DDA works to transform Dallas

DALLAS — The Dallas Downtown Association will apply this week to advance the city’s status in the Oregon Main Street Program.

Oregon Parks & Recreation’s State Historic Preservation Office runs the program, which helps communities develop revitalization plans for downtowns.

The city has been part of the program at the “Exploring Downtown” level since 2013. If successful, the application would move the organization to the “Transforming Downtown” level, providing access to more grants and technical support.

“They have always been wonderfully responsive and providing conferences for all organizations,” said DDA Programs Manager Norah Owings. “However, as you move up, you get more targeted help from them.”

She said that support includes evaluation of programs and technical assistance on issues specific to Dallas. Owings said the DDA hopes to use assistance to expand its Social Media Marketing 101 workshop and help hire a full-time manager after her time working through AmeriCorps concludes.

Part of the application process is asking other organizations for letters of recommendation. The DDA requested one from the Dallas City Council on Feb. 20.

Members of the DDA and downtown business owners urged the council to approve a resolution in support of the application.

Marlene Cox, the owner of Latitude One restaurant and several other properties downtown, said other towns, such as McMinnville, Albany and Corvallis, are a few of the program’s success stories.

She said the progress made in recent years with the program’s assistance has been noticeable.

“I have never been so confident that we can make downtown vibrant again as I am right now with the group that we have,” she said.

Mark Brehm, co-owner of Dallas Emporium, agreed downtown is showing life again, but there is more work to do.

The council approved the resolution, and Owings is putting the finishing touches on the application for submission before Friday’s deadline.

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