Some food cart vendors across from Astoria City Hall are looking for new locations as questions about the future of the property have put them on shaky ground.
The property on the corner of Duane and 11th streets includes buildings that house a makeup store as well as a parking lot where the food carts Good Bowl, DJ’s Vinyl Vegan and Snackle Box have been located for the past two years. About eight months ago, Nourish Juice Bar joined the lineup.
Unknown to most of the food cart vendors, the property was in the middle of a tax foreclosure process with Clatsop County.
The foreclosure, set in motion by four years of unpaid taxes, was scheduled to go through earlier this month, but came to an abrupt halt when 1101 Pacific Avenue LLC paid thousands of dollars of taxes owed by property owner Frederick Smith.
According to county records and Clatsop County Assessment and Taxation Director Suzanne Johnson, Smith still owns the property but other parties now own the mortgage and Smith’s debt. Smith could not be reached for comment.
For the food cart vendors, the property was a convenient location in the heart of downtown. Though the danger of tax foreclosure has passed, some of them have opted to close up shop.
The owners of Nourish Juice Bar see the situation as an opportunity to jump into a brick-and-mortar location elsewhere, a move they had planned to take eventually.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Jackson Boone, co-owner of Nourish.
The juice bar will reopen on the ground floor of the historic Astor Hotel on Commercial and 14th streets.
Boone said they plan to open the juice bar sometime in early November with expanded food offerings and indoor seating. Their cold press juice and smoothie options will remain similar to what their cart offered.
For Olaf Ydstie, owner of Good Bowl, the future feels less certain. He is actively looking for a new location but said there are few options downtown. He estimates that the majority of his regular customers worked downtown and walked to his cart for lunch. If he has to move too far away he worries he will lose that foot traffic.
Food cart vendors said they had understandings with Judith Stokes to operate on the property and paid rent to her. Stokes owns the makeup store Flourine and Co. and the food cart Snackle Box.
Stokes said she has an agreement to continue to manage the property and do business. “The two food carts Nourish and the Good Bowl left at their own will before the agreement was attained,” Stokes said in a statement. “Moving on.”