St. Helens residents might soon be able to do their grocery shopping on the waterfront.
A farmers market is coming to St. Helens, and Roger Konka, the founder, is hoping to have it open by June 8.
Konka first formally introduced his idea for a farmers market at a St. Helens City Council work session on May 1. A longtime farmer and also vendor at various farmers markets, Konka said at the work session he knew he needed to start one in St. Helens.
“I’ve done farmers markets for over 25 years in three states, and this is the best location,” Konka said, referring to the view of the river site and ample space in the Columbia View Park area location. Konka also said he would promote going to the St. Helens market because he said the one in Portland often feels too crowded.
Konka received a temporary use permit for the market on May 30, according to St. Helens Associate Planner Jenny Dimsho. The permit stipulates that Konka can run his farmers market from June through December on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are a few vendors Konka has in mind, including some farmers he knows from across the river, as well as 2Cs Vendor Mall. Additionally, Konka has a holly farm in mind as a potential vendor, which Konka said is an additional incentive to keep the market open through Christmas.
Councilors and city staff had to work out logistics before issuing the permit.
City staffers concerns about the market include setting the precedent for opening up for private entities. However, St. Helens City Planner Jacob Graichen said the city could moderate that concern with a temporary use permit, which is intended to be limiting.
Another concern was gate access and vendor access. Councilor Ginny Carlson said she wanted to open the property up to vendors only, because she said the waterfront property is not prepped to provide parking. Konka also assured the city council that the farmers market has its own insurance.
Although Konka has been a longtime vendor at various farmers markets, this is his first time he has organizing such a market.
“I am just unbelievably excited because I’ve wondered why there hasn’t been a farmers market,” Konka said. “And I’ve always thought, ‘oh man, that’s a can’t miss spot, if it would be possible to have one right down by the river.”
For more information, contact Konka at 503-396-9766.