Archive for December, 2010


The Regulators Strike Back

December 7, 2010

Well, no sooner had I blogged about the success of food carts in Portland being due at least in part to relatively light regulation, a discussion in City Council about an unrelated item triggered several minutes of discourse about the possible need for regulation, followed up by an Oregonian editorial arguing to restrict carts to ‘take away only’ operation.

This morning Ethan Seltzer and I respond (Ethan gets credit for the prose itself) with an op-ed arguing for problem solving in preference to regulation. To be clear, I absolutely believe focus by the City on the safety of carts is completely appropriate. We don’t want fire hazards, unsafe electrical connections, or structures that might be collapse on patrons – but then neither do cart operators. We call for a collaborative approach to ensuring the right balance of safety and innovation.

And just to be absolutely clear, in this op-ed, as in my blog posts here, I’m speaking as an individual, not on behalf of the Planning and Sustainability Commission, or the City.