Saturday Market: in trouble?

On his blog, Jack Bogdanski raises the alert that Saturday Market may be in danger of getting shoved aside for a condo tower and a full-time, much slicker market.

The PDC bureaucrats say they're all ears, but it doesn't look to me like they're thinking elephant ears. In typical Orwellian fashion, they're calling this the "Saturday Market Permanent Home Open House." Excuse me, PDC underachievers, but the current location, now 28 years old, could be permanent, if you'd just let Portland be Portland and get some therapy for your severe condo fetish.

He's also got details on the public hearing TONIGHT. Head on over to

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    Why does Jack act like this is news? The movement of Fire HQ was ALWAYS supposed to be the spur for a redesign of Saturday Market as an integration with the condo/retail building(s) that would replace the current Fire station. If you click through to the comments at Jack's site, b!x links to the development plan. How is that "shoving it aside?" Is he saying he PREFERS the low rent carnival hobo atmosphere that you currently get by shopping under a urine-besoaked bridge? You don't have to necessarily sacrifice the character by sprucing up the physical plant and creating an ergonomic layout, as opposed to the hodgepodge of attractions spread out to accomodate things like train tracks and buildings and parking lots that get in the way.

    I hate to keep answering a one-note symphony with a different but equally simple aria, but geez--can anyone propose to do ANYTHING in Portland without getting shit on by Bogdanski?

    Lastly, to reference the other part of b!x's comment (I've been enjoined from adding to the discussion there; you can guess why), the station move isn't dead yet.

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    FWIW, most of the ideas surrounding a "move" of Saturday Market talk about keeping it in the same general area, the premise being that building a Portland Public Market and then having Saturday Market nearby will create a kind of "market district" in that part of town. I would tend to imagine that such a thing ultimately would be good for Saturday Market, not bad.

  • iggir (unverified)

    actually, the Oregonian had an article about this recently - unfortunately, because their website search is so shitty, i can't reference it.

    the article stated that the market was looking to move because the redesign of the entire area does not include space fore the's not just the FHQ that's being renovated, it's also the Skidmore Market building and possibly the New Market Theatre. the Big O also said this move would not happen until around '07, it at all.

    the PSM is internationally known. it's existence (and the existence of the parasitic, import market that dangles from it's SW side) depends largely on location and name recognition. could it survive outside of it's current location? maybe. could it exist without the traffic generated by the Max line? doubtful.

    the market is in trouble no matter what. attendance and revenues are down...couple that with the fact that the Repubs took over the board and have installed a flat fee system (akin to a flat tax, where the little artisan gets shafted). why do Republicans have to f**k everything up? (that was rhetorical btw)

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    PSM has steadfastly refused to change. It's been there 28 years, and it hasn't changed in 28 years. It has a calcified leadership and has contributed less and less to the community over the past decade or so. And it's not a nonprofit. I'm not sure that it's really getting the shaft so much as no longer getting the benefit of the doubt.

    It might be good for the Market to move from its current location and go across the river (there are still places near MAX it could go). I'm not even convinced it's such a hot location from the Market's perspective. A little change might do it good. Moreover, just because the PDC's involved doesn't make their reasoning bad. In that Oregonian article Iggi cited, a city commissioner observed (to paraphrase) "I love it on Saturday and Sunday, but I hate to see the space wasted the rest of the week." From the city perspective, that's not unreasonable.

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    Saturday Market won't get left out in the cold in this discussion. In fact, they've been involved from day one. I suppose that because the future is still unclear, though, it's natural for people to be nervous.

    Even without the proposed move of FS1, the Market's future wouldn't be crystal clear. The finances on the Skidmore Fountain Bldg., which Saturday Market purchased a few years ago, are not exactly rock solid, and stitching that safety net together in a way that helps or strengthens the market takes some doing.

    B!x is probably right that the redevelopment of the plaza would make it easier to help the Saturday Market. There are few different permutations, of course, which is why I think it makes sense to hear from the public.

    The Naitos own a lot of the land in the area, and there have been some changes in the ownership structure there. Looking to Waterfront Park as part of the mix implies a lot of conversations with the other users of the park and the stakeholders who developed the Waterfront Park master plan. The dozen or so races, like the Race for the Cure, need to be taken into account. Whether the Public Market will be funded, and how it might fit with the Saturday market, is another key question.

    I think one of the general messages that has gotten through to PDC recently is the need for good public process. I think it's a good thing that PDC is trying to check in as much as possible with Saturday Market fans and other Old Town residents and business owners. The options that they bring forward should be heavily informed by what people want. Then the trick is to apply those desires to the patchwork of real estate in the area.

    Feel free to contact me at Erik's office with your thoughts.

    Rich Rodgers Assistant to Erik Sten

  • noJack (unverified)

    Isn't it time to quit promoting boJack? Curmudgeonly behavior that occasionally overlaps with a progressive leaning shouldn't warrant such oracle-like status. And consorting with the likes of Phil Stanford ought to be enough to earn him a ban from bluOR.

  • The Hassalo Hammer (unverified)

    I second the motion on that crabass loser Bogdanski. Let's give him a one way ticket to Boise.

    At a minimum, keep his garbage off of this site. The libertarians and anti-Metro nuts can have their party over at his house. Good thing Costco sells lampshades in bulk.

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    Nice. Thanks, everybody, for the constructive input.

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    What BlueOregon might consider is not allowing personal attacks by the courageous types who proudly sign their names with nom de guerres like "noJack." Got something to say, put your name to it.

  • Anne Dufay (unverified)

    And consorting with the likes of Phil Stanford ought to be enough to earn him a ban from bluOR.<<<

    Ah. Black-listing someone for association with someone you don't like. Yes, that's a fine "progressive" stance. Not to mention, about as close-minded, narrow and weeny-chicken as one would hope "progressives" are not...

