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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Food Carts Report Glosses Over Conflicts

Posted by Matt Davis on Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 11:57 AM

A new report carried out by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Portland State University says food carts are good for neighborhood vitality, and is encouraging the City of Portland to identify more locations for them. The report, which you can download here, makes for interesting reading, but it does rather gloss over conflicts that have arisen between food carts and storefront business owners in the past.

For example, the first paragraph reads: "According to an Oregonian article, a business owner near a new cluster of food carts on Hawthorne Blvd. acknowledged that the carts have increased his business due to the popularity of the carts." Then it references this article by Steve Duin at the Oregonian, which spends 11 paragraphs describing tension between the owners of a new food cart in the parking lot next door to Tiny's Coffee, and Tiny's owner Phil Ragaway, who said:

"I'm all for small business; I'm a small business," Ragaway said. "But the carts aren't playing by the same rules. I'm the guy paying the development charges. They don't have facilities such as bathrooms and (running) water. My water bills have more than doubled. My trash cans were overflowing."
The "business owner" who "acknowledges" there's more business? Issac Dweik, who owns the Shell station south of the intersection.

Come on, people. If you're writing with an agenda, at least be honest about it. Now, what do people think of a food cart catering to the needs of homeless people? How's that for increasing pedestrian foot traffic? Or would it be the wrong kind of foot traffic? Perhaps Peterson's could open a downtown convenience cart aimed specifically at liberal Nazi gentrifiers in need a pack of smokes. He could call it "A Convenient Truth." Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

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