City of Hermiston Seeking Operator for Downtown ‘Food Pod’

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The city of Hermiston is looking for someone to operate a mobile vending ‘Food Pod’ Pilot Program for 12 to 24 months on city property located in downtown.

A copy of the Request for Proposals can be found on the city of Hermiston website.  Proposals are due by Dec. 3.

“The council asked for community input this summer on how we regulate mobile food vendors, and there was strong support for development of a Food Pod,” said City Planner Clint Spencer.  “That’s when council asked us to look in to developing a Pilot Program to test it out.”

The pilot program would operate on two city-owned parking lots at the intersection of W. Orchard Ave., and S.W. Third Street.  The intention underlying the request is that the city will offer the use of the parking lots for free to the operator who is selected during the length of the pilot program.  Additionally, the operator who is selected would be allowed to keep any profits that they make off of space rentals or other arrangements with vendors.  In exchange, operators would be required to:

  • Recruit and retain at least five mobile food vendors to operate in the pod
  • Provide and maintain sanitary facilities (porta-potties, hand washing stations, etc.)
  • Ensure that all vendors vacate the lot at least once per week
  • Keep the area clean
  • Allow the city to inspect all book keeping records, and sub-agreements

The provision of city property in exchange for operating a food pod is intended for a limited-duration only.  City staff will report back to the city council throughout the pilot program about its successes and failures, in order to establish a system which is financially viable long-term and does not require a public subsidy of free real estate.

“The economics of operating something like this in our size of market, with our unique demographics, are entirely unknown,” said Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan.  “Rather than waste a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to figure that out, we’re throwing it out to the private sector to see what they can do, then we’ll revisit the issue.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I own a food pod in Astoria, it would have been nice to have a property offered for free use rather than purchase one myself. I am curious why the vendors need to leave once a week. If they have large propane tanks in use it wouldn’t be workable especially since some places require a cement barrier to protect the tanks from motor vehicles, ya cant just pick those things up and move em.

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