‘Mercado’ celebrates third anniversary

If you still haven’t visited the Portland Mercado along Foster Road, take a look at what you’re missing at this unique outer East Portland spot …

Dining at the now-famous food carts at the Portland Mercado in the Foster-Powell neighborhood is just one of the activities available during the third anniversary celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

An area that was, for years, a used car lot at SE 72nd Avenue and Foster Road, began its transformation into a cultural hub for numerous small businesses, the Portland Mercado, in May of 2014.

> To see the groundbreaking ceremony take place, read our coverage: CLICK HERE.

That renovation took about a year, but the Portland Mercado opened officially on April 11, 2015, has been going strong ever since.

Watching people enjoy the day is what Portland Mercado Marketing & Event Coordinator Ambar Solarte says she enjoys.

“Today we have the celebration of the third year of the Portland Mercado,” said Marketing & Event Coordinator Ambar Solarte at the celebration fiesta held on April 7. “This is a huge celebration with music, activities for the kids,  and a lot of people coming and having fun!

The Latin rhythms of Tito Amaya y El grupo Latitudes musically entertains during the Portland Mercado’s anniversary fiesta.

“The Portland Mercado important because it is a hub, where people can meet, who come from different places across Latin America like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Columbia,” Solarte said. “Even more, this is a place to learn about different cultures, as our slogan says, ‘We are bridging cultures’, we love being part of the Portland community.”

Aspiring artist Andre Dorado enjoys making a masterpiece with fresh vegetable stencils and paint.

As many as 50 businesses have operated from the Mercado so far, including 19 permanent businesses – bringing together diverse cultures through food, art, and entertainment.

“Food continues to be our main entrepreneurial thrust, because we have a commercially-licensed food preparation kitchen,” Solarte told East Portland News.

Portland-Mercado-based pastry chef Coralina Nava of Vegan Pastry Shop shows some of the goodies she is letting visitors sample at the anniversary celebration.

Even more, the Mercado offers a “business incubator program” that provides new businesspeople with advice regarding finance, marketing, and licensing, to help them get a good start, she said. “People who shop at the Mercado are supporting the people who are working to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

To learn more about the Portland Mercado, go visit it; or, see the website: CLICK HERE.

Aven Raveaux and Aaron Guffey say they are enjoying their Latinx* dishes.

* Latinx: Relating to people, items or foods of Latin American origin or descent, used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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