“Look at what we did, together!”
That was the rallying cry of Don Warren, president of The Dalles Main Street, as he addressed a full house in the Civic Auditorium Theater Tuesday evening as the community gathered to learn whether the city would be the featured town on Season 5 of Small Business Revolution, an online video program.
Warren thanked a host of community groups, businesses, local media and others who helped bring The Dalles into the top-five cities being considered for the program.
The city was competing against four other U.S. towns: Benicia, Calif.; Fredonia, N.Y.; Livingston, Mont.; and Spearfish, S.D. To win, The Dalles had to receive the most online votes during a public voting period that ended Jan. 21.
As the time of the announcement neared, community members began standing along the walls of the theater’s main floor, and Civic Executive Director Skot Barker took the stage. “I’d like to invite all those standing in the aisles to take their seats in the balcony,” he told the crowd. “This is really exciting, this is the first time in decades we have needed to seat people in the balcony!”
Remodeling of the theater continues in the upstairs balcony, and about half the seating was ready for use and was pressed into service to seat the standing-room-only crowd.
A video feed of Small Business Revolution co-host Amanda Brinkman was broadcast to the stage and the winner announced: Fredonia, N.Y.
Returning to the stage after the announcement, Warren reiterated his rallying cry, gesturing to the crowd and noting that The Dalles didn’t win, “But look at what we did, together! The things we can do here are unlimited.”
He then invited The Dalles Mayor Rich Mays to the stage.
“I’m the mayor of the greatest city in the United States,” Mays said. He told the crowd that in his 40 years of public service, attending gatherings and events in the Midwest and the Oregon Coast, “I’ve never seen a community come together like I’ve seen The Dalles come together in the last month.
“This is a start,” he said. “There are a lot of things going on here—now let’s go and do great things. Fredonia may have gotten more votes, but there is no way they had more spirit than The Dalles.”