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    Dufay--I agree with you that personal attacks from anonymous trolls have no place here. But please don't confuse not printing one's real name, with not having a consistent, identifiable handle. The less my real name is bandied about the internet, the better IMO--and I'd expect most people with sense about personal security to think the same way. But as 'torridjoe,' people know where to find me and can tie my comments to each other.

    Jack--the crap you take is equal to the crap you make.

  • Karl (unverified)

    Jeff,The Saturday Market has been in old town for 31 years. If you don't think it has changed in 28 years, my guess is that you probably haven't been there in 28 years. There's plenty of change. My booth and wares are changing all the time. This crappy economy has brought in alot of new blood, especially the last few years. Most of the older artists keep evolving.

    With yearly elections, our leadership is in a constant state of flux. It's true that most vender don't pay that close attention unless there are serious things going on. We once caused a Whole board to resign when they made a huge decision whithout vender input. You'd better believe that the venders are paying attention now.

    It seems to me that we have been doing more and more community involvement things over the last few years above and beyond bringing several thousand oregonians and tourists into old town every week end March thru December.

    Yes, we are a non-profit. Is that supposed to be a negative? We are a non-profit that provides a structure for hundreds of little for profit businesses. I can't think of a better example of what "Free Enterprise" should be.

    Really Jeff, you should come back down to the Saturday Market and see what's really going on. 28 years is too long.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Saturday Market is local color. Saturday Market adds retail diversity. Saturday Market is low budget. Saturday Market should be protected from being "improved" out of existence.

  • Dare!StumpTown (unverified)

    The big issue with Saturday Market's proposed change is who is proposing it.

    From what I've seen (and yes I've looked) the PDC spent thousands creating a report about moving Saturday Market, had meetings on the subject, consulted potential developers of the surrounding area - all before talking with the community. The ball is in play before the other team was allowed to suit up.

    The PDC has a recent history of actually hatching conspiracies. They have broken any level of trust with the citizens of Portland. Many people in Portland have long standing memories and associations with the Saturday Market. For many people it is the only reason to go downtown and the only reason to use lightrail.

    When you go messing around with peoples' nastalgia and there is a trust issue your going to see a back lash. Jack realizes this mistrust, shares in this mistrust, and is warning the public early.

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    Rich writes The dozen or so races, like the Race for the Cure, need to be taken into account. Whether the Public Market will be funded, and how it might fit with the Saturday market, is another key question.

    I'm not sure what the street races have to do with this. My wife and I did both the Race for the Cure and walked the Bridge Pedal, and, after the latter, went to the Bite for lunch and wine tasting. The races bring thousands --if not tens of thousands-- of folks to downtown which seems mostly a good thing.

    I'd really like to hear, though, why funding a Public Market is a priority when we've got a pretty good bunch of local farmers markets --and very good stores-- already meeting market demand.

    Yamhill Market's recent markets did not survive, and Portland's history of a Public Market on Front Ave destroyed what had been thriving central city businesses in the 1930s and 1940s. Pike's Place is a fun place to go in Seattle, but it's had ups and downs as well, and the locals don't really shop there for their veggies and tossed salmon.

  • Ptown Dare (unverified)

    Check out BoJack's recent posters. Many are actual vendors from Saturday Market.

    They are not excited about this proposed move.

    Pay attention. Portland's condomania (thats what Tom McCall would have called it) is giving away our school's budget faster than the economy can grow it. Soon the PDC is going to drink this down with a phony, false, saturday maket prop chaser. The "open-air market" worthy of a Disney prop will then disapear a few years later without much note, kind of like our port and intermodel industry.

  • Diane Tweten (unverified)

    I have been very involved in this whole subjects for a couple of years now and wanted to add a couple of things that haven't been mentioned. A public space/public market is not the same as a retail space and if you use the same retail logic in changing a public space you will probably 'kill it'. (Project for Public Spaces) has a report funded by the Ford Foundation which gives a lot of detail from people going to public markets about why they go there. From the surveys I've been doing at PSM, it very much says the same thing. People go for people-watching, atmosphere and 'hanging out', as well as, to buy arts and crafts, eat and listen to music (which is also part of it). 'Price' as a reason to go, is down on the list. In San Francisco they started doing an 'Asian Night' in Chinatown to create public events. 25% of the people participating (jugglers, new artists...) don't pay a fee at all. They do this to create the atmosphere by having a diversity of artists, knowing that it's hard to live on that income. The report recognizes the need for the artists to be able to live on it, for them to even participate. S.F. subsidizes this 1-night event from May-Nov. for $200,000/yr. PSM on the other hand has never depended on subsidies and has paid rent on space that was otherwise unused, thus, giving those owners and the city revenue from approx. 1,000,000 visitors a year using the transit systems, paying for parking. The change to a flat fee will undermine the creation of "atmosphere" by no longer encouraging new and small artists and adding diversity (the S.F. way is another way to do this).

    <h2>The offerings at our booth have changed over the years and our sales have gone up in the last 5 yrs. over the previous 5 yrs. Do people drive from Eugene, Ashland, Seattle to go to Pioneer Place (another PDC project)? I had people in my booth today from these places who come several times a year and are upset about a potential move. The PDC isn't oriented towards 'public spaces' and I find this to be a concern. From reading weblogs and rankings on places like citysearch, Pioneer Place is mentioned as 'yet another mall'. In order to protect what we have, I think it first takes really understanding what it is and realizing that there isn't any other 30 yr, arts and crafts market that has supported itself without subsidies. Buying the Skidmore Building was a rather wild fantasy and an attempt to try to control our own destiny that didn't pan out.</h2>

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