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Credit union could occupy port property

by: FILE PHOTO - The former Bank of America in Rainier, which the Port of St. Helens purchased several months ago.The Rainier branch of the St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union could find itself in a new home soon.

Port of St. Helens commissioners discussed a draft resolution Wednesday, for a request from the credit union to lease a commercial space from the port, with the option to purchase.

The tentative lease agreement isn’t a guaranteed relocation.

Ryann Weaver, vice president of marketing at the credit union, said the branch hopes to buy the building it currently leases. If the sale doesn’t go through, the bank branch will most likely occupy the former Bank of America building in Rainier, which the port recently purchased.

“We are exploring options to accommodate our evolving facility needs to be able to better serve our members,” Weaver said. “Possibilities include purchasing and making renovations to our current location or relocating to a property owned by the Port of St. Helens. If we were to relocate, we anticipate very little member impact.”

St. Helens Community FCU operates three branches in Columbia County and two additional branches on local high school campuses.

During the Port of St. Helens Commission meeting Wednesday, the credit union’s chief technology officer, Ron Winters, said the Rainier branch reached out to its property owner with a purchase offer, but hasn’t heard back.

“Communication has stopped, not really by us,” Winter explained. “We certainly had made an offer to them but we just haven’t heard anything in response. We can’t be put in a position where we have no place to be.”

The former bank building is one of several commercial properties the port owns.

“We’ve owned the property now for probably four to five months,” Patrick Trapp, executive director of the port, said Wednesday.

Weaver said the credit union will make a decision about its location by the end of the month.

The terms and lease amount for the proposed agreement have not been released. Trapp said the commission is scheduled to discuss the draft resolution at its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for July 30.