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Weekend markets fill community niches

Two Scappoose-area markets serve different functions


Photo Credit: MARK MILLER - A sleepy Friday at the Florence Park Outdoor Market south of Scappoose. Dealers at the flea market sell a variety of wares. Market manager Ken Page says it has built up a small but loyal customer base as of its second year in operation.Whether someone is searching for a bargain, looking for local goods or simply out for a good time, two weekend markets in the Scappoose area seek to provide a worthwhile experience while the weather is good.

The Scappoose Farmers’ Market is in its 12th year this summer. As always, market manager Bill Blank says, those browsing the market can find local produce, arts and crafts, and other wares grown or made nearby.

The newcomer to the Scappoose weekend market scene is the Florence Park Outdoor Market, which began last spring at a spot on Northwest St. Helens Road just south of the Columbia County line. Market manager Ken Page describes it as more of a flea market, with dealers from south Columbia County and the greater Portland metropolitan area hawking everything from toothpaste and bottled water to artwork and decorations.

Page is enthusiastic about what he does, and he says many of his vendors and customers are just as passionate about the flea market business.

“I’ve been doing flea markets for over 40 years, so it’s a love of mine,” Page says. He adds, of the Florence Park market, “We’re trying to get it to grow a lot bigger than it is, which we all know is going to take a little bit of time.”

Photo Credit: MARK MILLER - Last September's annual Sauerkraut Festival drew larger-than-usual crowds to the weekly Scappoose Farmers' Market, which runs alongside the pickled cabbage-themed event in central Scappoose. Local-made and local-grown goods from fresh produce to handcrafted furniture can be found at the market, which is in its 12th summer this year, according to manager Bill Blank.The farmers’ market takes up a couple of city blocks during the early part of the day each Saturday of the summer season — about 20 Saturdays in total each year, according to Blank. East Second Street closes to traffic during market hours, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in between Columbia Avenue and Olive Street.

Blank credits the city of Scappoose with being supportive of the market and helping it thrive.

“We love our city, because they cooperate with us and help us out,” says Blank.

The Florence Park market has more of an off-highway setting. The market’s location is outside Scappoose city limits, and there is comparatively much less foot traffic along the street.

But Page says the market’s accessibility and visibility from Highway 30 is a plus.

“Highway 30 is a main thoroughfare going to the coast and coming back, and we get a lot of people coming that way — and we like that,” says Page. Just recently, he says, a couple stopped by the flea market while visiting from British Columbia.

“Anyone who is into that type of a thing, they see ’em, they stop,” Page says.

The Florence Park market is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

With the farmers’ market’s neighborhood location, its appeal to local families is obvious.

“They come out because it’s a family event,” Blank says of his customers. “They come out because they want to get some produce. They come out because they love flowers. ... They come out because they want to have some entertainment. Mostly, they’re coming out because they want to buy stuff.”

And although Page, his vendors and his customers are from all over the place, he says — Page lives in Portland, while his business partner, Shawn Shore, owns the property where the market is held each week — the flea market creates its own sort of community.

Page says he enjoys “meeting the different people, talking with them.” He adds, “This is what a lot of people like. We joke around out there, we tease. ... It isn’t that we aren’t there to have fun, because we are.”

Both market managers say they expect to be open until the end of September. The markets opened for business this year in May.