Fiesta marks Mercado’s 4th year

See the celebration in outer East Portland at the as the Portland Mercado enters its fourth year …

In the Foster-Powell neighborhood, the Portland Mercado celebrates the fourth anniversary of its opening.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In May of 2014, upon an abandoned used car lot in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, at SE Foster Road and 72nd Avenue, Hacienda Community Development Corporation started a year-long effort to create what they named Portland Mercado.

> To witness their groundbreaking ceremony of this new cultural center,
way back then, read our coverage of that event: CLICK HERE.

-2 Dancers from the Perú Baila Así dance group perform energetically.

Since it officially opened on April 11, 2015, and through its entrepreneurship and cultural programs, the Portland Mercado has supported the launch and growth of over a hundred small businesses in Portland.

The success of the Portland Mercado was evident at the fiesta held on May 25.

Pausing during their fiesta celebration for a photo are Portland Mercado Director Shea Flaherty-Betin and Communication & Event Manager Ambar Solarte.

“Today, we’re celebrating the ‘aniversario cuatro’ – our fourth anniversary – of the transformation of this corner into a place where we’re elevating small businesses by giving opportunities for Latinx entrepreneurs to succeed,” smiled Portland Mercado Director Shea Flaherty-Betin.

Crafting clay in the Kids’ Crafts area is Brie Hall.

“This year’s theme, ‘Dream 4 More’, honors our community’s challenges, successes, and unstoppable drive towards building better lives for those we love,” Flaherty-Betin told East Portland News. “This is the Mercado’s biggest annual event – where families, friends, and community come together to enjoy live music, drinks, art, and authentically diverse flavors.”

The Mercado is more than the food carts visible from Foster Road, Flaherty-Betin pointed out. “We have 19 businesses operating on-site; and 70 other businesses are operating from our affordable commercial kitchen here. And then, in our advising and mentoring program, as many as 60 businesses are receiving technical assistance!”

Enjoying Portland Mercado food is Ian Hunter and Abigail Leonard, who is holding Ellis.

At the celebration, guests were enjoying Latinx food that Flaherty-Betin said can’t be found anywhere else in Portland – including Puerto Rican, Cuban, Peruvian, Brazilian, and Columbian dishes, while listening to music and watching dance performances.

At a conservative estimate, based on sales alone, he said the Mercando’s operations represent about $1 million a year economic impact. “We see this economic impact trickling back into the community with jobs, opportunities and the opportunity to have businesses.

The Portland Mercado plaza is crowded with people celebrating during their annual fiesta.

“So that’s why, today, we’re having this day-long party to celebrate with our community, and share our culture with our neighborhood,” Flaherty-Betin beamed.

Find out more about the Portland Mercado by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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