In just the past two days, many food carts from North Portland to the outer Southeast have had their power cords cut or stolen.
Most of the food cart owners at the Carts on Foster pod arrived Tuesday morning to find their cords were gone. According to a post on The Angry Unicorn's Facebook page: "Carts on Foster got our power cords stolen. We are all dead in the water. I hate the meth."
The same thing happened across town at the Mississippi Marketplace. Today, The Big Egg posted this note on its Facebook page: "They got us again, this time thru the conduit we put over the power cable yesterday. Got 4 other carts here too. Second day in a row. We are CLOSED today."
Cord-cutting is an all-too-common occurrence for food carts. Presumably the cords are cut by thieves looking to strip out the copper wire and sell it for scrap metal. Copper fetches a higher price per pound than most other scrap metals. But the loss of power results in hundreds of dollars of spoiled food, and another day of lost sales. As The Egg Carton wrote on its Facebook page yesterday: "Collectively the cart owners will be out thousands of dollars. Most of the carts will be open tomorrow so please come out to support the carts!"
Update: The number of food carts struck in the past few days has reached nearly 20: six from Mississippi Marketplace and 11 out of 14 at Carts on Foster. Some carts like The Big Egg, which is one of the city's most popular carts, were hit twice. And it wasn't the first time. Owners Gail and Elizabeth told Eater: "We've been in business here for five years and have never had this happen to us until three months ago."
Reeling from three attacks in four months, they've decided to remain closed for a few more days until they can figure out a security plan. "These power cords cost us hundreds of dollars to replace," they wrote on their Facebook page. "When they get cut, it kills power to our refrigerators and we have to throw out all of our food which equals to hundreds more dollars. After getting hit on back-to-back nights, we understand these thieves are not worried about getting caught and they could just keep coming back every night if they wanted. We are currently looking into some different security options." Check their Facebook page for details on when they plan to reopen.