I’ve always admired Portland’s funky attitude towards street food vendors. What was years ago a smattering of taco trucks and falafel vendors, has grown into entire streets filled with every imaginable variety of food being served from every imaginable type of food wagon. Working in downtown Portland means having your choice between dozens of street vendors during lunchtime.
Since returning from my recent trip to Portland I’ve been dreaming of seeing more of this in Seattle. Besides my own selfish desires for more food selection, it’s also a perfect building block for a strong local economy. It does not take nearly as much money to start up a food cart as it would to open a restaurant, and it does not involve nearly as much risk—these types of small businesses are the front lines in a recovering economy.
I would love it if the area around our light rail station would develop into an area where street vendors would become more welcome and small business entrepreneurs would be given the time, community support, and space to try new types of businesses. As an added bonus this would give us a multi-ethnic gathering place, build community, and enliven ‘downtown’ Beacon Hill.
Joel Lee maintains the Beacon Hill Public Art website.
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