PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ariel Cruzata was “feeling amazing” Saturday. The owner-operator of Havana Station at Portland Mercado was back open after a devastating 2-alarm fire closed the entire food cart pod on January 3.
“This is my passion, is my cultural understanding, my business. Like five years ago, because my dream was brewing, my Cuban culture is my food,” Cruzata told KOIN 6 News.”I’m feeling so happy.”
The fire ripped through the main building’s market hall, which remains closed at this time. About a dozen small businesses were located inside the building along with a popular wine shop and several food carts.
While not all of them were damaged in the fire, cart owners previously told KOIN 6 that a lack of electricity and a water source hindered their abilities to run their businesses.
Hacienda Community Development Corporation, the Latino-led organization that manages the market, launched the Portland Mercado Fire Relief Fund to help entrepreneurs with their return to work. It closes on Wednesday.
Rebuilding the market hall will take some time. But the food carts are open, bringing smiles to Cruzata and all the customers.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later.