Over the weekend, the Oregonian unveiled the Goodman family's plans to develop eleven downtown parking lots, and local food cart blogger Brett Burmeister quickly pointed out that three of these parking lots are home to food cart pods—and some of the city's most popular, in fact. The city hasn't approved the Goodman family's development plan, called The Ankeny Blocks, but if it does, the food cart pods at SW 2nd and Stark, SW 3rd and Washington, and SW 5th and Stark—home to Portland's first food cart pod—would be displaced.
According to the O, The Goodman family is making the move in preparation for a change in zoning laws that would allow developers to build taller buildings downtown. From the below mock-up, included in The Ankeny Blocks brochure, Portland will get eleven, mostly tall buildings, with mixed commercial and retail spaces. The Ankeny Blocks would "serve as the city's perfect platform for transformative large-scale development," according to the brochure.
[Development Site Potential, from The Ankeny Blocks brochure]
Eater Portland has reached out to the Goodman family and Portland Food Carts for more details. As of now, the future of the downtown food carts, which total around 70, including El Masry Egyptian and Cultured Caveman, is unclear. For optimists, there's the possibility the new buildings could incorporate food halls, similar to Pine Street Market, and welcome former food cart vendors to lease the space. Or perhaps there are other nearby places for food carts to set up shop.
For pessimists, there's the possibility that around half of the city's one-of-a-kind food cart pods downtown will close or relocate. Food cart pods are a Portland icon. Whereas food trucks in other cities are mobile, always on the hunt for hungry diners, Portland's food cart owners made the move to band together to attract diners.
Speaking of banding together, Burmeister is asking food cart vendors to get in touch if they want to create a group to oppose the development before City Council. Find more details here.