The Downtown Dallas Association’s origins can be traced to the early 1980s when the federal government began providing grants for the creation of local downtown associations to support rural small businesses. However, due to the recession at the time, there was not funding to continue this program once the grants expired.
The efforts to form a downtown association were revived at the turn of the new millennium. Led by local leaders, the Dallas Renaissance Committee was formed to explore how to support the downtown core of Dallas. Much of this work included visiting other rural towns in Oregon to gain insight into what these towns have done to support their downtowns. The committee slowly transitioned into a form role with the creation of the Dallas Urban Renewal District in 2004. This district’s goal is to revitalize the downtown and create an environment where businesses of all kinds are able to thrive. The boundaries of this district would later become the boundaries of the DDA.
In 2013, the modern DDA began to take shape as the City Council applied for and was awarded the status of “Exploring Downtown” from the Oregon Main Street Program. The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office began officially working with the city to establish the necessary organization for the newly established Association. By early 2014, the association’s steering committee was established and begun the work necessary to establish the organization as a 501C (3) Organization.
Beginning in 2015, the DDA received its tax-exempt status under federal law and began its work to raise funds and hire staff. Throughout 2016, the DDA continued working on obtaining grants to help fund projects by the organization, as well as helping fund the new staff position of “Program Manager.”
2017 marked the celebration of the near total eclipse over Oregon. The DDA worked closely with the city to foster a large and well attended event to celebrate the once in a lifetime phenomenon. The event featured thousands of members of the public, as well as dozens of astronomers from across the world.
Since 2018, the DDA has focused on acquiring grant funding for businesses in the downtown to improve multiple facades and business interiors here in the downtown area. Today, the DDA continues to assist business move to the downtown as well as upgrade and restore their buildings.