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Monday, August 21, 2006

Saturday, in the park?

Today's O tells us that the Saturday Market vendors are o.k. with a slight move, out from under the Burnside Bridge and up the street a ways or over to Waterfront Park. There are still other new locations on the table as well, and staying put seems a lost cause.

Apparently a couple of votes this week will really put the train on the tracks. But this is one of those done deals where no single moment of decision will probably ever be apparent.

Comments (1)

Playing devil's advocate, after a fashion, I'll say this: With as nasty of a hellhole the current location is at least five days out of the week, any improvement is good improvement. I take the MAX through there every day and it just makes me cringe.

Is moving Saturday Market to make room for "New Project Du Jour" the answer? Maybe, maybe not. But it's AN answer, and it beats doing nothing.

Posted by: GreyDuck at August 21, 2006 09:55 AM

I worry about dedicated park space being Leased as an alternative to other open space, so that that open space can be developed.

It is a net loss of public open space.

Right on the water Saturday Market would not be sheltered like it is, tucked under the burnside bridge. Summer would be fine, but the elements particularly wind can be stiff along the river in the off season, and the building of shelter seemed iffy.

But if the "new" Saturday market location fails because it is blown away, it will pave the way for the new Public Market they want so bad.

Posted by: Swimmer at August 21, 2006 10:06 AM

If I were the vendors, I wouldn't trust the PDC as far as I could throw them.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 21, 2006 10:20 AM

Saturday Market dug themselves into a deep hole by buying the Ankeny Plaza building, and now they cannot service the debt. The Market needs to move or it will die. The Market brings back fond memories to those long time Portlanders who recall its beginning in the 1970s, but the reality is that the market has fallen behind the times, failed to modernize and adapt.

Folks here may sniff at urban renewal, but I don't think anyone can deny that the area around the Burnside Bridge has tons of unmet potential and is in dire need of rehabilitation. With the ongoing renovation of the Norcrest China building for U of O's satellite campus, this is a good time to settle the Saturday Market issue.

Too bad the fire station move got mishandled.

Posted by: john at August 21, 2006 10:47 AM

If I were the vendors, I wouldn't trust the PDC as far as I could throw them.

And if I weren't the vendors, I wouldn't trust the PDC as far as I could throw them.

Posted by: John Rettig at August 21, 2006 12:28 PM

And if I weren't the PDC, I wouldn't trust the vendors to throw them.

Posted by: Allan L. at August 21, 2006 02:17 PM

I don't know. The market looks pretty friggin succesful. Everytime I go there its packed regardless of the weather. If the market would bend its rules and incorporate a few non-craft booths it probably would really do well.

I just don't trust the whole tone of this move though. Every planner I've talked to mentions that the Natio's can't be expected to subsidize the market with their free space. Then I talk to the vendors down there at Saturday Market and they express the opposite that they don't understand why the move must take place.

Overall it just doesn't feel or smell right at all. For decades this urban market has been one of the few reasons people headed into old town. By removing it I can't help but think it will set back the planners supposed stated goals (though condos no doubt will be built).

Posted by: DarePDX at August 21, 2006 04:40 PM

When they solicited public input, I suggested moving it over to the Memorial Coliseum. It's indoors, has ample parking, and gets that eyesore out from public view.

Posted by: Hinckley at August 21, 2006 06:18 PM

It's nice the "O" has this all worked out. The PSM Board meeting isn't until Tuesday and many of the membership thinks the 'new homesite' decision should be a member decision, not just a Board one.

Parks still hasn't told us what it will cost to use their space. We still don't have a definite time-line for the improvements. The windbreaks are still up in the air. We don't know if we'll be able to run electricity in the Park and what about the restrooms we installed a few years back? How can we make any plans or decide on any of PDC's options?

Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market is the longest running outdoor craft market in the country. We (approx 400 small businesses) pay thousands of dollars a year in Portland business taxes. We are responsible for thousands of visitors to Old Town and lots of parking meter fees on Saturdays. We bring a lot of visitors to the city. The city gets rent on some of the space we use.

We bought the Skidmore building based on promises from city agencies that were never fulfilled. If they had been...sigh... Part of the arguement for buying the Skidmore was to make us landowners in the neighborhood so we couldn't be squeezed out in case of some new development scheme. A lot of good that has done. It's too bad so many Market members are new (within the last 7-8 years) and don't have a feel of the history of the Market yet, and don't realize PDC's creative financing history.

Many of the people the Market has been working with (PDC, various planners) don't realize there are two markets in the area. Portland Saturday(Sunday too) Market is on the East side of the MAX tracks (except for our restrooms and info booth. The New Market Theater Market is on the west side. Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market has handcrafts and services offered by the artist. (You have to make it yourself in order to be able to sell it.) New Market has different rules and allows imports. Some of the planners will be mighty surprised when they get us moved and then realize there are still 100 or so booths set up where they thought it would be empty.

