FONT

MORE STORIES


The events, a priority for the Diversity Advisory Board, would offer ethnic food and performers



Cynthia Moffett remembers visiting night markets while growing up in Hong Kong.

Shariff Mohamed said night markets were popular when he was a young boy in Somalia.

Edward Kimmi went to them in his native Korea, and again when he moved to the Middle East.

Oswaldo Bernal had a similar experience with clusters of tiny shops that opened at night in Colombia.

Nael Saker, a Palestinian who grew up in Dubai, got a taste of the world’s cultures at “Global Village Nights” in the emirate.

Now, these Beaverton residents who hail from across the world are coming together to start an International Night Market by this summer.

Although the concept is still coming into focus, the excitement building around the idea is clear.

“Everybody I’ve mentioned it to says, ‘Yeah. That would be nice!’” Mohamed said.

The five are members of Beaverton's Diversity Advisory Board, which produced a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan the Beaverton City Council adopted last month.

Now, pieces of the group’s plan are moving to the implementation stage, and the International Night Market is one of the ideas building a full head of steam behind it.

“We are very passionate about it,” said Saker, the board’s former chairman. “Hopefully, we can carry it on and get it to reality soon.”

“I think it would be really neat if they could pull it together,” said Beaverton City Council President Mark Fagin, who serves as the council's liaison to the diversity board.

To be sure, the market concept is early in the planning phase. When and where and how often the markets will be held are all yet to be decided, although members of the board hope to launch the concept with at least a few market nights this summer.

The events would invite food vendors, entertainers, artisans and others with roots from elsewhere in the world to evening gatherings that would celebrate diversity while also supporting small businesses, both of which are among the board’s goals.

“There’s nothing like that in Oregon,” Kimmi said.

The board members have started forming a committee to nail down the details, including what nights the markets would be held.

The first year, organizers may decide to plan a small number of market nights “and just get the buzz going from there,” Moffett said during the board’s Monday meeting.

Where the markets will be held is another question, although the former Westgate Theater property near the Round at Beaverton Central and the lot west of the Beaverton City Library that hosts the Beaverton Farmers Market are two spaces they plan to investigate.

Even without the details, the International Night Market concept seems to make quick fans of most people who hear about it. Just ask Tonisha Toler, who knew nothing about the plan until she attended Monday’s meeting as a community liaison with the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland.

She was instantly transported back to her childhood trips to New York City's ethnic markets as a girl, when her family would buy Russian dolls, have her name written in Japanese, and snack on Chinese dumplings all in one spot. She called it “a smorgasbord of experiences.”

So when Toler heard about the diversity board's plans for an international market, she said, “I’m like, ‘When is it going to happen?’”

Contract Publishing

Go to top