food carts lined up in a parking lot in autumn
Starting in January 2022, new health and safety rules and license requirements take effect for food cart pods. This applies to anyone (owner or lessee) who allows 2 or more food carts to park continuously on a property in order to sell food or drinks.

You must apply for this license if you already have a food cart pod or plan to open a new one. If you are remodeling a cart pod, please contact us to see if a plan review is needed.

If you have a food cart, you do not need to apply for this license. But you may need to work with the pod operator to make changes to comply with new rules. For example, moving your cart in order to comply with a new setback rule.


The new rules shift some responsibilities for basic sanitation, health and safety from those who run food carts to pod operators.

Food cart pod operators are responsible for:

  • Safe drinking water (You do not have to supply it, but you must make sure all carts at your site use it.) 
  • Wastewater disposal and spill control plan
  • Garbage and recycling
  • A plan to control rats and pests
  • Spacing carts and structures 5 feet apart (setback)
  • Power utilities

These requirements are covered in more detail in the plan review application. 

A  food cart pod license may not be transferred to someone else or to a different location.

Food Cart Pod Rules (178.83 KB)

Good to Know

Before you get your license from us, there may be other agencies that you need to get approval from. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Planning (zoning)
  • Building codes (structural, electrical, plumbing, prefabricated structures)
  • Fire marshall
  • City or county authorities

Refer to this list of agency contacts for food carts»

Get a License

Submit plans for review. Send us completed plan review and license applications and fees.

Food Cart Pod Plan Review Packet (3.47 MB)
Example Site Plan (1.89 MB)

We will review your application within 15 business days. Next, we’ll send you a letter (by mail or email) that either asks for more information, or approves your application.

If we request more information, you’ll have a chance to make needed changes.

Schedule your pre-license inspection. You can do this once your plan is approved. You should complete this inspection within 30 days from the date on your approval letter.

You must pass this inspection before we can issue your license. For a new pod, you must get and pass an inspection before any operations start. 

Additional Forms

Food Cart Pod License Application (79.68 KB)
Pest Control Plan (47.35 KB)
Example of Integrated Pest Management Plan (146.1 KB)
Wastewater Plan (38.5 KB)
Example of Wastewater Spill and Control Plan (155.83 KB)

Routine Inspections

After the initial licensing inspection, you will have 2 inspections every year.


Plan review - $580

License, based on the number of carts:

  • 2-9 carts: $405
  • 10 or more carts: $540

Pay Fees Online

We'll email you an invoice and you can pay online using your invoice number. Make a payment»


Licenses are good for one calendar year. Renew your license every year by paying the license fee by January 1.

Contact Us

Multnomah County Environmental Health
847 NE 19th Avenue, Suite 350
Portland, Oregon (Map)


Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am - 4:30pm