If we move into Waterfront Park the (almost weekly) races held downtown will either have to be rerouted or will run through the middle of the Market. Other park activities will also have to be moved. There will have to be some method for customers to cross Naito Parkway all weekend. No one in Parks or PDC has yet come up with a figure of what this will all cost, who's going to pay, or indeed if it is even possible.

If the cost to PSM is too high we'll lose a lot of vendors. Our fees are about as high as a lot of the Membership can handle. If we lose too many members the Market will die, and PDC will assure everyone they didn't kill us.

I'm not sure where 'Naito's free space subsidy' is. I know we rent a lot from them at more than $50,000 per year. If they'd sell it to us for a reasonable amount, instead of holding out for some condo, we could stay put.

No matter what happens to us the look during the week will be changing as soon as the University gets going in January 2008. They will have people in the area where the homeless are now sleeping.

Most of the other vendors/members I have talked too would like to stay where we are and have been for the last 30 years. It would be nice if the city would occasionally paint under the bridge, but we have done that a time or two, as well as fixing the major leaks in the bridge. It would be nice if the city cleaned the lots, but again, it's something we decided, years ago, to do ourselves.

Write to the 'O' and support the market staying where it is. Maybe with enough Portlander's input, the Mayor's office will act in our favor.

Posted by: Deb at August 21, 2006 06:46 PM

"vendors are ok with a slight move"


We are NOT All o.k. with a "slight move"
Whoever wrote the article is sadly misinformed.


How much is this going to cost us?
I think that the general public is under the impression that most of us come down, throw up a tent and all is well. I paid over $3000.00 to the Market in fees last year. This does not include the cost of materials that I must purchase every week. Then of course packaging and office related materials,, oh, there is the $800.00 or so I pay for my visa machine etc....
I feel comfortable when saying that there are a large number of vendors at or near the breaking point as far as fees go.
The PDC meeting last week was a joke! There was supposed to be a question and answer period at the end but since the PARKS DEPARTMENT guy showed up late,, we really didn't have any opportunity to voice concerns. When a few peolple were able to get a question in, we were told "We'll work that out later".
More time was spent on showing us different pavement samples, yes ,FREAKIN pavement samples, than answering important questions! Who the hell gives a rats ass about pavement samples! The meeting pretty much ended right then and there for me!

Posted by: Pissed off Vendor at August 22, 2006 09:08 AM

Dear Pissed off,

Just curious who the Parks District guy was that showed up late.

Posted by: Swimmer at August 22, 2006 09:13 AM

Deb is not correct. No "races" use the Esplanade. Races are not allowed to--they have to use Front Ave.

The Naitos have significant interests throughout Old Town. They almost singlehandedly revived the area long before the much maligned developers were out of their diapers. I don't think it's fair to put the Naitos in the same category.

It is quite possible that their definition of "reasonable" and Deb's are quite different. If you think Old Town is doing just fine, I encourage you to take a walk from 6th and Burnside into Chinatown and turn east at any point. There are numerous empty storefronts. Old Town is in trouble. A weekend crafts maket just ain't gonna cut it. There is a Max stop right there and almost zero development. Are we all comfortable with the current state of Old Town--basically a skid row + a cheesy market at Skidmore + Saturday Market? Or can it be something better?

Any impact of the new U of O relocation would be exactly the same if the market were across the street.

Yes, there would have to be a dedicated crossing. It will be called a stop light.

Posted by: john at August 23, 2006 04:30 PM

John- I did not say the races were in the esplanade. They run right down Naito many Sundays throughout the spring and summer.

Naito is the street that divides the 2 areas that Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market is now supposed to use.

Naito used to be called Front Ave.

"The Naitos have significant interests throughout Old Town. They almost singlehandedly revived the area long before the much maligned developers were out of their diapers. I don't think it's fair to put the Naitos in the same category."

Who's putting Naito's in the 'maligned developers' catagory? Are you trying to put words in my mouth/fingertips? Nope, that's you, John.

Naito's have been a partial landlord of the Market for years. Bob Naito was once an At-Large Board Member of the Market. As I said before, if they would sell their lot to us instead of holding out for someone who will build on it, we would own some of the space we now rent and could stay where we are. My idea of 'reasonable' is something we could afford, without the 'must build' restriction.

Shoot, if Tri-Met can give--'er sell land for $1, I'd think that it would be very reasonable if Naito's could do it too. ;> But, of course, they do have the right to look out for their many year's investment in the lot and the area.

"walk from 6th and Burnside into Chinatown and turn east at any point. There are numerous empty storefronts"

While this may be true, it has nothing to do with the Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market which is (and has been for the last 30 years) located under the Burnside Bridge, stretching to include Ankeny Park, between 1st and Naito. A weekend Market has nothing to do with empty buildings during the week. We artists and handcrafters have to have the weekdays to produce our arts/crafts, so we have something to sell on weekends.

