Ashland planners OK Saturday farmers market

ASHLAND — Residents here could be bagging fresh, local produce at a downtown Saturday farmers market as early as July 19.

The city Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market. The market will be held on a portion of the First Place subdivision's parking lot, across from the post office on First Street.

The commission approved organizers' request to run the market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May through November. It also approved RVGCM's request to include as many vendors as would fit in the 5,000-square-foot area, allowing for a fire lane and walking lanes in front of the vendors.

Russ Dale, who owns the property at the First Street subdivision, said he had always envisioned a farmers market at that location.

"There will be fine-tuning over the years and adjustments will need to be made as the site develops," he said. "But it would always be an established site for the market."

Ashland residents Colin Swales and Philip Lang both raised concerns about the market in letters to the commission regarding the lack of parking, but neither attended the meeting.

Art Bullock of Ashland told the commission he had public safety concerns, showing pictures of orange fencing at the adjacent construction site that was knocked down.

Dale told the commission that landscaping will be added to the site soon, and said the fencing would be fixed to protect the public and the new plantings.

Bullock also showed photos of full parking lots and unavailable street parking he had taken last Saturday.

Trace Harding of Ashland, who will manage the Saturday market, said she counted the number of empty parking spots in the area where people would park if they were coming to the market.

"At 8:30 a.m., there were 149 empty spaces," said Harding. "At 11:30 a.m., there were 59 empty spaces." She told the commission that parking wouldn't be a problem and she would also encourage people to walk or bike to the market.

Michele Mihalovich is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at

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