As you drive through downtown The Dalles, you are struck by the lack of people walking between the stores and offices. If you look closer, you see that many of those windows stare vacantly onto the street, with no life in their depths. At one point in the last two to three years, there were over 40 empty storefronts and offices in downtown The Dalles. With the popularity of online shopping and big box stores, small town America is becoming a thing of the past.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We need to look into ways to bring life back to our streets both day and night. We need to make downtown The Dalles more pedestrian and bike user friendly. If we also start to see the trend of Vertical Housing take hold here, we need to make parking available for not only downtown commerce, but also for residents of those buildings.
If we take a look at downtown, what does it have to offer? We have everything from a department store to music stores, restaurants/bars to bistros, realtors to lawyers, automotive repair/sales to utility trailer sales, and so much more! With all of these great businesses, why are businesses vacating downtown?
Because the people aren’t coming downtown as much. Take a look around you at the next parade (which is April 26th, I’d love to see you there), notice how there is a lack of people, sometimes empty stretches going on for blocks. Earlier this month, the Fort Dalles Rodeo Association announced that the Fort Dalles Parade was cancelled this year because of the lack of public interest and involvement. In all my 30+ years of living here, I don’t remember it ever being cancelled!
Step One is easy: Keep it Local! Shop local! We’re your neighbors, classmates, employers, friends. We help support each other by keeping our business and trades local. The Dalles can only stay alive if we bring life and business to her streets.