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Portland’s Marvelous New Million Dollar Public Market opened on Dec. 14, 1933. The building ran 620 feet along Front Street between the Hawthorne and Morrison bridges and it was equal to eleven stories high, with 220,000 square feet of floor space for approximately 200 merchants.  


The Market was made up of concessions and stalls for groceries, produce, meats, fish, poultry, flowers, tea, tobacco, candy, preserves, prepared foods, dairy foods and baked goods. While the main floor catered solely to the shopper’s food needs, the mezzanine was reserved exclusively for specialty and personal service shops including household goods, barbers, beauticians, optometrists, dentists, typists, dry cleaners and a gas station.


When shoppers were finished, the market’s passenger elevator awaited to take them either to the roof where their cars, groceries and attendant awaited them, or, if they did not feel like going home just yet, they could visit the market’s 500-seat auditorium to watch domestic demonstrations of all sorts given from a modern kitchen set up on stage


This view shows the Public Market shortly after opening. In the lower right section there is a sign for Taylor's Meat Shoppe. By 1937, the Market had filled 90% of the vendor space.


After several successful years, the Market began to struggle in the late 1930's to keep customers and vendors.  In 1942, the Portland Public Market closed.


In 1943, the building was leased to the U. S. Navy


In 1948, the Oregon Journal Newspaper called the Market Building home. After many bitter years of strikes at Portland’s two largest daily newspapers, the Journal was bought by S.I. Newhouse, who owned The Oregonian in the 1960’s. The Journal’s operations were absorbed into the Oregonian’s Plant. In 1969, the Public Market Building  was demolished to make way for McCall Waterfront Park.

Last updated 04-14-17

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