Violence, Vandalism at the Food Carts [Updated]


It seems we can’t go a day without hearing about another vendor getting their power cord cut or a break-in. Just last week, a vendor was robbed of their entire Thanksgiving sales. Thankfully, Portlanders came out to support The Honey Pot and she has recovered all lost sales and more. With the power cords, some vendors have been hit 10 times. At $120 a hit, that’s a huge expense for small businesses. Now, after six months of issues with the homeless youth down on SW 3rd and Stark, the issue has boiled over into violence. According to news reports, on Monday afternoon, a group of 15 street kids attacked the owners of Nikki and Lefty’s and Persian Plate. Earlier in the day, other carts in the lot had been vandalized with their propane tank lines cut. Six were arrested on different charges.

The city did crack down on the gathering of people who hang out on the sidewalk and were aggressively panhandling last summer, yet some of those individual have returned. This isn’t isolated to the lot at 3rd. Other pods at 5th ave and 10th have their own issues, they just havn’t escalated into violence.

We as a community of food cart fans and owners need to work together to resolve these issues. If you see something, say something.

[Update 4pm, 12/4/2012]

I was down at the carts at SW 3rd and Stark today and those vendors who were the victims of this violence with the street youth were all closed. There were plenty of people out and about, so it is sad to see they are loosing another day of business. In speaking with one of the owners, I have learned that an owner was indeed stabbed and is bruised and cut up along with an employee who was also cut bad with a knife as a result of them defending themselves. If you want to get a better understanding of just what these owners are up against with the intimidation, vandalism and violence, check out Brooke Howes of Built to Grill (excellent Italian by the way) at Oregonlive.


  1. Victoria G26 says:

    My heart goes out to the owners of the food carts! Food expense’s are high as it is without The added cost of being robbed and vandalized. Situations like this are hard to deal with both mentally and financially. While I feel bad for anyone who is homeless there’s no excuse for theft, vandalism and violence. To be angry at everyone else because you think they have more than you do is stink’n think’n, to go that step further of stealing from them and or destroying their property is criminal. These kids need to learn a hard lesson before this escalates into someone losing their life. The authorities need to be harder on these kids and there needs to be restitution and guidance to get this road.

  2. Bertha Pearl says:

    How can we help the vendors that were subject to violence?

  3. Cris Waller says:

    One thing to be aware of- none of those arrested were “kids”- all were adults.

    I frequent this cart pod often at lunchtime, and there are always large groups of panhandlers sitting on the sidewalk. I am sure they intimidate many people away from the carts that they camp out in front of (and, of course, they provide no business in return.)

    I don’t know why they have chosen this corner to hang out on (I don’t see people giving them handouts, most just want to get their lunch and get back to work!). I also don’t know what the best solution is to the problem.

    One thing we can do is give these cart owners some business.

  4. Seems there has been slander against one food cart who sells food to the homeless at the pod at SW 3rd and Stark. They too have suffered vandalism yet they called the police and made a report as they should do. There was even a false claim made to the health dept. against them! Threats over text messages saying they will get them closed down. Why? Simple answer:They sell food. They don’t discriminate against the homeless, and have become the scapegoat simply because they haven’t. I am ashamed of The Bloggers and other carts intimidation as a result of the fight. The one food cart treats people as they would have others treat them. I think that is what they should do. I have been down there, and consider myself a regular. The homeless sleep, and hang out all down SW 3rd. The fact that they are in front of Voodoo donuts as well is not a reason to blame Voodoo donuts. The fact that the homeless are in front of every cart at the pod of SW 3rd does not mean each are at fault but yet they blame one! I think apologies are in order for the harassment that one cart owner has been going through. I also feel that the cart owner that has had multiple threats and harassment should consider legal action.

  5. Bertha Pearl says:

    @shari…which cart is being harassed for selling to the homeless? I would like to support them, as it is not the fault of the homeless people that they are homeless. Good on them for serving everyone and treating everyone like human beings.

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