Gabriel Leon

Organization: Dallas Downtown Association
City: Dallas
Population: 15,923
County: Polk

Meet Gabriel Leon:

Gabriel studied Urban Planning and Geography at Arizona State University as an undergrad. Through school and internship opportunities, Gabriel has developed GIS skills, held leadership positions, and gained planning experience in local government. He is passionate about ecological functions and urban life, the outdoors, transportation, urban form, and desert cities.

Community and Organization:

The City of Dallas, the seat of Polk County government, is centrally located in the mid-Willamette Valley. Dallas is short distance to recreational opportunities on the coast or mountains and driving distance to cities like Salem, Portland, and Corvallis. The City takes pride in its “small town feel” but still enjoys urban amenities like restaurants, shopping, and an excellent aquatic center. Despite the relative proximity to other cities, Polk County has a vibrant agricultural economy, for example supporting 18 wineries. As the city continues to grow, it will work to balance the amenities offered by rural and urban life.


The RARE participant, Gabriel Leon, will serve as the Program Manager of Dallas Downtown Association (DDA). As the only full-time employee, the Program Manager will be working directly with the board of directors, DDA members, and volunteers. Gabriel will wear many hats, including administrative, volunteer recruitment, event planning, marketing, and liaison between board and other entities. They will be the key representative for the Main Street Program. As Program Manager, they also will attend committee meetings for organization design, promotion, and economic vitality. Gabriel will also organize, administer, and inspire an arts master program plan and help business and the DDA with grant opportunities.