At around 5:30 am Wednesday morning, Portland Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at Portland Mercado on SE Foster at SE 72nd. A cultural center and BIPOC business incubator, Mercado is commonly known for having some of the best food carts in the city.

In a press release, PF&R said flames were visible as the crew arrived, coming from one of the shops in Mercado's large market hall. The crew initially requested a second unit, but canceled the request when they were able to extinguish the blaze "just after 30 minutes into the incident."

Andréa Guedes—a representative with the nonprofit behind the Mercado, Hacienda Community Development Corp—confirmed with the Mercury that the building's beer-and-wine shop, Barrio, was where PF&R believe the fire began. It was also the primary business destroyed by the blaze.

An initial search of the building found no one inside, and no injuries related to the fire have been reported, PF&R noted. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Related: "Talking Tepache, Modelo, and Community with Ben Citalán of Barrio"

Another business in the hall, juice bar Xōcotl, was also affected, as well as a commissary kitchen used by an estimated 60 local businesses. Kaah Market, a small grocery that was formerly next door to Xōcotl, recently moved so they were unaffected by the fire.

Mercado's food carts are on the same lot as its market hall, but located far enough away that they initially appeared to be physically unaffected by the blaze. However, the lot is currently without power. All the businesses at Portland Mercado are closed until further notice.

"They're intimately connected to the market hall itself," Guedes said. "We're looking at alternatives to get the food carts up and running, while keeping in mind insurance as well as safety practices. Overall, it's a really tough day here at Mercado."

Guedes expressed appreciation for the outpouring of community support Mercado had already received, noting: "We will be sharing a way for the community to help, hopefully by the end of the day."

[UPDATE 3:06 pm: Hacienda CDC created a fund for the small businesses affected by the January 3 fire. The Portland Mercado Fire Relief Fund is specifically for on-site small businesses affected by the fire. - eds.]

[Update 6:06 pm: Barrio regular Anna Erwert set up a GoFundMe campaign specifically for the bar's owner Chris Shimamoto,"to help Chris get back on his feet and move forward," Erwert wrote. "Portland needs him—we need whatever he will do for this city when his heart mends enough to think about what that might be." In six hours the GoFundMe had already raised $20,000 and increased its goal to $30,000. - eds.]