Downtown Portland food truck owners ‘don’t feel safe anymore’

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The owners of a downtown Portland food truck are closing their SW 2nd Avenue location over safety concerns.

The owners of Veggie Bowl say vandalism, an upswing in Asian hate and changes to the environment have made it unsafe for them to operate downtown.

Several food cart owners on SW 2nd Avenue told KOIN 6 News they also don’t feel safe at night and are frustrated with the state of downtown Portland. Many have been the target of vandalism and break-ins on several occasions.

The Tokyo Sando food truck was broken into on Monday night. The owner, Taiki Nakajima, said his tablet used for processing credit card payments was stolen and a backpack full of tools was left behind, along with two boxes of leftover pizza. The owner spent Wednesday cleaning up and buying stronger locks.

Tokyo Sando is next to Veggie Bowl, which will close for good on Friday due to safety concerns. The Veggie Bowl location in Oregon City will remain open.

“It’s just sad, you know, I love Portland downtown but now it’s just crazy things going on,” said Nakajima.

Hanz Rawas, the owner of A Taste of Greek food truck, said the downtown district is “way different… we don’t feel safe anymore at night, we don’t open at night anymore.”

Rawas said they’ve been in business for 17 years but have experienced three break-ins just this year. He’s hopeful things will get better as employees return to work in downtown offices.

“The major problem, frankly, is that companies haven’t brought their workforces back and so you’re lacking the vibrancy of the workforce during the day that’s there to support the restaurants and keep downtown really vibrant,” said Vanessa Sturgeon, the CEO of TMT Development and co-founder of Rose City Downtown Collective.

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