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.