PCS Blog

Portland’s First Year-Round Public Market

Posted by Shana | 15 January 2013

Honoring the James Beard Legacy at Portland’s First Year-Round Public Market
Set to open in the next few years, the James Beard Public Market will be a daily, year-round, indoor-outdoor marketplace showcasing the region’s bounty while promoting community health, rural and urban economic development, neighborhood revitalization and tourism.


Around the world, public markets are unique spaces connecting food producers to consumers in a lively atmosphere that attracts both locals and tourists. Much like its contemporaries in Seattle (Pike’s Place Market), San Francisco (Ferry Building Marketplace) and Vancouver, B.C. (Granville Island Public Market), potential retailers of the James Beard Public Market include local food and beverage producers:


Why Name Portland’s Public Market For James Beard?
James Beard was many things to many people: a culinary giant, the father of American cooking, the author of 22 cookbooks and the pioneer of the television cooking show. After his death, his Greenwich Village home was transformed into a non-profit organization that promotes and preserves America’s culinary heritage. To cook at the Beard House and to win a James Beard Foundation Award are the most coveted achievements for an American chef.
But before James Beard was a national figure, he was a Portlander. Raised by a mother who was an excellent cook, he grew up on the culinary riches of the Northwest and he spoke often of his pleasure in visiting Portland’s public market stalls as a child.
While New York has embraced Beard, his hometown has yet to honor. Naming the city’s public market for James Beard will bring his legacy home at last.
In a unanimous vote this spring, Multnomah County Commissioners approved the sale of the west Morrison bridgehead property to Melvin Mark Development Company for the purpose of developing the James Beard Public Market. Under used for decades as surface parking, this site will provide the missing link between the downtown retail core and the waterfront, near where many of Portland’s historic markets were located.

The James Beard Public Market is a project of the Historic Portland Public Market Foundation, which grew out of a citizen task force convened in 2000. Portlanders from many walks of life met almost monthly for more than two years to create a vision for a public market in Portland. It was the strength of this vision that sustained the planning process for a decade.
Melvin Mark Companies, long known for its philanthropic and civic leadership, has partnered with the foundation to bring additional expertise to the project. The team includes the well-known and highly respected Portlander, Pete Mark. As an early proponent for and founding president of Pioneer Square, Pete helped launch and insure its early success. The Square, often referred to as Portland’s living room, was transformed from a parking lot into a vibrant public space. The James Beard Public Market will continue that tradition by transforming another parking lot, this time into Portland’s kitchen.
Click here for more information about the James Beard Public Market Foundation.

Comments (2)

Hi Barb,

Thank you so much for your interest! You can find out more about the James Beard Public Market at http://www.portlandpublicmarket.com/index.html.


Kinsley Suer, PCS

  • Kinsley Suer
  • 22 May 13 05:32

Where are you at in the process?  My understanding is that you have not closed on the sale yet and are in design review stage.  We are investing in the Portland area and are excited about this project but would like to know where we can follow the progress.  How far along are you and have you received the City approvals to begin development?

What is the estimated completion date of this project?

  • Barb Nystrom
  • seattle
  • 22 May 13 12:56

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