A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council hears about tent at food cart pod

Written June 15th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

It was a slow afternoon when I stopped by “Charli’s on I-5” on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Airport Road in Albany is not on one of my regular bicycle routes. I went there Saturday to have a look at a tent.

The tent shelters seven picnic tables in the center of “Charli’s on I-5,” a food cart pod that opened last winter at southbound Exit 234  on Interstate 5. But this temporary structure may not be there much longer.

The tent came up briefly at the June 12 meeting of the Albany City Council.

Zach Draper, owner of the pod, and a business partner whose name I did not get talked to the council for three minutes under “business from the public.”

Their concern was that the tent was permitted for six months, and the six months are up. Six months, to them, seems like an arbitrary time limit. They asked the council to consider a code change that would allow tents like theirs to stay up indefinitely with periodic safety inspections

Citizens’ questions and concerns brought up in this way are sometimes dealt with at the end of the council’s meetings. But the council didn’t react to the tent issue. Instead, City Manager Peter Troedsson said that this was an issue for the fire marshal.

According to the city website, the Albany Fire Department issues any permit for a “temporary membrane structure/tent” under the provisions of the Oregon Fire Code.

So it looks like even if the city council wanted to do something about this, it presumably can’t amend or alter the state fire code.

This time of the spring, the tent has no walls. But Facebook photos from earlier in the year show it was enclosed to keep out the cold.

To see what if anything happens with this particular tent, go check out “Charli’s on I-5” at 325 Airport Road S.E. in the coming weeks. (hh)

13 responses to “Council hears about tent at food cart pod”

  1. TLH-ALB1 says:

    Leave it up!! It’s a great little place, to get out of the sun with some breeze, to enjoy a meal. The work being done there is coming along. But, with all things, it takes time and money. Keep up the great work.

  2. Robert Gore says:

    Bullshit city’s codes. A small business veteran owned by a local who has been here at least 3 generations doing something great for Albany you need to get your shit straight.

  3. Al Nyman says:

    So it meets the fire code for 6 months but then doesn’t in the 7 month. Either it is a fire hazard or it isn’t as it can’t be both.

  4. Thompson says:

    Tents weren’t an issue for covid there were tents everywhere.

  5. Susan Eppel says:

    Is this supposed to be a crime?? Guess I’m just not understanding what is the particular issue. What a colossal waste of reporting.

  6. Suebee says:

    Wow Susan… Hasso is, as always, keeping us all informed of what is happening in our community… no need to be so harsh!

  7. Mark Lamberty says:

    So “tents” were allowed and all over the place during COVID and it wasn’t a problem, but somehow the rules have changed? It makes no sense. They should be allowed to keep it up to protect patrons from the sun or weather. Why keep kicking the small business owners who are barely making it?

  8. CHEZZ says:

    They are generating revenue for themselves as well as in the City. What could be better?

  9. chris j says:

    Codes don’t apply for the homeless all over town. Mervin’s garden tent city has people smoking drugs and lit cigarettes thrown on the ground all day long plus all the other law breaking activity. Not a fire hazard? Local businesses like this one are being pushed out of Albany because of the strict codes that they have bent over backwards complying with. The community needs to support the people who work hard to make a living and provide us with positive businesses like this one.

    • TLH-ALB1 says:

      Maybe I mis-read somewhere… But, isn’t Hooverville supposed to be a “Temporary” place to land? There’s one dude, that I have seen everyday as I drive by, who seems to be the “proclaimed Mayor and Justice of the Peace”, who is still there!! ENFORCE THE RULES AND CLEAN UP THE PLACE…and while you are at, move the vagrants who have been under the bridge for months along as well.

  10. J says:

    So the homeless can have tents and trash all over and that’s fine but this isn’t? Absolute bs. F this state and their damn codes

  11. Scott says:

    Please, please, please. What in the world are we doing? As others have said, through COVID, this tent thing seemed to be a non issue. I am just curious why we, the citizens of this great town, and enjoy going to a place like this for several reasons needs to be such a big deal. Do not take away or kick out someone that is doing me and a lot of others a great service and help us enjoy this sometimes this crazy, annoying like invasion .

  12. Scott says:

    I forgot to mention. Hasso Herring, you are the man. Ever since I was a kid , you are the man. Keep it going .


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