April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log


Questions? Comments? Reservations?
anotherportlandblog[at]gmail[dot]com

Another Portland Blog

Thursday, June 15, 2006

 

Little Italy in Portland?

I've been living in the dark these past few months. I cancelled my subscription to the Oregonian, thinking I could instead navigate its free, labyrinthine website for its coverage instead of shelling out $14 a month for a print edition. Of course, I haven't clicked over there in weeks and finding a copy of Willamette Week, the Mercury or the Tribune in SW Portland is like trying to bump into a Bush supporter on Hawthorne. I hate reading newspapers on the internet (no photos or movie listings).

Long story short, I have no idea what's going on around this bustling backwater burg anymore. Take, for example, the presumably ongoing controversy surrounding Saturday Market. Last time I heard, the market was about to be kicked out of its current location surrounding Skidmore Fountain to pave the way for a bland extension of the Pearl District (which I predict will eventually engulf all of downtown and the entirety of Portland by 2040). Now comes word via this website that the area may be converted into a cultural district.

Including myself, I suspect that there's a lot of people in Portland that want Saturday Market to stay put, even if they only go down there once a year to buy incense or a vase for their mother's birthday. But a Little Italy? In Portland? With cobblestone streets, putt-putting Vespas, sidewalk bistros, wannabe mafiosos lounging in said sidewalk bistros and Drea de Matteo clones strutting around? Hot damn!

Now a Little Italy, done-up Portland style, is probably going to be a lot closer to a white-washed Bridgeport Plaza than the real-deal one in NYC or the fantasy-combination of The Godfather, SE's old Monte Carlo restaurant and the million other Italian cliches I have pictured in my head. Have a look at the proponents' conceptual drawing. Pretty neat, in a Marie Antoinette's Versailles country village or New Orleans Square in Disneyland sort of way. Here's part of the description from their website:

Surrounding your every step in Old Historic Portland, you will experience the sights, sounds and smells of Italian cuisine and culture. The romance with Italian life begins when you walk through the entrance of grand Roman columns and cobblestone streets. Roman like structures enhanced by the ancient looking arches will lead you to the center courtyard with an old world fountain in the heart of the Piazza.

Wake up in the morning with the warm smells of a welcoming Pasticceria with homemade Italian pastries and hot espresso.

Delicatessens and restaurants for lunch are there to offer you a full world of choices. Brick oven pizza... a hearty glass of Chianti... fresh pasta..
.

Still, my cynical, little brain predicts that the proposed district would probably consist of little more than a Pottery Barn, a few scattered art galleries and another Pastini Pastaria.

But since the closest I'll ever get to Italy is the fake version in EPCOT, I'll pull a Portland's Future Awesome here and say "bring it on." Let's have a Little Italy in Stumptown. If Saturday Market has got to go, a cheesy cultural district is preferable to another few blocks of the Pearl District. Ideally, the PDC, City Council or whoever gets to make the ultimate call would leave Saturday Market in place and stick Little Italy somewhere in the Pearl. Since that's never going to happen though, the choice here is obvious: plant some Vespas and possibly a fake Leaning Tower down there and let them bloom.

Given the inevitable, it would great if Saturday Market received a permanent spot somewhere down there in an indoor structure out of the elements. I'd like to see something along the lines of Seattle's Pike Street Public Market, complete with a comic book shop and a brass statue of a farm animal. Since Pastini Pastaria has the potential to turn into a global franchise, it could even plop a location out front ala the original Starbucks in the Emerald City.

As Tom Petty might put it, "the future [is] wide open and I'm freeeeeeeeee!, Freeeeee fallin'!"

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home


SEARCH THIS BLOG? SURE, NO PROBLEMO, AS BART SIMPSON USED TO SAY....





www.flickr.com




-archives-

  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics


    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?