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October 9th, 2005
PSM, PDC and The Oregonian

Interesting (if you could call it that) article in the Oregonian today about the Portland Saturday Market, and the PDC’s plans that call for us moving elsewhere.

What can I say? I’d like to shoot the reporter who kept referring to the market as the place for “spoon art and elephant ears,” as if we’re just a jokey, circus-y market. The whole tone had a slightly sneering attitude – no mention of how much sales take place at the market (it’s in the millions, if I recall) and the fact that that money stays in the local community because we live and shop here. No mention that our artists and craftsfolk are truly amazing – and well known in their circles. No mention that the range of products is mindboggling – paintings, photography, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, recycled art… it goes on and on.

The articles makes it sound like we’re all starving and by implication, should get real jobs. Many of the vendors make a pretty nice living from their art, and the market is a large component of their income (the rest being other retail and wholesale). Take away the market or cause it to fail, and you financially ruin these folks – members of YOUR community.

Yes, the site isn’t ideal – it’s not a place I’d hang out after dark or even a place I’m particularly comfortable being in daylight during the week. But let me tell you, tourists drive sales at the market, not local people. Move it, and there is no way to inform all those hotel desk clerks and travel websites of our new location. We’ll lose that tourists component and the market will fail. Yes, I am one of those who believes the market will fail if it is moved. I don’t believe that the PDC values the market, and by the tone of the article, I think it was written to downplay our importance to Portland, and downplay our value and quality as a Portland destination.

After all, we’re just that market with “spoon art and elephant ears.”

Posted by Claire at 08:18 AM | Portland | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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