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Bank branch is putting on the Ritz

The water bowl for dogs outside Umpqua Bank's new Pearl District branch offers the first clue that this isn't your run-of-the-mill bank office.

For one thing, the interior was designed by Portland's world-class Ziba Design International with architecture by Thompson Vaivoda & Associates of the Nike Beaverton campus and Fox Tower fame.

The idea was to make customers feel at home. So there's a television viewing area, access to wired and wireless PCs, a coffee bar and promotional displays of the bank's services.

The splashy yet tranquil space seems very Ritz-Carlton, which makes sense because Umpqua is emulating the hotel chain's customer service approach. They're even doling out chocolate Umpqua coins with every transaction.

The branch, at 1139 N.W. Lovejoy St., cost around $750,000, according to Ray Davis, president and chief executive officer of the bank's holding company.

'People can do just about anything here,' he says. 'Heck, someone even brought their dog in the other day. That's why we put the water bowl out there. I mean, what's it going to hurt?'

Ñ Andy Giegerich