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Business briefs April 30

Merchants Bancorp reports first-quarter growth

Merchants Bancorp, holding company of Gresham-based MBank, announced continued growth and financial results for the first quarter of 2008.

For the quarter that ended March 31, net income decreased to $315,000, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to $794,000, or $0.17 per diluted share, in first quarter 2007. Total assets had grown to $306.5 million by March 31, 2008, an increase of 7.1 percent over March 31, 2007, assets of $286.3 million. Annualized return on average assets was 0.42 percent for first quarter 2008 versus 1.11 percent for first quarter 2007. Annualized return on average equity was 4.77 percent for first quarter 2008 versus 12.17 percent for first quarter 2007.

'Earnings have clearly been impacted by recent volatility in the marketplace,' said Tom Perrick, president and chief executive officer. 'However, MBank continues to deliver steady growth in loans and deposits through the hard work and dedication of our employees in developing and maintaining customer relationships in the communities we serve.'

Animal hospital to kick off

expansion project

Gresham Animal Hospital will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 2, for construction of its new building at 520 N.W. Division St.

Light food and beverages will be provided as owner Dr. Chris Holenstein and some of the hospital's staff dedicate the long-planned expansion project.

The hospital has outgrown its 4,000-square-foot facility and will move to a new 6,600-square-foot structure upon its scheduled completion in December, said Holenstein, who's owned the business since 1994. After many delays based on design, zoning and other logistical issues, the Portland native is excited to see dirt upturned near the hospital. A house on the property was razed earlier to make way for the expansion.

'I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl,' he said. 'It's started - we're actually doing something.'

The new two-story structure will provide needed additional space for the hospital's 11 full-time employees as well as infrastructural upgrades. The structure hasn't seen significant renovations since the 1970s.

'We're building it because it's what Gresham needs and it's what our employees need,' he said.

Holenstein said he vows to keep hospital fees at existing levels for at least a year after the new $1.28 million facility opens.

'We're not raising prices,' he said.

For information on the event and the hospital itself, call 503-666-1600.

Matching grants available for neighborhood associations

Gresham is accepting Neighborhood Matching Grants for the 2007-08 fiscal year and is applications through Thursday, May 15. The city is interested in encouraging projects that foster civic pride, enhance and beautify neighborhoods, expand citizen involvement and promote the interests of the community. For the fiscal year, $10,000 is available for the grants.

'Providing an annual opportunity for grant funding is one important way the city provides support to neighborhood associations in Gresham,' said Laura Bridges-Shepard, city spokeswoman.

Eligible projects must meet the following criteria: be an officially recognized city neighborhood association; applicants must match 50 percent of the project cost; the funding area must be within the city limits; the project must be non-profit in nature, have lasting and/or direct benefit to the neighborhood and it should be distinctive to the neighborhood.

Application forms are available at www.ci.gresham.or.us under Neighborhood Associations and must be submitted to Communications and Community Outreach c/o Office of Governance and Management, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway, or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

.or.us by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 15.

Chamber to hold speed-network event

Bob McDonald, principal of Portland Adventist Elementary School, will host a Speed Networking breakfast event from 7 to 9 a.m. Friday, May 2, at the school, 3990 N.W. First St., between Powell Boulevard and Division Street.

Sponsored by the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, the event is billed as a 'fun and fast way to meet others, increase your business opportunities and build chamber connections.' Participants are asked to bring business cards and other items to promote their particular business.

For information, call Laura Watkins, chamber ambassador, at 503-491-4030, ext. 101.

Portland women's organization has career fair

Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OTI) will present the annual Women in Trades Career Fair Thursday through Saturday, May 1-3, at the NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center, 16021 N.E. Airport Way, Portland.

The first two days of the fair are devoted to middle- and high school girls, and the third day is open to the general public.

The Portland-based group offers a variety of trades training programs, including working after school with students, highlighting career possibilities and school courses geared toward trade-oriented occupations and summer training camps for girls.

For information on the fair and the group, call 503-335-8200 or visit www.trades

women.net.

OBA participates in SOLV 'Small Change' program

The Oregon Bankers Association, through its Oregon member banks, has partnered with SOLV to serve as depository sources throughout the year for all small change collected for the Small Change for SOLV-Big Change for Oregon program. Participating banks include Wells Fargo, Oregon Pacific Bank, Pacific West Bank and Sterling Savings Bank.

Best known throughout Oregon for the annual Oregon beach clean-up, the non-profit SOLV unites government agencies, businesses and individuals through volunteer projects that enhance the livability of Oregon. The Small Change for SOLV-Big Change for Oregon program was created to fill a gap in SOLV's funding.

'We're honored to be associated with SOLV and encourage Oregonians to participate in the Small Change for SOLV-Big Change for Oregon program by bringing in donations to the participating Oregon banks,' says Linda Navarro, Oregon Bankers Association president and chief executive officer.

Taylor Group to sponsor real estate auction

Taylor Group Realty will host a local real estate auction at noon Sunday, May 4, in the Pavilion Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel, 921 S.W. Sixth Ave., Portland. Registration begins at 11 a.m. The auction is sponsored by Taylor as well as Countrywide Home Loans, Security Title and The Watermark Group.

The Ultimate Home Auction is the first of its kind to the region, according to a Taylor news release, featuring more than 60 new homes and condos from a variety of local builders and developers in multiple locations throughout the area. Homes up for bid are spread across the region, from Clackamas and Oregon City to Lake Oswego and Beaverton along with several properties in Central Oregon and along the Oregon Coast.

The auction incorporates several key strategies, including: involvement of multiple builders, involvement of each property's listing agent, a 2-percent Buyer's Agent commission and ease of registering.

For more information contact Gary Donovan at 503-703-7001 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All homes up for bid appear on Properties2Auction.com.

Audiologist attends national hearing seminar

Sheri Smith, audiologist and owner of Audiology and Hearing Aid Center of Gresham, 752 N.E. Burnside Road, attended the conference of the National Association of Hearing Conservation at the Marriott in downtown Portland, Feb. 21-23.

The conference featured presentations and discussions of research outcomes in the field of hearing conservation. Topics included effects on the cochlea and auditory nerve of pharmaceuticals, industrial and recreational noise and other stimuli.

The National Association of Hearing Conservation aims to educate the public about risks to hearing and the means to prevent hearing loss and support employers to help prevent injuries to hearing in the workplace.