City officials say a public parking lot on Main Street and Frazer Avenue is a prime “permanent location” for the Pendleton Farmers Market.

“There have been conversations over the last ten years or so for creating a community plaza or some kind of multi-use area for parking, but also for community events, activities at the Farmers Market, and who knows what else,” said Karen Wagner, the market board’s president.

Wagner said the Main and Frazer lot needs more shade to be suitable for such events.   

“We’ve got this great space that’s underutilized, but in order to use it for the Farmers Market and other activities in the summer, some shade would help,” said City Planner Evan MacKenzie.

He said shade would keep produce fresh and shoppers comfortable.

MacKenzie and Wagner’s rhetoric echoes the 2011 Pendleton Downtown Plan, which in its “Railroad Subdistrict” and “Downtown Parking Plan” sections aims to add trees for shade in the Main-Frazer parking lot. A concept drawing in the plan illustrates the idea, but MacKenzie said in an email the city is not bound to the concept drawing.

“It would seem to me that the design is pretty much open at this point,” he said.

The plan’s “Festival Plaza Concept” segment calls for a “town square” for community events; it doesn’t identify a specific location, but says the venue would be a “street or other public space.”

The city leases the Main and Frazer property from Union Pacific Railroad for $650 every five years, and may use it for parking, beautification and Chamber of Commerce improvements, according to the lease agreement.

Relocating the market was discussed at the June 28 Downtown Implementation Steering Committee meeting. Corbett said the project would need approval from the Planning Commission, and then City Council.

He said the Farmers Market enhances Pendleton’s quality of life, and moving it to the Main-Frazer lot “expands on what we have rather than restrict traffic and pedestrian activity.”

“Right now I would say that the downtown is somewhat constrained because we don’t have some sort of off-street location for the Farmers Market,” he said. “There’s kind of been a long-standing discussion for developing the Farmers’ Market for (the parking lot on Main and Frazer).”

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Contact Chris Rizer at crizer@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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