Multiple food truckers petitioned the city council this evening for placement on its agenda for the upcoming 2023 season in a timely fashion rather than waiting for just several months before the opening season – as happened this year. The last minute West decision threw a monkey-wrench into the business plans of food truck operators forced to relocate from the Eastern Promenade into the Cutter Street Parking Lot.
After years of serving public demand via food trucks on the Eastern Promenade, the reactionary Interim City Manager West delivered a mesage just as the warm weather season began. Food truckers must vacate the Eastern Promenade for the Cutter Street parking lot because a handful of scrapy neighbors wanted that to happen. Karen Snyder was the only one of the neighbors protesting the food trucks via zoom at the meeting this evening.
The testimony from numerous food truckers came at 5:00 pm – a time set aside for testimony on items not on the council’s agenda. There were so many food truckers wanting to testify that the council had to vote to extend the time usually set aside for public testimony on items not on the council’s agenda.
Garrett Champlin, of Eighty 8 Donuts, testified before the council that he was disappointed not to have been included in the original process that moved the food trucks from the Eastern Promenade to the Cutter Street parking lot. He asked that the subject of the food trucks be placed on the agenda soon so “we can plan” in advance of the 2023 season. When food truckers apply for a license they are required to complete a form giving their contact information. Why didn’t the out-of-touch Interim City Manager West contact those food truckers using the information gleaned from their applications to obtain input from them on the relocation plan she proposed?
Logan Nobey, of George’s North Shore, told the city council: “I need this business. Our rights to sell are being taken away. None of our businesses have been heard.”
Michael Christman testified that the 11th hour decision by Interim City Manager Danielle West does “harm to this experience.” Sales from the food trucks in the Cutter Street parking lot are down between “20% to 30%” and that is without the cost of a permit that interim city manager West has threatened to impose on food truck operators during the second year. “What can the food truckers and city do together to make this work better?” he asked.
Joe Radano, owner of La Mega, a coffee dispenser, asked for a return to the Eastern Promenade. “We can all work together to keep the trash cleaned up.” Jordan Rubin, owner of Mr. Tuna, requested that the matter of returning the food truck space to the Eastern Promenade be brought up again on a council agenda soon. Dylan Gardner, co-owner of Falafel Mafia and NURAl, a brick and mortar restaurant in Monument Square, asked that the item not be put off until February or March because business decisions need to be made this fall. Put the matter on the fall agenda he asked.
Not one member of the spineless city council spoke up in favor of the food truckers request to be placed on the ‘pass the buck’ city council agenda. But why should they? It’s up to the reactionary Interim City Council Manager Danielle West to make controversial decisions. That’s because she is unaccountable to the public because she is not elected by voters at the ballot box. This arrangement is all the more reason to pass the changes to the city charter on the November 8th ballot.
Make the ‘pass the buck’ city council responsible for its inaction, not the unaccountable interim city manager West by supporting the city charter changes on the November 8th ballot. Mayor Kate Snyder has announced that she will not be seeking a second term as Mayor of the city of Portland. She has been an ineffective communicator to the residents of the city of Portland to date.
A city hall employee told this blogger earlier this year that only a handful complained about the food trucks on the Eastern Promenade. He said that city hall panics and reacts to any complaint it may receive from a Portland resident. Simultaneously, West did not perform “due diligence” in garnering input from food truckers on what would work and would not work in this relocation from the Eastern Prom to Cutter Street. This despite the formation of a task force originally that set up rules governing the existence of food trucks in Portland. Why didn’t West reconvene this task force for its input?
For more background on the food truckers plight at the Cutter Street park off the Eastern Promenade, please visit post herein dated Septembe 3, 2022.