Portland Saturday Market is the latest local institution asking for the public's help to secure its future as it prepares to resume operations.
The nonprofit that runs the country's largest continuously operating outdoor shopping emporium just launched its first GoFundMe campaign, with a $150,000 goal. With the market reopening on April 17, organizers say that money will allow them to cover fixed monthly expenses, including rent, insurance and utilities throughout its run this year.
"Saturday Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of Portland, drawing up to 1 million people and, in a normal year, annual sales of $12 million," executive director Howie Bierbaum said in a press release. "Something with this much heart and personality, that's also an economic driver for our city and key to its revival, deserves to thrive."
Last March, just as vendors were kicking off the 2020 season, the market was forced to shut down due to COVID-19. Shopping resumed in June once Multnomah County moved into Phase 1 of Gov. Kate Brown's reopening plan, with fewer booths to keep people safely spaced apart. It was also only open on Saturday rather than the entire weekend.
The market suffered significant losses once again in September, when smoke from the state's historic wildfires triggered another round of closures. The combined hits caused overall operations to plummet by more than 75% from a typical year.
Despite those losses, there is renewed optimism as Saturday Market gears up to launch its 48th season next month. You can expect to find long-standing favorite artists and crafters as well as popular food carts tucked in between Waterfront Park and Skidmore Fountain.
Only half of the typical 250 vendors will be able to return due to continued pandemic safety precautions. All of them are required to wear masks, facial coverings are strongly encouraged for visitors, and you can expect an abundance of hand sanitizer stations throughout the market.