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Open for Business tour set June 29

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Open for Business Tour on Saturday, June 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring nine downtown commercial buildings.

Local community members and organizations such as the Port of The Dalles, The Dalles Main Street Committee, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce and The Dalles Small Business Development Center met to address the issue of vacant buildings and storefronts. The coalition decided to put together the Open for Business tour to exhibit buildings that are available for purchase or lease in the downtown area.

As a regional commercial center, The Dalles serves a far-flung population of about 80,000 people.

Locations that will be a part of the June 29 tour include: the Matthews Building, the Honald Building, the Morin Building, the Tony’s Town & Country Building, Creative Cottage, Craig’s Office Supply Building, the Commodore II, the Ice House, and the former Lilo’s Restaurant.

A map of the tour along with building addresses and locations will be available on June 29 at 9:30 a.m. at The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, 404 West 2nd Street, The Dalles, OR 97058 or at any of the buildings on the tour.

Lisa Farquharson, president and chief executive officer of The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, would like to see a mix of business come to the downtown area.

“We’re inviting a variety of businesses, real estate agents, and developers.” Farquharson hopes the invitees see the potential in The Dalles.

Farquharson got the inspiration to do the Open for Business Tour from a concept that the Webster City Chamber in Iowa developed. The tour aims to bring more life to the downtown area. Looking to re-purpose some buildings, Farquharson added, “We’re open for all types of opportunities.”

A fellow collaborator on the Open for Business Tour, Mary Merrill, director of the Small Business Development Center at Columbia Gorge Community College, contacted the city regarding vertical housing in downtown The Dalles and expects the subject will go before The Dalles City Council on July 22.

“It would be great to see an addition of housing units added to our downtown area,” Merrill said. “There’s an influx of professionals and local residents who like the convenience and ambiance of living downtown.”

The majority of the sites on tour feature pre-war buildings. David Adams, owner of Adams Design Center, said, “These buildings are architecturally beautiful and represent the cultural history of The Dalles. I’m very eager to see these building put back to use.”

Interested buyers and leasers will have the opportunity to see the buildings and hear the history of them from a Community Champion. Community Champions are volunteers who serve as tour guides. Realtors or a building representative will be present in each building on the tour to answer any questions viewers may have. The tour will end with a simple reception for more questions and answers and a refreshment mixer at The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

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