Siuslaw Bank Wins Stu Johnston Business of the Year; Celebrates 50.

Coast Radio News
Local News

16 January 2014

Siuslaw Awards Go to Local Businesses

It’s only fitting that on the eve of their 50th anniversary celebration the staff and management at Siuslaw Bank in Florence would be honored as the Stu Johnston Business of the Year.

The half-century-old financial institution was recognized last night during the annual Siuslaw Awards Dinner.

In the bank’s nomination form they pointed out they’ve been successful in an ever increasing competitive atmosphere.  The bank has continued to pay quarterly dividends to stockholders even through the worst of the recession six years ago.

Three other businesses were lauded last night:  Abby’s Legendary Pizza for “Community Caring”; The River House Inn for their “Curb Appeal”; and Laurel Bay Gardens for “Excellence in Customer Service”.

The Non-Profit Achievement Award went to Siuslaw Outreach Services.

The Siuslaw Awards are an annual presentation of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.

Half Century on the Siuslaw

Fifty years ago this week Siuslaw Valley Bank opened for business in Mapleton.  At the time there was no bank in that community and only one in Florence.

Lonnie Iholts – “Mapleton used to be more of the hub than most because there were about 13 sawmills in that Swisshome-Mapleton-Deadwood area.”

Lonnie Iholts, the CEO, says in August of 1968, the banks, current headquarters branch in Florence opened, the result of a growing demand.

Lonnie Iholts – “Probably about 80-percent of the customers were driving from Florence so it was obvious that Florence had embraced it as well as Mapleton and that having only one other institution in Florence, you know, not everyone wanted to be there.”

Banking and financial services have changed considerably.

Lonnie Iholts – “In 1964 there were probably close to 18-thousand banks in America.  Now there is barely 7-thousand.  So the landscape has changed quite a bit with the consolidation.  Small community banks used to have the majority of the assets in this country.  Now the top ten banks in America own over 80-percent of the assets in the banking system.”

Siuslaw Bank has changed as well; their name a few years ago when the dropped the “Valley”… and size.  There are ten branches, all in Lane County, but the main headquarters branch remains in Florence.

New Administrator Search

The search for a new administrator to run Lane County is continuing.

West Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich says the application deadline has officially closed, but the executive recruiter handling the process has said if a qualified applicant becomes available, he or she will be considered.

The Board of Commissioners will look through the list of the top ten in February with an eye toward selecting three finalists in March, then a finalist will hopefully be identified and under contract by April.

The new administrator will fill the vacancy created in August when the Board fired Liane Richardson.

Chat by the Sea

It’s an interesting combination… folk, jazz and blues music combined with riparian restoration.

Two visiting biologists; Jack Sleeper and Chris Lorion; will talk about long-term and large-scale streambed restoration and monitoring projects on Ten Mile and Cummins Creeks Saturday during the monthly “Chats by the Forest and Sea” winter speaking series at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.

Just south of Yachats, the visitor center there will also host the music of Richard Sharpless.

Music will begin at 12:30; the talk at one; then more music following.

Visitor center manager Lori Robertson said there is no cost for the presentation, but a day-use access fee does apply.