A Dying Town or A Sleeping One?

The Dalles, Oregon, once a bustling aluminum manufacturing town, is now a quieter shadow of its former self. Nestled in the crook of the Columbia River across from Washington, The Dalles sits between the Cascade Mountain Range to the West and the Eastern Oregon high desert to the East and South. Known for the agricultural commodities that are plentiful in the area, such as cherries, wheat, and cattle, The Dalles also boasts a Google Data Center, a new Neon Sign Museum (in the works), one of the oldest bookstores in Oregon, and the first “talkie” motion picture theater west of the Mississippi River. 
Recently there has been much discussion in the community and on Facebook about how to bring life to The Dalles, how such a quiet town can compete with Hood River, a town known for its proximity to year round outdoor recreation and an active downtown life. The discussions focused on comparing what each town has to offer, the problems The Dalles has, and potential ideas on how to remedy these problems. 

Right now, across the nation, the real estate market is suffering with a low inventory dilemma. Towns and cities across the United States are experiencing intense buyer interest but a lack of homes to sell to those buyers. 

How do we bring life back to The Dalles? Life means people. People need homes. To pay for homes people need jobs.
Long lasting, sustainable, family and community supporting jobs. What we need are jobs that encompass a wide variety of fields such as manufacturing, retail, food, entertainment, construction, hospitality, recreation, administration/office, industrial and healthcare. Our downtown has suffered a loss of businesses, with many locations sitting empty, their vacant windows staring forlornly out to the street.

We need to find our distinctive niche to differentiate our home town from Hood River, and that means instead of being a hub for recreation, we need to be a center for sustainability and commerce. The Dalles was a hub for commerce and trade for generations, and we need to find that original pioneer spirit that helped give birth to our town 160 years ago.

To share your thoughts on the revitalization and rehabilitation of our fair town, please contact The Dalles Main Street to offer your insight and voice.

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