This week the City of Salem voted to relax restrictions on food carts, letting groups of carts congregate for the first time and removing limits on the number of hours mobile trucks can sell food in an area. About 20 food carts currently operate in Salem, according to Richard Foote, co-founder of the Salem Food Truck Association and owner of the Oregon Crepe Cafe. The new rules pave the way for more food trucks to start operating the city in permanent “pods,” he told OPB, like the ones found in Portland, home to more than 600 food trucks.
But not everyone is excited about that possibility. Bill Perry, vice president of government affairs for the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, told OPB that food carts that park overnight should be treated like restaurants. He says they should be required to get the same permits and the same number of inspections. And since food trucks are cheaper to open, he says, they’re creating unfair competition with restaurants.
The City of Vancouver is spending the next few months weighing all of these concerns as officials consider changing the regulations around food carts there.
Are you a restaurant or food cart owner? Do you think food carts should be treated like restaurants?
- Chad Eiken: Community and economic development director for the City of Vancouver
- Richard Foote: Co-founder of the Salem Food Truck Association
- Bill Perry: Vice president of government affairs for the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association
- Steve Valente: Co-owner of The Mighty Bowl, a food cart in Vancouver