PORTLAND

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

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Bank of the West has relocated its downtown commercial offices to the iconic KOIN Center to accommodate recent growth and in anticipation of future expansion in the Northwest. This will be the first time the bank’s national banking, equipment leasing, agricultural and commercial real estate, wealth management services, and private banking will be under one roof. The 12,000-square-foot space accommodates 38 employees, including 18 new management and support positions created by the expansion, according to Bill Williamson, executive vice president of the Northwest region division.


The national headquarters for Marquette Healthcare Finance will now operate out of One World Trade Center in downtown Portland. The new branch of Minneapolis-based Marquette Financial Companies provides financing to small health-care organizations. Martin Golden, executive vice president and managing director of Marquette Healthcare Finance, says smaller markets are underserved by lenders compared to larger more lucrative clients.  Health-care finance requires particular know-ledge of the risks in health care, such as the annually changing government reimbursements, and being in tune with the “legislative environment” of health-care issues, he says. Golden says he  expects to have between 30 and 40 employees in the next few years.


California-based Solaix will  open a silicon wafer manufacturing plant this fall in the Rivergate Industrial District near Portland International Airport. Solaix creates silicon ingots that are sliced into wafers that solar panel manufacturers use in their photovoltaic technology. Solaix invested an initial $52 million in the Portland operation, the company’s first ever high-volume plant, and says it will create 100 new jobs by the end of 2007.


Gourmet soda maker Thomas Kemper Soda Company has secured three new distribution agreements, bolstering its presence in the Western states and positioning the company for national expansion. Thomas Kemper CEO Bill Germano says that in September, the soda will switch its primary sweetener from high-fructose corn syrup, which has fallen out of favor among discriminating label readers,  to cane sugar.

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