Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scene & Heard: Name Game & Another New Market

There's a certain sound to spring in Portland, and it's not just the new life busting out of the waterlogged soil or the buds exploding on every tree and bush. It's more like the thundering of a far-off cattle stampede, or the faint humming of the rails when a train is coming down the tracks.

That sound, of course, is the official opening day of the Portland Farmers' Market, and this year it's come unusually early. Which means that on Saturday, Mar. 20, you'll find a small city of tents popping up in the South Park Blocks before dawn, and by 8:30 an army of vendors will be inundated by shoppers driven to distraction with anticipation.

You've already read about the market's expansion and the rumors that have been swirling around its opening, along with the news about two new markets, one on Mondays in Pioneer Courthouse Square and the other on Thursdays at NW 23rd and Savier.

The other Thursday market, formerly known as Eastbank (thank you, Prince), which was initially renamed Hinson for the large Baptist church parking lot it occupies, has been re-renamed Buckman for the neighborhood that surrounds it. And the Wednesday market downtown is being rechristened Shemanski for the businessman who in 1926 donated the land for the park that contains it.

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The news is out that the Oregon City council has provided start-up funding for a mid-week evening farmers' market in the historic downtown core to complement the Saturday Oregon City Farmers' Market out at the county public service center. Even cooler is that the good citizens of that fair city are also going to be able to enjoy their market year-round.

The schedule right now is for the Saturday market on Kaen Road to run from 9 am to 2 pm starting May 1st with the mid-week market open Wednesdays starting May 5 from 3 pm to 7 pm at 8th and Main downtown. Are you with me so far? Because here's where it gets a little complicated: After the two markets shut down after the holidays, the Saturday market will move to the downtown market location and operate every other Saturday through the winter from 10 am till 2 pm.

And for those of you who love the "woo-woo," market manager Jackie Hammond-Williams informed me that after selecting the location at 8th and Main "because it just felt right," the board discovered old newspaper clippings describing a "producers market" that occupied that exact location in 1924. Yeah, I felt that chill, too.

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