Never heard of the James Beard Public Market? Well, it doesn’t exist. But that hasn’t stopped three decades of planners, dreamers, and food-conscious developers from trying to make it happen.
Born in the 1990s as a sort of Portland-ified Pike Place—with markets, restaurants, and public gathering spaces, and dedicated to Oregon’s most famous chef—it’s been searching for a home ever since. One booster in 1999 (1999) described it thusly: “A public farmers market ... [with] year-round anchor vendors, with the farmers coming in with their produce seasonally. The idea would be to bridge the agricultural world with city living and be an incubator for artisan food producers. We even dream of it having an urban winery and a brewpub!”
Imagine! An urban winery! And a brewpub! Potential locations have ranged from Ankeny Square to the Morrison Bridgehead to the Northwest Portland post office site. All, so far, have fallen through. So where should this foodie wonderland go? Ten suggestions above.