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Letter to the Editor: Tipping point

— To the editor:

“Tipping Point”: the point at which a series of small changes becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.

I have been saying for some time that I believe The Dalles is at a “Tipping Point.” Welcome to 2014, a year in which many good things will happen.

Because I am optimistic about the immediate future, I will be filing this summer for a second term as your mayor. Elections will occur November 2014. If you have considered public office, three seats on The Dalles City Council and two seats on the County Commission are also open for election.

During 2014, Google’s new facility, our new swimming pool and the Port’s Chenoweth development will be under construction. The new Fairfield Inn behind Cousins will be finished and the airport will complete its new hanger complex.

Cycle Oregon will start and finish its week-long ride in The Dalles in September, bringing 2,200 cyclists and many more support staff. There will be paid jobs for local residents to assist in the planning and operation and many opportunities for non-profits to benefit from this exciting event. It is a perfect opportunity for The Dalles to show we are a fantastic cycling community, ready to receive cycling tourists year-round and to demonstrate how we will be open for cycling business when the Columbia River Historic Highway bike path opens.

Believe me, we have lots of competition. Our neighbors, Maupin and Dufur, offer beautifully scenic rural roads and have begun to advertise their plans to welcome cyclists. Gresham is developing a cycling tourist network, financed by a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The Dalles has a committed Chamber of Commerce, a world-class cycling organizer in Chad Sperry, a committed group of cyclists willing to help, a Main Street program which is developing plans for cycling hubs and accommodations and a city that understands and will support this opportunity.

To top that, over 104 tourist boats are scheduled to arrive at our dock off Union Street between March and October. Some weeks will have a different boat every day and some days, a morning boat and one in the afternoon.

The average passenger spends between $30 and $40 at each stop. With boats carrying hundreds of tourists, the dollars add up. There are business opportunities for enterprising new and existing merchants. The Dalles is at a “tipping point.”

Steve Lawrence

The Dalles

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