The print edition of the Oregonian has an article today called “MLK gets cooking,” a story written by Rebecca Robinson that discusses the newly-vibrant food cart scene on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
MLK has ‘food cart pods’ all the way down at the intersection with Lombard, and another at ‘Dreamers Marketplace’ in the parking lot of the old bank building at Graham Street. Dreamers Marketplace started off as a crafts vendor market, with live music, in the early summer; the vendors drifted away as the summer went on, but chefs with their food carts – dogs, baked potatoes, African food – came in and have created a lively scene.
Marc Bloch, whose family owns H&B Jewelry and Loan, is looking to create a third food cart ‘pod’ in the lot by H&B, at 4709 NE MLK, as detailed here.
The article, which I cannot find on oregonlive.com (the Oregonian’s companion e-portal), veers into a discussion of whether MLK Boulevard is truly a street where pedestrian-oriented consumers are likely to be found, ad whether the Portland Development Commission’s work to spur development on the boulevard can be considered successful:
“The proliferation of pods symbolizes a shift toward a more pedestrian-friendly commercial corridor, the latest hope for an area that’s long struggled to become a destination because of crime, fast-moving traffic and a stop-and-start economic past…
“The boulevard has a long history of crime and blight. And though it’s safer than in the 1980s and ’90s, when it was a center of prostitution and drug dealing, negative perceptions of the past remain…
“In recent years, however, a new MLK has slowly been taking shape, as investment from the Portland Development Commission attracts developers and businesses. Numerous high-profile PDC projects, from the Planned Parenthood building at MLK and Beech Street to the Vanport Square complex have transformed formerly neglected areas into shiny commercial centers – what the PDC calls ‘catalytic sites’…
“But some Northeast residents are skeptical…”
I’ll be writing more about the food carts on MLK Boulevard, now that I have some free time to run around and play. Early tip o’ the hat to Patty’s Wagon at Dreamers Marketplace, where the chicken stew is dee-lish!