Saturday Market move: A done deal?
Here in Portland, when the politicians and bureaucrats ask what you want, there's always that nagging feeling, borne out by countless experiences, that the question you're spending all your energy arguing about has already been decided. Some rich guys are going to get richer, and something you love about the city is about to disappear in the process.
For example, there's been a lot of discussion, here and elsewhere, about the proposal to move the Portland Saturday Market out of its 28-year home under the Burnside Bridge. The Portland Development Commission last week solicited our votes on possible new locations for the weekend craftsfest, with leaving it in its current location one of the options we could vote on.
But is that really an option? The last newspaper story I saw on the market last week made it sound as though the move was a foregone conclusion. It described the situation this way:
The committee, which met Thursday, was formed to find a permanent home for the crafts market, which is currently held most weekends on a patchwork of leased land under the Burnside Bridge. The Saturday Market must move to make room for new development along Northwest Naito Parkway.I'm not sure whether to trust the O's story. For one thing, I thought that the development that's being talked about for the market site -- condos and a 7-day-a-week public market of some kind -- would be along Southwest Naito, not Northwest.
But on the more important question of whether the move is to take place, perhaps the reporter got it right. Perhaps some PDC or city staffer was being uncharacteristically honest about the current status of the project. With all the talk of leaving the market in its current place, the reality may be that the decision has already been made to uproot it. In that case, the remaining discussion is the usual window dressing of fake public involvement.
That would certainly be consistent with the PDC's modus operandi on the Burnside Bridgehead project, where public process was an obvious sham. It would also be consistent with the City Council's process on the South Waterfront/OHSU Aerial Tram scam, which appeared to have been decided in favor of the developers in a back room long before the final votes were cast in City Hall.
For what it's worth, the official propaganda received from the PDC this week hints that the market will move either across Naito to Waterfront Park, or into a new configuration that somehow combines part of the current location with some space in the park. A block near the Greyhound bus station and Union train station is still being studied, albeit to a lesser extent, as is space under the Morrison Bridge. And oh yes, staying in the current location is still on the official list:
More than 400 Portland residents and Saturday Market visitors and vendors took time to offer their ideas and concerns regarding the seven sites being considered. Your comments have been reviewed and summarized and will be posted on the PDC and Saturday Market websites next week. This input was also presented to a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) on November 17. The SAC relied heavily on the public input in making its recommendation to narrow the study from seven to three sites: Waterfront Park (D), at or near the Current Location (E), and an option looking at a combination of D and E. The SAC included two additional sites that they want to investigate further: U & R Blocks (A) and Morrison Bridge Blocks (F).The map is here.