As of Saturday, May 4, 2013
The Dalles Ideas, please
To the editor:
A recent letter chastises Councilor Wood and me for our votes on the Main Street economic improvement district. We allegedly ignored public opinion.
This overlooks one inconvenient fact: a majority of downtown property owners did not, in fact, oppose the economic improvement district. Despite concerted efforts, only a minority signed the remonstrance petition. In this case, minority rules and the economic improvement proposal failed.
That leaves unaddressed the broader challenge: at latest count, 40 downtown retail vacancies. That’s 40 opportunities for jobs, 40 reasons to patronize downtown. But right now it’s just 40 “closed” signs.
What are we going to do about that? Some suggest ignoring it, saying this problem, eventually, will take care of itself. I reject that. “Eventually” is too long. Opportunity, in the form of cruise ships arriving weekly, is immediate.
It’s easy to derail ideas. It’s easy to criticize people as being “pro-tax.” It’s much harder to devise successful strategies for ensuring a vibrant downtown.
So, let’s have some ideas.