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Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — Dallas will take preliminary steps to begin its Economic Opportunity Analysis, a study that will help the city determine whether it has enough commercial- and industrial-zone land to meet development demand in those areas.

The city sought a grant through the Department of Land Conservation and Development, but was informed in December that it had been denied. There’s hope for more money after the Oregon Legislature meets in February, but city manager Brian Latta recommended starting the process now. 

He said two steps in the EOA process — establishing a committee to work on the analysis and identifying a consultant to complete the report in consultation with the committee and the city — would not jeopardize any grant funding the city could receive after the February session.

Latta said members of the committee would preferably have expertise in the local and regional economic trends, knowledge of emerging industries and technology, be familiar with local business leaders, and have knowledge of potential sites in the city that would be attractive to developers.

“If the council is OK with those sorts of people who have those areas of expertise, we would recommend you authorize staff to move forward to look for those individuals and bring them back to council for your consideration to form that committee in March of 2020,” Latta said.

He said the city can issue a request for proposals from consultants, but cannot hire one until it knows whether a grant will be awarded to the city.

Latta wrote in a memo to the council that the analysis will cost about $50,000. He said DLDC officials seemed confident that more money would come out of February’s session. DLDC Community Services Division manager Gordon Howard wrote the letter to the city denying its initial application.

“However, the department is pursuing action by the Oregon Legislature in its February 2020 session that will ... (free) additional funds in our Technical Assistance Grant program for additional projects,” Howard wrote. “We are optimistic that the Legislature will take the necessary action, and then we will be able to make a Technical Assistance award to your application.”

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