City of Portland Begins Study of Farmers Markets
The Farmers Markets have just about wrapped up for the season. With record crowds this year (frankly it was sometimes beyond painful at the often overcrowded PSU market), and a number of new markets spread out through the neighborhoods, the City of Portland has decided to take notice. Armed with $100k, the Office of Sustainable Development has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to look at the “current state of farmers markets within Portland, and the potential for growth in this direct-market channel. The RFP will encompass the following four elements:
- The critical elements for an economically viable farmers market in Portland
- The potential for expansion of farmers markets in the City
- Potential strategies that will grow and enhance the direct-market channel
- the economic impact of farmers markets”
Of course the good old “we love open government” City of Portland makes you register and wait for approval as a vendor to even look at the RFP, so I couldn’t read it. I have to wonder why are they doing this now. Does this mean our city has finally gotten their heads out of the sand and are willing to lend a hand to this often under supported but important cultural and economic driver? Oh, and Office of Sustainable Development, it might benefit the public if you actually issued a press release or something and posted it on your website. You don’t want us to get our news from Bo Jack, do you? (just kidding Jack).
Strike Three in Portland Public Market Saga
In more political food news, Mike Thelin over at Willamette Week reports that the Portland Public Market (PPM) will not be moving forward (at least for now) with the Portland Development Commission (PDC) on the 511 Building. This is due to the PDC choosing to place their RFP on hold so that the Pacific Northwest College of Art can pursue getting the building directly from the Federal General Services Administration, who owns and controls the building. We think Mr. Thelin did a terrific job at summarizing and reporting on the series of events leading up to this recent decision change, and furthermore he offers a pretty compelling case for drumming up interest, vision, and the feasibility of a Public Market on the Central Eastside.
This recent change of events means the PPM has lost three potential sites in the past two years, and as of yet has not announced what they are planning to do next. Also, PPM, would you please update your website? It still says, “Given the support the Market has received from the adjacent neighborhoods, TriMet, POVA and many others, the chances appear strong that the Market, with Melvin Mark as a partner, will indeed have a legitimate chance to call the 511 Building its long-found home.” Sorry, but that just doesn’t reflect the recent turn of events that happened last week.
You know, I don’t always agree with Mr. Thelin, and he took a lot of grief over his last article about the PPM. But I have to give him credit for stepping up to the plate, and being the first reporter in town to bring up the same complex issues and questions that we have been hearing from Portland Food and Drink readers and those in Portland’s food scene for some time. That’s what good food journalism is all about, and we wish mainstream media outlets would do more.
Holiday Party from (Food Poisoning) Hell
Speaking of my favorite local politico crank blogger… Jack Bodanski over at bojack.org reports that about 30 people came down ill at a Port of Portland function last week. We wish all of those who were unlucky enough to get the nasty bug a speedy recovery. Readers, without looking first, can you guess the name of the restaurant where they got ill?