The Public Market board is currently focusing on a parcel of Multnomah
County-owned property at the west end of the Morrison Bridge. The
nearly three-block-long parcel is currently a parking lot, but
has great potential due to its riverfront position, central location
and access to public transportation. It’s also the largest
and most flexible space the Public Market has considered, where
all the functions of the Market can be accommodated in structures
built specifically to suit them.
The Public Market is collaborating with world class Portland developer
and property owner Melvin Mark to propose building a high-rise
tower with the market based on the ground floor and in two adjacent
pavilions. Known for charitable contributions and activism, Mark
has been instrumental in driving forward a variety of prominent
projects, among them, Pioneer Courthouse Square, the restoration
of the Multnomah County Library and the Portland Art Museum. The
highly regarded architectural firm of SERA Architects, in collaboration
with architect and urban design expert Joseph Readdy, will propose
designs for the Market and the tower. Multnomah County is expected
to issue a Request for Information in August 2009, to which the
Public Market development team will respond.
Previously, the Foundation had set its sights on the Federal Building
at 511 NW Broadway (also known at the time as the INS Building).
In September of 2007, Melvin Mark Development and SERA Architects
contacted the Market about becoming the anchor tenant in their
redevelopment of the 511 NW Broadway Building. Their efforts to
secure that site were superseded by the Pacific NW College of Art's
successful bid for an educational use transfer, an option not available
to the Market.
Two other sites have been seriously considered: Ankeny Square
and Union Station.
With the encouragement
of the Portland Development Commission, in 2003 the Public Market
board began a two-year, in-depth
of the feasibility of siting the Market at Ankeny Square; but just
as plans for revitalizing the entire Ankeny Square area reached
their conclusion, city leaders unilaterally decided to keep the
Fire Station where it is and not to move it three blocks north.
With the fire station remaining in place, the Market’s opportunities
at Ankeny Square summarily disappeared.
Then, in 2006, the Market
explored the possibility of using Union Station, with architects
Joseph Readdy and Peter Meijer conducting
a fatal flaw analysis of that grand 1897 icon. The analysis articulated
significant challenges for the Market sharing space with Amtrak
while they continued to use the train station. The $40 million
necessary to renovate the depot proved daunting, as did the operational
compromises that Union Station would require the Public Market
of these efforts will be most welcome! Please talk with friends
and neighbors about the importance of the full-time, year-round
James Beard Public Market, and share your ideas by emailing Ron
Paul at [email protected].