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Food Cart Operator Mends

Makes comeback after random shooting

Alan Bell outside his Hana’s PDX food cart. Bell is on his way of getting back into business after becoming the victim of a recent random shooting. Photo courtesy Portland Police Bureau.

You can’t keep a good man down.

That’s the message coming from Alan Bell, the owner of Hana’s PDX food cart and a member of Portland’s Black community, after he was shot multiple times Sept. 29 in a random act of violence in northeast Portland.

Bell was treated and released that same day. He plans to heal and then return to providing New Orleans-style shaved ice, hot dogs, chili and other food delights to his customers, and helping his community.

Bell, 42, has no idea why he was shot. Portland Police are investigating. But he is focusing on what he can control: His mental attitude and remaining optimistic.

“Everything is the first step to moving forward. I want to take the first step in a positive direction,” said Bell.

Bell was born in Portland and raised in New Orleans. He decided to open his food cart six years ago to become financially independent and to introduce Portland to the unique shaved ice called “snowballs.”

“I just wanted to work on myself and be a self-sufficient Black, working man and take care of myself,” Bell said. “It seemed like a cool job to have. I decided to take a leap and bet on myself. It’s been going well, even through this.”

Bell uses a snowball maker he imported from New Orleans that shaves ice so fine it becomes like snow. When Bell adds the flavor picked by the customer, it’s absorbed into every flake so each bite has the same taste. The unique product has drawn rave reviews.

Bell has become well known throughout the metro area as he moves his food cart between local high schools and a number of other locations. He posts each day’s location on social media.

“This summer was our busiest summer to date,” Bell said.

This was the first crime Bell has encountered since opening his business. The cart was damaged in the incident. Bell plans to repair it and reopen in the near future.

“My food cart is a family-friendly business. Safety has always been my first priority,” said Bell.

“This was a random, senseless act. I plan to come back stronger and even more positive. In the meantime, I want to thank the people in law enforcement, medical services and everyone in the community who has reached out to me.”

Bell has supported his community since he opened, giving away gift cards and donating meals to essential workers and the homeless. He plans to continue that support when he reopens.

Anyone with information related to the shooting should contact the Portland Police Bureau.

Thanks to the Portland Police Bureau’s Public Information Office for this story.


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