A private/public partnership, led by the Friends of the Green Loop, is moving forward with the ‘Culinary Corridor’, a concept for how to accommodate food carts in the right-of-way. An initial trial will see carts from the 10th & Alder pod placed in the North Park Blocks this summer.
The 10th & Alder pod is one of Portland’s oldest, largest and most popular food cart pods. The pod will close at the end of the month to make way for the Block 216 development. The pod has 40 vendors that employ between 200 and 300 people. A significant number of the owners and employees are people of color, and many of them are immigrants.
As surface parking lots redevelop an alternative model is needed for siting food carts in downtown. In the long term Friends of the Green Loop hope to establish a Culinary Corridor along the Midtown Park Blocks, between Director Park and Ankeny Square on SW 9th Ave.
Planning for this concept is proceeding, however there are enough details left to be resolved that carts will not be able to move to SW 9th by the end-of-month deadline.
The Culinary Corridor team studied placing carts on O’Bryant Square, however the structural condition of the underground parking garage prevents this from happening in the needed timeframe.
In the immediate term the City of Portland has agreed to allow around 37 carts to relocate to the North Parks Blocks, between W Burnside and NW Davis. Three layouts have been developed by Hennebery Eddy Architects, with Option 1 currently favored. The carts would remain on the North Park Blocks until the end of their season, in October. Work on the Culinary Corridor concept will proceed in parallel, so that at the end of the season there will be a more permanent place for the carts to go.
The Friends of the Green Loop are currently accepting donations at GoFundMe, to help cover the costs of towing and providing electrical service to the North Park Blocks.
All of these layouts appear to preclude use of these blocks for driving or parking. That would be a huge benefit, not just for cart-goers, but for users of the park, people on bikes, and everyone walking in the neighborhood.
This could also be a great opportunity to trial a closure of Couch to cars between 8th and Park, giving half the space to a two-way bikeway and the other half to public seating. There’s a lot of 405-bound traffic on Couch in the evenings that really ought to be on Burnside instead, and would detract from what otherwise will be a fantastic environment!
The concept sketch looks pretty good, though I think the carts should be pulled in from the corners to maintain visibility. The 3 plan options all have the effect of walling off the park too much. The edge needs to be more porous to maintain a visual connection to the park from across the street. Maybe some of the carts could be placed along Couch and Davis?
Where will all their graywater tanks go? Will the storefronts on either just be looking at the service end of the truck all the time? How will this activate the streets? Will the city allow every food truck to take over the right of way in the future as they move around or will they play favorites?
Man so close to … so many undesirable folks and the urban …. maladies on that corner there. Can’t imagine it being a comfortable place to sit and eat. Option 1 certainly provides some “cover”. Will there be police in the area? Will they make sure clean and safe comes in and cleans up the pee pee and poo poo in the vicinity of food handlers and eaters each morning?
It’s so close to the current cart pods but the “elements” there are significantly worse, and there won’t be the same “strength in numbers” to prevent vandalism and drug use amongst patrons and cart pods. What happened to the cart pod across burnside at the “stage” area, why was that closed, and what would be done to prevent the same from happening here?
Really hope something can be put in place to save the pods in this area, I’m curious if the alignment on 8th vs. Park is an attempt to disperse some of those unsavory “elements”, or if it’d be better just to move the carts to Park.
One issue I have is that most of the downtown lunch crowd that the carts depend upon, will not have enough time or want to walk that far. Moving them to the South Park Blocks makes more sense but probably not practical there.
exactly. I will never be able to go there in the time that I have for lunch. Also, the majority of patrons will need to be crossing Burnside to get there. Doesn’t that sound fun? The drug addicts hang out there because it is out of the way.
Agreed. Crossing Burnside sucks at the best of times. It’s not a nice street to have to cross, and it will definitely deter people. I don’t see it working out well at all. Also the winos are more numerous north of Burnside than south but can still be bad. Look at what it’s like on the block of food carts at SW 5th between Oak and Stark! That’s been an ongoing issue for a few years now.
If you want to look at it from a social justice perspective, it does seem like a tired refrain: minorites and immigrants getting pushed out for redevelopment that will most likely cater to wealthier, whiter people. It is what it is. I’m going to miss these food carts.
I would not be so concerned, as another of the commenters here, that the “bad elements” nearby will drive away food cart business. One reason for having carts along the N. Park Blocks would be to activate the area, making it feel safer. After all, that is what happened with sketchy O’Bryant Square, which became a lively defacto dining area for eaters spilling over from the food cart block. The main concern would be that the slightly out of the way location across Burnside will deter some regulars who work further south in Downtown.
Another point is that the temporary closure of streets on the N. Park Blocks will be a test for the future Green Loop’s redesignation of the streets for just pedestrians and bicyclists.