PORTLAND, Ore. – The city of Portland sued the Oregon Liquor Control Commission Monday in an attempt to keep more food carts from getting liquor licenses.
The city argues alcohol sales could increase crime and traffic problems around food cart pods.
In March the OLCC granted a liquor license for Cartlandia on Southeast 82nd Avenue. The food cart pod now serves beer and wine from one cart and people can drink it in a designated area.
So far there have been no complaints, and food cart operators at Cartlandia are frustrated, saying the liquor license has been nothing but good for business.
Roger Goldingay, who owns Cartlandia, says he was surprised to hear about the lawsuit because he's had no complaints. He says his pod of food carts should serve as an example for how other food carts and neighborhoods can benefit from a liquor license.
"I don't know what the big deal is. This is probably the least of the city's problems," Goldingay said. "I don't think I've served more than two beers to any one person here the whole three weeks, four weeks we've been open. There've been absolutely no problems at all. It's a very family friendly environment."
There are posted rules: No beer and wine outside the designated area; no drinks without food and there's a monitor watching at all times.
But City Commissioner Amanda Fritz says there needs to be food-cart-specific rules set by the city before any food carts get the approval for a license. Right now she says the OLCC approval process is too unpredictable.
"They're doing them on a case by case basis," she said. "We think there should be a public process for everybody to be able to weigh in on what are the rules that would say when outdoor sales of alcohol would be a good thing for a neighborhood."
According to the OLCC, it had not been served with the lawsuit as of Monday afternoon. But it is confident in the rules and restrictions it requires of any applicant for a liquor license, treating the applicant like any other brick and mortar restaurant that applies for a license.
Fritz says the goal of the lawsuit is not to pull the Cartlandia license but to prevent others from getting the same approval.