The ground-breaking for Portland's first Ritz-Carlton hotel is Friday. The popular food cart pod the building is replacing is still searching for a home.
More than 40 food carts that occupied the space at Southwest 10th Avenue and Alder Street had to leave the lot by the end of June.
Some of those carts have found other spots, but about 30 of them are hoping to stick together and form a new pod.
That group of carts is currently in storage on a lot owned by Prosper Portland.
“They’re currently doing repair and maintenance on the carts there while we figure out logistics,” said Marshall Runkel, chief of staff for Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
Eudaly’s office, along with local nonprofit Friends of the Green Loop, is still working to relocate the carts.
The Green Loop is a linear park concept, approved by Portland City Council, that would wind through Portland in an effort to make the city more accessible by foot or bike.
The initial plan was to move the carts to the city's North Park Blocks temporarily, while seeking a a permanent spot in the Green Loop, but that plan faced some opposition from neighbors, Runkel said.
“They raised really good points and they all expressed sympathy and support for the food carts,” he said of the neighbors in opposition. “A lot of them had put a lot of time and energy into breathing life into the park blocks.”
For example, Runkel said, there’s a brand-new North Park Blocks playground near where the food carts would have gone.
“I think if we had time to have more of a normal public process, there’s a potential we could have solved some of those concerns, but on the timeline that we’re on that’s just not possible,” he said.
Instead, Runkel said, people are working to solidify another spot closer to the carts’ original home.
“For these businesses, it’s really important that they’re located close to where the 10th and Alder site was, because they have these loyal customers that they’ve spent, in some cases, five or 10 years with,” he said.
He said organizers are hoping to confirm a specific spot for the carts in the next few weeks.
“Obviously for every week that these entrepreneurs aren’t out there earning money, it’s a very significant problem for them,” Runkel said. “So we’re working as quickly as possible to solve these problems.”