If you are lucky enough to have a weekend in Portland, or if you have time for only one local event during your stay, make that stop the Portland Saturday Market.
Located just inside of Fareless Square on the MAX line (get off at the McCaulay Fountain stop, I believe), this small local festival grew from just a few vendors in the '80's to a huge, two-lot affair that includes local artisans selling wares to local cuisine of various styles, to performing local musicians. Clowns and fairies wander freely through the milling crowds, entertaining and sprinkling fairie dust. It's another world.
Offerings include bizarre items, like glasses made from old silverware, to clothing, soaps, and hot sauce. Tarot readers will divine your fortune, while in the next tent, a young man peddles his handcrafted silver jewelry. You can eat an elephant ear, get a funnel cake, or indulge in middle eastern cooking while watching a guitar-playing duo on stage. If it's made in Portland, you can find it here.
There is no cost of admission, other than the parking costs if you drive yourself, which are around $8 USD, depending on where you park. Parking -is- at a premium, thanks to the culture that has sprung up around the Market, drawing large numbers of repeat visitors weekly. It takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from the morning hours to the late afternoon/early evening, from the first weekend in March to Christmas Eve.
Only several blocks from Powell's, don't plan on walking to both unless you have boundless energy. It makes for a long day. A satisfying one, but much longer than you'd expect.
Don't miss Saturday Market. It's a Portland tradition -- for good reason.