Anyone who claims that retail is dead in downtown Eugene doesn’t know where (or when) to look. Head down to the Park Blocks this Saturday and try to find a sympathetic ear for your “downtown is dying” ballad. Saturday Market brings out the best in Eugene: faithful customers, talented entertainers, entrepreneurial spirits, wide-eyed tourists, fresh foods and fresh ideas. No other downtown hosts so reliably such a riot of free enterprise, spilling over its edges but smiling all the way. Anyone with an idea, ten bucks and some patience can become a businessperson for a day in Eugene. And thanks to a town with no business licensing strictures and a state with no sales taxes, it really is as simple as that. Make a shingle Friday, sell your wares on Saturday. (The shingle is optional.) We couldn’t make it any easier to begin a business in Eugene. That said, we could make it easier to grow a business in Eugene. If I could do just one thing to help build Eugene’s local business base, it would be to create steps between a Saturday Market booth and downtown’s least expensive storefronts. Portland has wisely built permanent roll-up spaces at the edge of their weekend Market footprint, allowing businesses to expand to more days and dry accommodations without signing a long-term lease or even committing to store hours in advance. If we had that, there are a few — who knows how many — who would gladly bring their Saturday energy and optimism to other days of downtown’s week.