Thursday, November 24 2022

Marlene Cox recalls buying her first bathing suit as a child at the former JC Penney, pointing to the floor of the current Dallas Event Center.

“Why I bought fluorescent orange, I’ll never know,” Cox told the room of community members gathered at the 65th Annual Chamber Awards. “But my mom loved it. When she took us swimming in the Luckiamute River in Bridgeport, she could always find me.

Cox, now the owner of the historic downtown Dallas building and recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award, shared the story while explaining how his love affair with the city began. As the fourth generation of a pioneer family, Cox grew up on a large pioneer farm south of Dallas.

“When I was little, when you went to Dallas, you dressed up. You wore your white gloves. It was the 1950s. It was a big thing. Dallas was a big city for us. That’s why I have an attraction to it. Memories. A real desire to bring these old buildings to life,” Cox said.

She remembers being able to buy her first building – the Blue Garden – in 1994 for $18,000 and after restoring it, including a new roof, transforming it for $32,000.

“I thought that was a good thing. But at the time there wasn’t a lot of Dallas. We were in trouble. The retail businesses were all gone. We didn’t have JC Penney. We We didn’t have the Montgomery Wards anymore. The hardware was barely holding up,” recalls Cox.

Last year’s lifetime achievement winner Joe Flande, owner of Dallas Home Comfort, passed the honor to Cox this year. He said his dedication to the spirit of downtown exemplifies why the award is given to someone who has spent at least 20 years making consistent and regular contributions to the Dallas community.

“Marlene Cox has been in this community all her life. She wants to see Dallas succeed in all areas. She is a business owner, volunteer and community activist. She owns several businesses, volunteers, and is a board member of the Urban Renewal District and the Downtown Association, but she will always help any other organization. She has helped several businesses get started when they thought they couldn’t,” Flande said.

Cox pointed to Main Street America’s efforts in Oregon to help preserve the state’s older downtown areas.

“These old buildings are just living. Like Old Growth. When an ancient forest is gone, it’s gone. When these buildings are gone, they are gone. And that’s why all of Main Street America is strong, pouring billions and billions of dollars into preserving our old downtowns,” Cox said.

She added that her efforts would not be possible without the help of the community itself, including the Urban Renewal District, the Downtown Dallas Association and the Chamber of Commerce. That’s why she thinks downtown Dallas is in a good time and is entering a really good time.

” We are growing. Our values ​​are growing. It is wonderful to watch and know most of you. And receiving this award from you means everything to me. Thank you,” she concluded.

The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce also honored the following recipients:

Outstanding Organization: Bambinos

Executive Director Glenda Dunaway said anyone can give tangible needs to this community and so many others have. It is the intangible that Bambinos is working towards and making those connections and building relationships with families in the community.

“We couldn’t do this without the Lord providing for us,” Dunaway said. “We have formula, we have diapers. We have everything we need. We didn’t miss once. We didn’t have to close our doors once. We are so grateful to our partners. We couldn’t serve Polk County without the wonderful businesses here and the wonderful relationships we have with nonprofit organizations.

She even got to show how the Lord was watching over the nonprofit, as their building had been broken into the day before, but nothing had been taken. Surveillance video captured the entire incident involving a transient.

“We have video of him trying to steal some wipes, then feeling he shouldn’t and put them back in the box,” Dunaway said. “We are provided. Stick to. We love our moms. We love our babies. We love dads. Those we serve. We are so honored to be part of Polk County.

Young Professional: Sarah Javins, Parkside Self Defense/ Willamette Valley Fiber

When she accepted the award from host Tara Townley, chamber program manager, Jarvins joked that she was tricked into attending the ceremony.

“Otherwise, I would have run away. I was told I was coming here for our business. Thanks. Everything we do should be done to the best of our abilities to bring a little something better to someone else’s life,” Jarvins said.

First Junior Citizen: Peyton Townley

David Shane, “Trivia Guy” for Two Wolves Taproom, presented the Junior First Citizen award.

“As this comment suggests, this year’s winner truly justifies the word ‘junior’ in the title,” Shane said of the 8-year-old volunteer. “Tonight’s winner is not only old enough to vote, he’s not old enough to drive or even take the PSAT. But trust me, that doesn’t indicate any lack of commitment or achievement.

Townley’s only gift to her stature was that she could barely reach the microphone on her tiptoes to simply say to the crowd, “Thank you.”

First Citizen: Tony Olliff, Dallas High School Wrestling Coach

“Tony didn’t make it to the awards show,” Tara Townley explained, “literally because he didn’t think he was going to win. He said there were so many more deserving people, it can’t be me. There’s something about that humility that guides and validates everything that’s been said.

Steve Spencer, director of DHS and taking over as superintendent next week, accepted the award on Olliff’s behalf.

“I can go to these tournaments and watch what he does. My own children have been there. He trained my own kid to be a state champion. It’s a big deal,” Spencer said. “The program trains young men and young women. It makes a big difference. We are lucky to have this for everyone.

Business of the Year: Yolanda Zuger Cornerstone Team, Keller Williams

Zuger said her goal in building a team in real estate was to provide “incredible opportunities” for the realtors who work for her and to be able to give back to the community in a big way.

“Because as business owners, if we can’t do that, what do we do? We need to support our community in any way we can. We need to look at our lost profit and figure out what we can give back to our community that needs help,” Zuger said. “And all of you here tonight know how great that need is in our community. And if we all step up, we can bring change to our community…to stop homelessness, addiction, abuse, etc., by giving people a place to live. And that’s what our job is all about.


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