Several big stories, all rolled into one, are emerging in Portland. Changes in zoning have paved the way for high-rises that are proposed for the existing location of the city's famous food stalls.
First came the news, via Luke Hammill, that "[i]n between local landmarks like Voodoo Doughnut, Skidmore Fountain and the Portland Saturday Market, the Goodman family hopes to nestle 11 new buildings, $1.5 billion in investment, a grocery store and an untold number of new office workers, shoppers and residents." The Ankeny Blocks development, as its currently called, is proposed "in anticipation of zoning changes the city plans to make that would allow developers to build taller buildings downtown."
All by itself, the development proposal would be one of the Pacific Northwest's biggest planning and urbanism stories, thanks to the new building height, proposed for an already bustling and treasured neighborhood, resulting from a change to the zoning code for the downtown area. Hammill provides more details on the proposed development, as well as insight into the implications and importance of the new development and the land use regulation changes, from Ethan Seltzer, Portland State University professor of urban studies and the former president of the city's planning commission.
Matthew Korfhage picked up on a different story within that story, however, noting that the development plans would displace three of Portland's "most central food cart pods—including its oldest…" A point not discussed in Hammill's article is that some of the surface parking lots targeted for the Ankeny Blocks are currently food cart pods.
According to Korfhage, "Brett Burmeister at Food Carts Portland was the first to take note of the three pods amid the planned developments." Burmeister also issued a call to action for food cart owners and their fans: "Food cart owners need to come together and get in front of City Council and let them know that Portland street food scene is part of the city fabric. Every city has it, so as we develop, we need to find a way to keep it."
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