The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners Thursday passed an ordinance to standardize health and safety requirements for food cart pods.
The ordinance shifts responsibility from individual food cart owners to the property owners of the food cart pod sites.
It requires property owners to provide clean water and electricity at their sites as well as address things like pest control and wastewater and trash disposal.
“Currently, we already inspect the insides of the mobile units,” said Jeff Martin, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. “But this ordinance really addresses the collective group of mobile units as one piece of property.”
Now that the ordinance has passed, the county will begin creating specific rules for it.
Richard Stein, owner of the Hillsdale Food Park — a five-cart pod in southwest Portland — said at Thursday’s meeting that he’s happy about the new ordinance.
“As an owner of a pod, I too was wondering why the county wasn’t coming to check on the status of my property,” Stein said. “Because they were checking on the carts themselves. So, I think this is a good idea and I support what you’re doing.”
Stein did bring up a few points he hopes the county addresses in the ordinance.
“Each pod is different than the other pods, so I caution about finding a one-size fits all [solution] for everybody,” he said.
The ordinance will require property owners to obtain a permit for their food cart pod. The health department will begin accepting applications for those permits as soon as Jan. 1.