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Will a New Development Displace Yet Another Portland Food Cart Pod?

A proposed apartment building would take over the lot currently home to the College Street food carts

A number of downtown Portland food carts bustling with people on a nice day.
The College Street food cart pod in 2017. A proposed development would take over the lot currently home to several food carts.
Tpt/Shutterstock

Another downtown Portland food cart pod is at risk of displacement. A group of developers are vying to build an apartment building near the corner of 5th Avenue and College Street, currently home to a number of vendors.

In March, SERA Architects and Mill Creek Residential Trust filed to build a “new 7 story market rate apartment building with basement parking, ground floor retail, and approximately 250 residential units,” according to public records; SERA and Mill Creek have not responded to requests for comment. Currently, 1900 SW 5th is home to a lot housing several different food carts: Persian Kabab, Dhaba Indian Kitchen, Krua Bangkok, among others. Real estate and development blogger Iain MacKenzie spotted the proposal, noting that the building would take over the full city block — including the portion of the block home to the pod’s carts. Oregon Pacific Investment and Development Co. is listed as the current owner of the property; OPID also did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2019, another downtown Portland food cart pod was forced to dissolve, making way for a Ritz Carlton in its place. Many of the carts in the lot have reopened in a new pod, near the Park Blocks; the development was a private-public collaboration, in response to the outrage surrounding the displacement of those carts.

The city had scheduled a pre-application conference on April 5; this story will be updated with more information.

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