1978: Albany Farmers’ Market opens on Water Ave. parking lot. It’s the first open-air farmers’ market of the post World War II era in Oregon at the time, but the Newport Farmers’ Market opens within a few months.
1981: The Mid-Willamette Growers Association, which runs the Albany Farmers’ Market, opens a Wednesday farmers’ market in Corvallis near the downtown fire station. Community Services Consortium helps get the new market off the ground.
1982-1987: The Wednesday market shuffles among a number of locations including the south Riverfront and various spots near 9th Street.
1987: The Oregonian reports that there are 12 farmers’ markets in statewide, two of which are in Albany and Corvallis. See http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/farmers_markets/
1988: The Wednesday market, still the only farmers’ market in Corvallis, settles at the Benton County Fairgrounds. Although it moves around that facility seasonally, the market experiences a period of stability.
1990-91: Farmers wanting a Saturday venue in Corvallis, unable to persuade the MWGA to open another market, start the Corvallis Saturday Farmers’ Market Association. The new market opens in 1991 on Madison between 1st and 2nd streets.
1992-1998: Complaints about parking lead city officials to shift the Saturday farmers’ market for 1992 into a parking lot on the Riverfront. As the market grows, it shifts north a block to a larger parking lot. Other businesses start to open nearby, and momentum builds to rejuvenate the area.
1997-1998: The two farmers’ markets run by the MWGA have outgrown their informal management structure. Farmers and community leaders urge CSFMA to run all three markets under one organization. CSFMA is renamed Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets.
1999-2002: The Saturday farmers’ market in Corvallis shifts to the City Hall parking lot for a period of Riverfront construction. Another short-term move is needed in 2002 because of construction at the bus terminal. The Saturday farmers’ market heads to 2nd & B for a year — coincidentally where the Wednesday market operated from 1982 to 1984.
2003: The Saturday farmers’ market returns to the north end of the riverfront but as a street closing — as it is today.
2007: The Albany Farmers’ Market moves from Water Ave. to the City Hall parking lot and a portion of 4th Avenue, where it is today. Albany Farmers’ market is the oldest market of its kind in the state. Unlike the Corvallis markets, it moved just once.
2009-10: the Wednesday farmers’ market leaves the Benton County Fairgrounds for the south Riverfront. At the suggestion of the newly created Downtown Commission, the market operates from 3 to 7 pm. A sewer project in 2011 requires the Wednesday market to move into a portion of the Saturday site. Once the sewer construction is over, market organizers decide to stay.