"Any impact of the new U of O relocation would be exactly the same if the market were across the street."

Pretty much what I said. The U will change the atmosphere during the week and the homeless will have to find a new place to sleep. Since Portland is sadly lacking in resourses for these citizens, it will be interesting to see where they go. Hopefully they will find a location where someone will clean the area once a week, as the Market has done for the last 30 years.

"Yes, there would have to be a dedicated crossing. It will be called a stop light."

A dedicated crossing with a light has been discussed. Right now there is major work being done on Naito. As it was being started, our Market manager asked if speed bumps could be installed. He was told that the work was already planned and budgeted for and did not include speed bumps. If 'they' can't change a plan before it is started to include something as minor as speed bumps, how can we expect to see a 'dedicated crossing' on a street where more than a year's worth of work has been done?

Posted by: Deb at August 25, 2006 12:15 PM

John said "but the reality is that the market has fallen behind the times, failed to modernize and adapt".....
You are absolutely right! I am a PSM vendor and am willing to pay higher fees for an updated market. There are many vendors at the Market that feel Old Town needs to be revitalized and spiffing up the Market is a great start. We are looking forward to these "winds of change"!
Pissed off vendor and deb do not reflect the views of all PSM vendors.

Posted by: PSM Vendor at August 25, 2006 06:18 PM

John said "but the reality is that the market has fallen behind the times, failed to modernize and adapt".....

But we did 'modernize'. We hauled out the old restrooms and have 2 modern restrooms with hot water and flush toilets. And 30+ years at that location has been a weekly oportunity to adapt to the elements and the neighbors. ;>

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit a weekly 'art market' in the Palm Springs area. Very nice, very upscale, very expensive. Items that would sell at Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market for $20 were priced upward of $200. There was no family atmosphere. It would have been hard to find 'gifts from my travels' at a price most of my customers would be willing to spend. But it was a very nice, classy setup.

That is not what the Portland Saturday (Sunday too) Market ever set out to be. Our current Mission Statement: "The mission of the Portland Saturday Market is to provide an environment that encourages the economic and artistic growth of emerging and accomplished artisans. Central to this mission shall be to operate a marketplace. That marketplace, and other market programs, shall honor craftmanship, design innovation, marketing ethics, and authenticity of product." We've had other mission statements over the years, some I've liked better, but this is OK, and does stress the opportunity available for the beginning artist or craftsman. There are very few places you will find where a person can offer their art/craft to the public with costs as low as PSM has managed to hold them. It is important to not let the costs raise out of the reach of the beginning artist/craftsman. And, of course, a raise in our fees just gets passed on to the public, as with any other retail business.

There are plenty of venues to sell art at higher fees. But PSM never set out to be a 'Gallery on the Mall'.

I'm glad that PSM Vendor is able and willing to pay higher fees. I doubt they stood up at the last membership meeting and said so. I doubt they are willing to help out their neighboring vendor by paying part of their fees. I wonder what their contribution to 'spiffing up the Market' has been.

I think Pissed off Vendor and I are both saying the same thing, and PSM Vendor is trying to make it into an arguement where there isn't one.

It's not that we don't want to see an improvement in the area, but that we don't like the secretive methods being employed, the attitude that this move into the park is a 'done deal' before we have any idea of the costs involved, or the timeline that will be expected, before the Parks Department has even agreed that it is 'doable'. Or the feeling that we have been 'railroaded' into a move so that someone can turn our (completely self-suffecient) 30+ year location into personal profit using public funds.

Posted by: Deb at August 27, 2006 12:27 PM

we have been 'railroaded' into a move so that someone can turn our (completely self-suffecient) 30+ year location into personal profit using public funds

That's a given. That's why this whole conversation is going on.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 27, 2006 12:36 PM

I gotta wonder how the PDC became so powerful and why Portlanders let it continue.

I don't live in Portland, but I'd be mighty unhappy (even more than I already am) to see my tax $$'s at work like this. Hundreds of (wo)man hours making plans and holding meetings where nothing is accomplished except for the original goal being pushed through.

It feels like the PDC kept holding meetings and saying the same thing until they wore everyone else down. Then they release the 'news' to the 'O' (several days before the votes are taken) that the problems are all solved.

OK, a decision has been made - I'm gonna have to somehow live with it - but since I don't have millions of someone else's dollars at my disposal, it would be nice to have at least some idea of how much is supposed to come out of my pocket to finance this dream of theirs. I still have taxes, business licenses, and hundreds of other business expenses to deal with before I can make my house payment and feed my kids.

Posted by: Deb at August 27, 2006 03:03 PM

I still have taxes, business licenses, and hundreds of other business expenses to deal with before I can make my house payment and feed my kids.

That doesn't matter in Stenland. Go by streetcar!

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 27, 2006 10:24 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
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