The Portland Public Market
is back, and coming to a City Club
near you, that is, if you happen to live in Portland, Oregon.
Portland Public Market Consulting Director and longtime chef and restaurateur Ron Paul
(no, not that Ron Paul
) and Park Kitchen
chef/owner and vice president of the rival Portland Farmers Market
Scott Dolich will fight to the death this Friday while a crowd of citizens and politicos ooh and ah over a lunch ($21) courtesy of Jake's Grill at the Governor's Hotel. (We're guessing it's a seafood lunch.) For $5, you may enjoy the panel over coffee. Regardless, the show starts at 12:15 in the afternoon. To register, call 503-228-7231.
For those who haven't read the paper for the past decade, or those who haven't been able to scrounge up the $50 to attend one of the local minor celebrity-studded market fundraisers, Paul and his PDX foodie stalwarts with names like Amelia Hard (formerly of Genoa) and Greg Higgins (duh), fancy the notion that a year-round public food market à la Pike Place or Granville Island would be a boon to the central city. The placement of said market in Ankeny Square seemed a sure bet until Tom Potter, in an unusual display of cojones
, shot the proposal down in Summer '06 and it appeared as dead as Robert Ball's political ambitions.
Then, this winter, Paul reemerged unscathed with his sites set on the the crown jewel of Old Town's many decrepit buildings: the iconic Union Station. The reasoning is this: The City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission have the civic responsibility to restore Union Station regardless of its use, and Paul and his friends see it as an opportunity to give the proposed market a historic home without having to spend millions in public funds on new construction.
Dolich, meanwhile, represents a farmers market that's one of the most happening and burgeoning in the country. While Paul and Company have been up to politicking, the farmers market in the South Park blocks has been drawing a half million visitors to downtown every year. As few are aware, the Portland Public Market and Portland Farmers Market have nothing to do with each other.
There are many examples of excellent markets in train terminals worldwide. Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market calls a train depot home, and it's probably the coolest in the country.
Later that evening, Paul and company will kick off a huge fundraising gala weekend as part of the James Beard Foundation's Taste America event. Only this Friday will $50 buy tipples and vittles by chefs named Paley, Higgins and Pence, and half of the proceeds will go toward the market effort. The Beard Foundation will sponsor symposiums and demonstrations throughout the weekend. For more info and reservations, visit portlandpublicmarket.com
or call 221-0480.