Salem will soon be home to a sight familiar to Oregonians elsewhere in the state. On July 14th the City Council of the City of Salem approved changes to the city code that will allow food trucks to be operated within the city. In particular:
· Licenses are available in 12 month increments without a site plan
· The 2 hour limit on placement of food truck is removed
· The 500 foot spacing requirement is removed
A copy of the ordinance itself is available here. The changes take place immediately.
The spread of food trucks is not without controversy and not everyone is happy to see food trucks come to Salem. The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association expressed its reservations in a July 1st open letter to the city council. The ORLA expresses concern that mobile food carts are not subject to the same inspection standards as traditional restaurants. They argue that rules meant to govern ostensibly mobile food carts are ineffective in regulating immobile densely packed food carts.
National and local street vending advocacy groups contest these points. The Salem Food Truck Association and The National Street Vending Initiative claim that food trucks are at least as safe as traditional restaurants. Indeed, The National Street Vending Initiative conducted a study that backs up these claims.
If you are a Salemite and you are chomping at the bit to get your genius food idea out onto the streets of Salem the State of Oregon Health Authority has some resources for you. Their website on food safety contains some vital information for anyone looking to open a food cart.
· Forms, Rules and Guidelines
Even PBS has some advice for anyone who wants to hang out their foodie shingle.
Non riesco a sopportare quelli che non prendono seriamente il cibo.
- Oscar Wilde