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Lan Ha, the owner of Wailani shave ice food truck.

Three minutes.

That’s how long it took for the Roseburg City Council on Monday to discuss and approve a new set of codes that, among other things, prohibits food trucks from operating in city parks outside of special events, like Music on the Half Shell.

City staffers have spent months updating the rules regarding food trucks in an effort to make it easier for them to set up in public spaces, such as parks and school grounds. The matter was discussed in January at a Planning Commission meeting and last month at a meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission.

City staff then took input from those commissions and overhauled the rules governing food trucks, which had last been updated in 2018. But staff left intact the prohibition of food vendors in parks except in connection with a special event.

City officials, including City Manager Nikki Messenger and Public Works Director Brice Perkins, have said having food vendors and carts in parks is unfair to brick-and-mortar businesses that have to pay taxes and other costs. They also said having such vendors would disrupt the natural peace and tranquility that parks are intended to provide.

The City Council agreed. Following a brief presentation by Perkins on Monday, Councilor Brian Prawitz asked a quick question on permitting of food trucks in general.

The approval of the codes then went to a vote, without any discussion of whether to allow food trucks in parks. The vote was unanimous.

The entire process, from Perkins presentation to the vote tally, took three minutes.

Food trucks in city parks are fairly common throughout Oregon. And the dispute over whether to allow food trucks in city parks here arose last year in part because the only such truck that was allowed was so popular.

It was in April that a woman named Lan Ha opened her Wailani shave ice truck in Stewart Park on weekends. Ha said the parks department approved the permit allowing the truck to operate and told her she could stay there all summer, but required her to have more insurance coverage than would typically be required. Ha purchased the extra insurance.

The shave ice truck was an instant success, drawing upwards of 500 customers a day, Ha said. But in late May, Ha received an email from a city parks and recreation official saying there had been a mistake and allowing her to operate at the park outside of a special event, such as Music on the Half Shell, violated city zoning laws.

Ha was no longer allowed to sell her shave ice at Stewart Park on weekends. She tried to negotiate a deal with the city to allow her to stay, but to no avail.

Ha, however, tried to make the best of it. After being told at the end of May that she could no longer sell her Wailani shave ice in Stewart Park, she brought the truck to Central Park in Sutherlin.

Like at Stewart Park, Ha’s shave ice was an instant hit at Central Park, Sutherlin Mayor Michelle Sumner said.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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(5) comments

roseburgchick

That shaved ice owner could potentially sue the city

MollyP

"Councilor Brian Prawitz asked a quick question on permitting of food trucks in general." What was the question?

Mike Ruehle for Commissioner

Because they compete with local restaurants, I'm surprised Mountain Mikes, 5 Guys and In-N-Out burgers were allowed by the city to build their restaurants in Roseburg.

This decision lends more credence to why my two friends who moved their businesses (manufacturing facility and medical clinic) to Reno and Vegas after they originally looked to move their businesses to Douglas County. Each spent several days contacting our local Chamber of Commerce and meeting with local business people. Both described the cold shoulder they received and Douglas County being run by a little mafia of certain business people.

nursepain76

Roseburg is one of the only cities in the state that has this much dictatorship in their local government...but you all deserve it..you voted for these hypocrites. Exactly why I and many others have left the cess pool for brighter horizons. Good riddance to Roseburg, they will continue to forge a path where no one wants to do business.

roseburgchick

Amen

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