carts in different formations, but would also cut out parking spots and close streets.
"That part of the North Park Blocks is underutilized and so we're excited to activate that space," said David Dysert, co-chair of the planning and transportation committee of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association. "The North Park Blocks are an asset and they really haven't been programmed yet."
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is pushing to get this deal done, saying in a statement emailed to KGW:
"As Portland continues to grow, surface parking lots will continue to be redeveloped, and more food carts will be displaced like the Alder St. pod. Food carts have become a part of the DNA of Portland, not to mention our tourism industry and local economy. Many of the Alder St. carts are owned by immigrants and people of color, and as we continue to face an affordability crisis, we have to start addressing the displacement of small businesses as well as residents. I am pleased that we were able to come to this temporary solution, and I look forward to continuing to work with Friends of the Green Loop, PBOT, and these hard-working small business owners to sustain our vibrant and diverse food cart culture in Portland."
There are still some details that need to be worked out, such as what it will cost food cart owners to pay for electricity, how much parking revenue will be lost and how permanent these spots will be. Eudaly's office said this could be a trial period for the summer and re-evaluated in the fall. The earliest it could open would be mid-July.
Castaneda says he's open to moving because Tito's Burritos is his only source of income.
"If I'm able to move over there, it'll be very nice for me because it's not too far from here. It's going to be a way to keep my customers. It's going to be nice if they do that spot for us."