March 29 was a relatively mild Wednesday in Portland. In a short walk from Mother’s Bistro, Chef Lisa Schroeder arrives at a public market. But she’s not buying anything at the meth and fentanyl supermarket at SW 4th and Washington.
Portland’s public fentanyl market surrounds a vacant building. People pull up in their cars, do a deal, pull out their foil and smoke. Drug dealers and drug users are the visible faces of the human tragedy of addiction.
This fentanyl market began attracting people in late January after Portland police swept them from a parking lot across from Mother’s Bistro.
“We’re in downtown Portland. It’s a free country. Anybody can walk on the street,” Schroeder told KOIN 6 News as she pointed to a man with a knife on the sidewalk. “But here, what you find, let’s say someone is going to their job, right? Somebody’s on their way to work and somebody decides to take, somebody is cutting open their leg. Cutting open their leg!”
There he was, a man cutting at his leg. Others were strung out and passed out, openly buying and using drugs. But the pictures can’t capture the stench of urine and garbage or the acrid smell of fentanyl smoke.