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The Rainier City Council is expected to review recommendations next month as to how to best allow food cart operations in the city.

Food Carts

Food carts have become popular in large cities, such as Portland.

Over the past few months there has been discussions concerning interest in setting up such business operations.

Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole said the discussions began just before the pandemic hit last spring and the city’s planning commission forwarded suggestions to the city council about the food cart operations.

“Now that we are at near normal again, we are able to dive back into it,” Cole said. “It is fair to say everyone wants it to happen, it is a matter of what it should look like.”

Cole said the locations of the food carts would be key discussion points.

In other Oregon cities where the food carts discussions have taken place, brick and mortar restaurant operators have voiced concerns about the location of the carts.

“I do not want them in residential areas,” Cole said. “And I want to make sure traffic is looked at. I also want them to be clean and nice and sanitary.”

According to Cole, the city and county health department would regulate inspections of the food carts for health and safety.

“We need to find a way that they fit into the livability out our community,” he said.

Depending on the number of food cart applications made to the city, Cole said allowing them along the riverfront might be a good location that could help draw people to the city.

“It is providing other opportunities for citizens and to bring people in and the carts could encourage others to start something, especially when COVID is over and people are getting out more,” Cole said.

Two members of the Rainier City Council, Connie Budge and Mike Kreger, are reviewing the food cart issues and developing recommendations for the full council.

Clatskanie food carts

Clatskanie City Manager Greg Hinkelman said there are currently no food carts in operation in his city but the city does have initial policies in place for such business operations.

“Any food cart would need permission from the property owner, a city business license, meet current health-code regulations and would only be allowed in a commercial zone,” he said.

If the City of Clatskanie were to be approached by a vendor requesting to establish a food cart operation, Hinkelman said that business operator would likely need to come before the Clatskanie Planning Commission for a conditional use permit.

Follow developments of this story at thechiefnews.com and in the Friday print editions of The Chief.

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