New ordinance will allow for permanent food carts and pods near airport and other commercial zones in city

A new ordinance allowing food trucks in Scappoose is almost a done deal.

Scappoose city councilors put the final draft of food cart and food pod regulations on first reading Monday evening, Jan. 7. The new regulations will allow for permanent food carts in the city. SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - A row of food trucks provides food and specialty beverages at the Columbia County Fairgrounds. Food trucks are a staple of special events, but a new ordinance will allow them to operate on a permanent basis in Scappoose.

Planning officials with the city began crafting regulations for a food cart ordinance in 2018 after years of Scappoose seeing pop-up food carts that could only operate on a temporary basis due to city codes.

A food cart ordinance is "intended to allow individual entrepreneurship at a small scale to provide unique eating establishments to the public," as stated in city documents outlining the new rules.

The new ordinance would allow food trucks, carts or more developed food cart pods containing multiple trucks in places where restaurants and eating establishments are already allowed, while also allowing them in light industrial zones and near the airport in Scappoose. City officials said they foresee food trucks filling a gap in food services near the airport and the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, which is likely to see a larger influx of manufacturing workers and students in the future.

Food trucks and pods must provide bathrooms or have access to bathrooms nearby, and comply with any city design standards for the new uses.

While St. Helens already allows food trucks, Scappoose has been slower to implement rules to accommodate the mobile restaurants. Chuck Daughtry of the Columbia County Economic Team welcomed the council's move to adopt the ordinance.

"This is a great thing," Daughtry told councilors and city staff Monday. "It's really going to attract new investment in the community. It's going to create jobs ... it's really in harmony with what we're doing with tourism."

The food cart pod ordinance is set to be finalized on second reading during the council's next regular meeting later this month.

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