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James Beard Public Market May Have a New Portland Home

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It’s a 16-acre site owned by OMSI

The now-scrapped preliminary design of the James Beard Public Market
James Beard Public Market

The James Beard Public Market sent ripples through Portland last month when it declared it was pulling out of its long-ago-announced location at the head of the Morrison Bridge downtown. Now a recent news announcement shows the hotly anticipated marketplace actively pursuing a 16-acre site owned by OMSI, near the east end of Tilikum Crossing.

Published November 29, the news update says the “new path to grow the market on the central east side” was “an offer we simply could not refuse.” “Our many supporters enthusiastically favor it as a real boost to our plans,” adds Fred Granum, Executive Director of the James Beard Public Market, in the article.

OMSI has selected the Norwegian design firm Snohetta to develop the site — the same team hired by the James Beard Public Market to design its Morrison Bridge location. Snohetta has designed things like the Oslo Opera House and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion. It isn’t expected to draft a plan until spring 2017. If you’d like to support the market, it’s currently seeking donations.

Will the 16-acre riverfront property near OMSI be the best site for a elaborate food mecca? That area of Portland is definitely short on food options, and OMSI is one of the city’s biggest draws, tourism-wise, so the market would likely have a built-in customer base. Additionally, the nearby warehouse area is a hotbed of food artisan activity, potentially providing the marketplace with the opportunity to feature these food artisans in its stalls.

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