Alberta Loses Latino Market

Don Pancho closes without notice

Cervante Pope | 4/19/2016, 4:14 p.m.
The closure, though surprising, is understandable, coming nearly a year after three people were shot outside the business.
Mercado Don Pancho, a signature Latino business has closed its doors on Northeast Alberta Street, ending a 16-year relationship with the community as a popular destination for marinated meats, specialty grocery items and home styled prepared meals. Photo by Cervante Pope/The Portland Observer

One of the biggest and most recognizable buildings on Northeast Alberta, the Mercado Don Pancho Taqueria and Market lived in the same spot for as long as most locals can remember. Yet taking a stroll passed the big red and orange building now will illicit only feelings of confusion and sadness after seeing the barred doors and empty shelves through the windows. Without any warning or really any sort of announcement, Mercado Don Pancho has closed its doors.

Handwritten in black sharpie on white printer paper, signs hanging on each entrance read “Everything in store is 50% off through April!” with an addendum of “except for piñatas” scribbled along the bottom.

Neighboring businesses like the punk bar the Know, Brides for a Cause and the Hilt are all at a loss as to why Don Pancho’s is shutting down, what the space will become or what happened to the Ramirez family. For the last 16 years, Gloria and Francisco Ramirez owned Mercado Don Panchos, with their daughter Maria running the market and her husband, Alfonzo “Fonzi” Rodriguez running the taqueria.

“Although I haven’t lived around Alberta in years, I would always hit them up when I was in the area. The people were always friendly, food was solid, and who doesn’t love those little pony bottles of Pacifico? It shall be missed,” says former Northeast Alberta local Nora Murphy Hughes.

Developer Nate Celko now holds the title to the large building on 2000 N.E. Alberta, along with many other properties across the city.

The closure, though surprising, is understandable, coming nearly a year after three people were shot outside the Mercado Don Panchos during an unofficial Last Thursday event. Paramedics found one of the victims inside the market suffering from gunshot wounds once they arrived.

Neither the Ramirez family or Nate Celko was able to be reached for comment.