Sponsored by Oregon Business

River city success

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012


0912 RiverCitySuccess 03
Above: After a years-long effort, the first river cruise ship is expected to tie up at The Dalles' new dock on Sept. 17, one of many ways the city is trying to attract new visitors.
Below: A lack of parking has always made life tough on the Granada Theater, but an urban-renewal project could breathe new life into the theater and surrounding buildings.
//Photos by Sierra Breshears
0912 RiverCitySuccess 04

That kick into high gear has been fueled, in part, by efforts begun years ago to diversify The Dalles’ employment base, which since the 1950s had been dominated by large aluminum plants. The last of those folded for good in 2000.

“The port got its marching orders in the mid-1980s to try and diversify our industrial base,” says Andrea Klaas, executive director of the Port of The Dalles.

Over the ensuing two decades, the port acquired land, developed it and sold it. Klaas says in that time the port was able to facilitate the creation of close to 1,500 jobs by finding homes in the port district for companies like Kmart and Columbia PhytoTechnology, a maker of freeze-dried fruit and vegetable powders that moved to the port this summer. More than 45 businesses are currently located in the port’s industrial area, including Google, which now has three buildings on its site and employs close to 150 people.

Outside the port district, other long-term projects aimed at breathing new life into The Dalles are on the edge of fruition. This summer The Dalles will christen a $2.9 million dock on the Columbia River for light shipping and as a place for river cruise ships to tie up. The first ship is scheduled to pull up Sept. 17, according to city manager Nolan Young, who’s spent the better part of 15 years working on redevelopment projects in the city.

Disembarking tourists will walk a short stretch of The Dalles Riverfront Trail —when completed by 2014, it will run 10 miles from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center east to The Dalles Dam — and stroll below Interstate 84 via an underpass built in 2004 to reconnect the city to the riverfront. They’ll pass the Lewis & Clark Festival Park, a $2.7 million plaza for community events set to open in early September; it and the dock have been in the works for 12 years. Just two blocks farther, they’ll hit downtown The Dalles and, hopefully, spend some time and money at local businesses.

Mark Linebarger is a 20-year resident of The Dalles who owns the historic Baldwin Saloon just across from the new plaza. While he’s a touch skeptical of how much impact the park and new dock will have on his business, he says he welcomes the improvements.

“What’s good for The Dalles is good for us,” he says.

Like the Sunshine Mill, downtown The Dalles is a study in contrasts. Storefronts straight out of the 1950s — a vacuum-cleaner shop, an old barbershop and a dated JC Penney — mingle with more contemporary establishments: a yoga studio, a French bistro and at least two wineries. Dilapidated buildings and empty spaces mix with renovated historic landmarks, like an 1883 courthouse that’s now a brewpub, an old Masonic lodge called the Commodore and Civic Auditorium, which have all been the focus of public and private efforts to reinvigorate the downtown while preserving its historic flavor.

The next urban-renewal project will focus around the historic Granada Theater, a 1930s-era theater in the heart of downtown bordered by several other vacant buildings. The project has seen several false starts over the years, but Young says the city is currently working with a private developer on plans for a possible hotel and conference center complex.



More Articles

Planter's Punch

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Molly Rogers believes she has found the solution to excessively syrupy cocktail mixes. She first just needs people to understand her product isn’t foliage.


Back in Black

Guest Blog
Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s been a volatile year in equities and heading into the holiday season, it doesn’t look like these market extremes will dissipate.


100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


Reader Input: In or Out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.


Video: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon 2015

The Latest
Monday, October 05, 2015
100-best-NP-logo-2015-video-thumbVIDEO BY JESSE LARSON

Profiling some of the organizations featured in the 2015 list.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02