Portland Mercado was robbed and vandalized early Monday morning, as first reported by KGW. Located at 7238 SE Foster Rd., the complex of Latino-owned businesses includes nine food carts, several brick-and-mortar retail shops, a cafe, and a bar, and speaking with Eater, Fernando Rodriguez, owner of the Fernando’s Alegria food cart, said eight carts were affected, with the vandals successfully breaking into six.
“People are upset because this is their neighborhood,” says Rodriguez. “I guarantee you the people who did this aren’t from here.”
Rodriguez estimates the carts have lost close to $25,000, and the Mercado has launched a crowd sourcing campaign to help it rebound. The vandals got inside the food carts by prying open the doors, and it appears they were harmed in the process, with traces of blood at the scene. Police are currently investigating the break-in. The Portland Mercado also has video cameras that likely captured the act.
Opening in 2014, the Portland Mercado promotes a family-friendly, community-driven atmosphere, and Rodriguez says he’s afraid the break-in could destroy all the businesses have been working toward.
“If people think the area is dangerous, they won’t come,” says Rodriguez. He says the biggest setback for the small business owners operating at the Mercado is the loss of sales from being closed. For now, this includes hiring a security guard, rebuilding, and reopening as soon as possible. “We hope to have all of the food carts back open by Thursday,” says Rodriguez.