Map for the Port Angeles Farmers' Market

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03/07/06 - The Farmer's Market Has Left Downtown, Peace and Quiet Return To Our Dying City Center

We've been putting off posting this, since it is kind of a downer. We've been big fans of the Port Angeles Farmers' Market for years, even before it moved downtown. Then, we were even bigger fans after it moved downtown, since we almost never got downtown, except to have dinner at Bella Italia, visit Port Book and News, or see a movie at the Lincoln Theatre. Now we had an excuse to shop downtown, and we did.

Let's face it, downtown Port Angeles is dying, what with a Walmart a bit to the east, Sequim, even further east, turning into a down market mega-mall, and the changes in the lumber and fishing industries, the traditional mainstays of the town. There are some great 19th and early 20th century buildings downtown, but all too many empty lots and closed stores. The Farmers' Market brought us, and many other shoppers into town. There were even a few businesses that chose their locations to take advantage of the market, and now we'll see how well they do.

While we may have liked the Farmers' Market, it apparently bothered a small group of local merchants, even though there were many merchants in favor of it, and others who didn't care one way or the other. These anti-market merchants seem to have gotten stuck back in 1952, but it's not 1952 anymore. The big timber is gone, and one man with a chain saw and a self-loader can do the work of an entire team back then. Rural downtowns have to compete with their own suburbs, and everyone owns a car. If they don't find what they need in town, they can drive to Sequim, or Silverdale, or Seattle, or whatever. Some will even shop on the internet. Rather than embracing the Farmers' Market and the foot traffic it brought, these merchants felt that it interfered with their ability to park in front of their own stores, that it interfered with what little traffic flowed along the truck route through downtown Port Angeles, and quite possibly that having spent their money on a head of cabbage, few people would still be able to afford any further shopping.

In any event, there was some politicking. There was the Port Angeles Planning Commission meeting that ran into the wee hours. There was the shutdown, more politicking, a reprieve, and then the market was moved back to its old location at the Courthouse, as shown on the map above. We like this location too, and we'll be there most Saturdays. There is lots of parking near the Courthouse, and it's a bit closer to our house. We often walk down the block to the big Safeway on Lincoln Street to buy what we can't get at the Farmers' Market. But, we don't get downtown as often, and we don't spend as much money there.


Keywords: farms, port angeles, seattle, shopping, maps, farmers' market