Moreland Farmers Market seeks new site in off-season
Since the Board of the nonprofit Moreland Farmers Market learned that the parking lot they've been using recently has been sold for development by the new owners of Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation – although that business remains under the same management – they've been looking for a new spot for next season.
At the October 19 general meeting of the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA) – formerly the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance (SWBA) – at SMILE Station, some 35 members and guests at the meeting heard about the progress of the search.
"We've been looking at many different locations to relocate the farmers market; many of the places we've looked at haven't panned out for us," conceded Market Manager Lannie Kali. "For example, we found that Portland Parks & Recreation is not interested in having a farmers market in any of their parks.
"We don't actually have a lot large enough in Sellwood or Westmoreland to contain our medium-size farmers market, common area, and parking; we also need electricity and running water – which really does narrow down the possibilities," said Kali. "We are working the Portland Bureau of Transportation to see which streets in the neighborhood might be able to be closed, and hopefully to partner with some of the businesses on that street to extend the market partly into a business and partly onto the street."
Being a mid-week market, finding sufficient space to host some 50 ten-by-ten-foot spaces is challenging, she said. "For example: We could use half of the Westmoreland Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, and part of the street [S.E. Claybourne] right next to it; we can't use the whole parking lot, because they're open for business," commented Kali.
Another space they're considering is at SMILE Station – closing the block of S.E. Tenino Street between 13th and 15th during market days. The SMILE Board is cautiously supportive, but there are residents living on both sides of that long block who would have to approve that idea.
"We're also looking other partnership opportunities in which we'd be able to promote both businesses," Kali added. "I'm quite certain we will find a space; right now, we are the point where we are looking at trying to see where we have the necessary support."