Food cart fight frustrates downtown vendors

Food cart fight frustrates downtown vendors

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Did a confrontation between street youth and food cart owners deter downtown holiday shopping?

Homeless teenagers loitering around food carts in downtown Portland is not a new nuisance, some local business owners say.

The ongoing tension came to a head Monday afternoon when a fight broke out at a food cart pod at Southwest Second Avenue and Stark. Six people were arrested and several people suffered minor injuries.

The reaction on Tuesday appeared to be mix.

Customers were still lined up at the food carts, though conversation centered on the confrontation.

Several people said that while the situation was scary, it wouldn’t deter them from heading downtown to shop. Local business owners said they’ve grown accustomed to vandalism and panhandling, among other petty crimes, and have learned to keep quiet or politely move loiterers along.

The city of Portland has put up several new signs, warning against loitering, but some people say it may just move loiterers to another block.

“It's not the first time and it won't be the last time,” said Bryan Veal, owner of Reindeer Sausage Cart. “Christmas is coming soon. There will be a lot of shoppers and families walking around. In the summertime, we tend to have a lot more trouble like this -- it kind of dies off in the winter. I do see it happening again.”

Still, one shopper, Jim Carter, said he has been coming downtown for Christmas shopping since he was a kid in the 1980s, when Pioneer Square was a “mecca for street kids.”

Do incidents like Monday's fight deter you from visiting downtown Portland? Leave a comment below.