PBJ staff writer Andy Giegerich reports on the importance of First Thursday to the development of the Pearl District, quoting several business leaders and Portland Art Dealers Association gallery owners, including Charles Froelick.
"First Thursday began in 1986, when the Pearl District was full of abandoned warehouses left over from its industrial past.
Gallery owners were among the Pearl’s only full-time businesses when the neighborhood’s industrial tenants closed their doors in the mid-1980s. As prominent developer Mark Edlen and city leaders plotted ways to build the Pearl, First Thursday was already attracting thousands of visitors to the neighborhood.
“First Thursday helped prove that art is absolutely an economic development tool,” said Edlen, Gerding Edlen Development’s managing principal. “It’s part of what makes Portland Portland.”
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