that the Cartlandia food cart pod on 82nd Avenue has been granted a license to serve beer and wine, Mayor Sam Adams has been hysterically tweeting
that this will lead to 695
individual food carts all now suddenly applying for liquor licenses—each paying $200 to apply for a limited on-premises liquor license without first bothering to read the guidelines that make it clear 99 percent of them would be ineligible.
The 695 figure (and others similar) have been thrown about for several years now, often reported as fact by national and local media. WW
is probably as guilty as any.
But that figure refers to "mobile food units
," which includes coffee kiosks, catering vans and food stands at sports stadiums and markets. (And the correct figure for 2012 thus far is actually 623.) It also doesn't account for the carts that go out of business every week.
Common sense and a functioning pair of eyes should tell you that there aren't 700 food carts in this city.
So we got a list of every licensed mobile food unit in Multnomah County, then set about crossing off any that the average Portlander would not reasonably consider to be a "food cart," as well as any we knew to have closed permanently. We got the list down to 440
—which we still believe to be an over-inflation, as we left in every one we had not heard of and could not find online. We suspect it's more like 400. Here is the list
of all 440. Tell us if you spot any others you know aren't carts (remember that some are trading under different names to the one they registered with).