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'I expected less, and this has blown me away': Portland Saturday Market kicks off new season

After a rough spell for downtown Portland, the return of Portland Saturday Market is welcome news for many.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Saturday Market is back, with a new season kicking off on Saturday, March 5, and so far so good. 

Visitors and vendors told KGW they were excited about the turnout on the sunny afternoon. 

"I couldn't be happier. I expected less. I really didn't have any expectations - and this has blown me away," said Market manager Diana Gladden.

"We had guests and visitors that have stopped by the info booth, pulled us aside and said - we are so glad that you're here," Gladden said.

More than 150 artisans set up booths to sell their handcrafted works, including Sienna. 

"My style is like pointillism where artists draw entirely with dots. I instead draw with data. I call the technique numberism," she said, showing one of her pieces. "This is the most complicated piece I've ever made. It's drawn with mechanical properties for tendon, muscle and bone."

Like many, she called the Portland Saturday Market a foundation of her business, a benefit to her financially and creatively. 

"I moved to Portland to be a part of Portland Saturday Market," she said. "I was originally living in Arizona, and we had art fairs that were scattered across time, but this was the first one I saw that was open air and going on most of the year."

Gladden said in 2022, the Market is scaling back up after a long pandemic. They not quite ready for a two-day operation each weekend, but they are hopeful that could soon become reality, she said. 

"I've had tears in my eyes a couple of times because I didn't expect the support that I got and I thought that I was gonna be met with a lot of trouble," she said, "There's so much to do downtown that really needs Portland to return to Portland."


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