Archive | January, 2010

FDIC closes Columbia River Bank

23 Jan

Federal regulators have take over assets of the once-thriving Gorge financial institution, Columbia River Bank. Based in The Dalles and with a major branch in Hood River, the bank has been on the ropes for more than a year and was operating under Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guidance to boost cash reserves. Assets will assumed by Columbia State Bank of Tacoma, Wash.

Columbia River Bank skated out on thin ice along with dozens of other lenders during the euphoric funny-money days of the real estate boom during the middle part of the last decade. Some if its ill-advised lending was chronicled in this story about Desert Sun, a central Oregon housing developer, by The Oregonian. Deposits up to $250,000 are protected.

Blue Collar takes new meaning at new web design firm

14 Jan

If you’ve been paying attention to people like Richard Florida (great brand), the “creative class” has found cities like Portland — and, by overflow, Hood River. Hey, that’s what brought my wife and me to the Hood. Got a wire? Got a computer? You’re in.

Well, welcome another such enterprise, Blue Collar interactive. Uh, what’s that “interactive” word mean? Isn’t that what every business does with its customers?

It’s OK to ask, and if you do, it’s probably because your own enterprise is more bricks ‘n’ mortar than Flash ‘n’ dash. In the new school argot, “interactive” is the intermediation of interaction with the customer — in short, the Web, and all its potential to engage .. and exasperate.

Dig a bit below the surface of the Blue Collar site (go to “Mechanics” and wait for the interactivity to load, and then try to read around the floating name tags .. argh!), and you can trace some of the genealogy of the new firm back to the Hood River granddaddy of interactive design, Summit Projects. Partners Rob McCready and Jim Kimball both spent time there. Now they’re flying under a new flag.

The team includes Rob McCready, partner and account director; Jim Kimball, partner and CFO; Mike Hansen, partner and design director; Tom Lehmann, partner and creative director; and April Donovan, partner and creative director.

They join a coterie of other creatives working similar turf in the Hood, including Web Rock Design, Blue Marble Creative (White Salmon) and Locus Interactive. Not to mention a bunch of sole proprietors tilling similar soil. The creative class has landed, because technology says they can.

Welcome, Blue Collar, and good luck.