Like we reported last week, the Portland City Hall food cart pod has begun taking shape this afternoon. Our own Dirk VanderHart says workers are unwrapping and installing tables and chairs meant for the city hall plaza (never mind that it's a blinding hot place to munch on your lunch on a hot day, especially with three leafy parks just a few hundred feet away).

And Fuego, which used to set up on SW 4th outside the Portland Building, has moved into its new home.



Dana Haynes, Mayor Charlie Hales' spokesman, got back to me this morning with a figure for how much the new furniture cost. He also had some details.

They were $3765.85

Here are their stats:
• Wrought Iron
• Made in America
• 70 percent of material purchases were from recycled materials
• Over 90 percent of the steel and 80 percent of the corrugated paper used came from post consumer use goods
• 3-Year Limited Warranty

As for the rules that might govern use of the space, those are yet to come, he says. But they'll likely will include some kind of time limit. (Akin to a fast-food restaurant.) Two things need to happen: the city's facilities office needs to draft a final set of rules and the city attorney's office would then need to vet them.

"The plan had been to put some of sign up," he says. "Just today the question came up."

I've also asked whether protests and rallies will still be allowed in the plaza, historically a forum for groups looking to aim their grievances directly at city hall. Last year, the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform held a powerful gathering at the foot of city hall to protest an arbitrator's decision to overturn the firing of the cop who shot and killed Aaron Campbell.

I'll update when an answer comes.

UPDATE 4:55 PM: Haynes spelled out how the city hopes protests might be handled.

The food cart permit for use of the plaza is limited and allows the carts to use only a portion of the plaza.

The rest of the plaza is available for speech and assembly events that don’t unreasonably interfere with a cart’s permitted activities. If the carts aren’t there—say, a lunch cart that won’t set up until 11 a.m., for instance—then there’s even more room for protests. Until 11 a.m.

The food cart permit process warns applicants that speech and assembly events will occur on the plaza alongside their permitted use. So the vendors have been warned.

The plaza managers have the ability to coordinate a speech event with the carts, possibly by temporarily relocating carts, as regularly happens during Pioneer Courthouse Square events.

To help the city maximize the use of the plaza, speech event organizers who anticipate a need to re-configure the plaza should contact the Bureau of Revenue permit office or Facilities managers in advance of their event.