By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Along the Street: First Federal awards grants

This is a case where volunteering pays, literally.

McMinnville-based bank First Federal this week identified more than 60 local nonprofits that will receive a financial boost from $20,000 that some 400 bank customers earned by volunteering with one of the groups during April and May. The bank paid $2 for every hour of time, up to a maximum of 10,000 hours and 250 hours per organization. 

First Federal’s Community Awards charitable giving program has contributed more than $2.6 million to Yamhill County nonprofits in the past 19 years. 

“First Federal is proud of our customers’ involvement in the community,” said Pam Watts, the bank’s community relations officer. “We are pleased to support nonprofits in this way.”

More than 20 groups received the maximum amount of $500. Five of those were in McMinnville, including Evergreen Space & Aviation Museum, Homeward Bound Pets, McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Bags of Love program and McMinnville Volunteer Firefighters.

For a complete list of the nonprofits that received funds, visit


Interns go to work

More than a dozen young people went to work this week for seven McMinnville companies and organizations as part of the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership’s summer internship program, which provides a structure for connecting students with local businesses.

The 9-week program kicked off with interns going to work at Cascade Steel, HBF International, the MEDP itself, McMinnville Water & Light, OnlineNW, Sea Reach Ltd. and Willamette Valley Medical Center.

“I am excited to challenge myself in a more professional setting,” said Jasmine Pfau, who is studying management and entrepreneurship at George Fox University in Newberg and will work at the MEDP office in McMinnville. Her duties will include communicating with interns and host sites, along with other projects for the economic development organization. 


Guild Mortgage

Guild Mortgage, one of the nation’s largest independent mortgage lenders, will open a new branch in McMinnville to better serve Yamhill County homebuyers.

The office will be located at 1945 N.E. Baker Street, where senior loan officer Steve Myers will oversee the branch, which will include three loan professionals with over 80 years of combined experience in the industry. They previously worked fromthe Guild’s Newberg branch, which remains open. 

“Based on our continued growth, we felt the timing was right,” Myers said. “Our location in the heart of McMinnville will allow us to be closer to so many of our customers in the area.”

The phone number for the McMinnville branch is 503-883-8490. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 


Paper mill still idle

Newberg’s old paper mill, now a prominent visual feature on the east end of the bypass, was purchased in 2015 by Atlanta-based WestRock Co. and has remained vacant ever since.

The company paid $289 million for the mill, plus two others in Ohio and Georgia, declaring that the facilities would help “diversify the company’s product offerings.” Weeks later, they closed the mills.

The Newberg Graphic reported earlier this month a purchase agreement between WestRock and New York businessman Rahul Kejriwal was submitted to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Why the antitrust division? Because WestRock is reportedly making the sale contingent on the buyer destroying the papermaking machinery and turning it into scrap metal.

Greg Pallesen, who heads the Portland-based Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, is calling foul.

“It’s market manipulation,” he told the Graphic’s Steve Law. “It’s buy your competitors, close key mills that have the result of reducing supply and driving the price up.” 

Kejriwal reportedly wants to get the mill back to the paper and pulp business for export, but the newspaper said he did not respond to multiple interview requests. 


Tourism workshop

The tourist advocacy group Travel Oregon will host an educational workshop for tourism-centric businesses in McMinnville on Monday, June 18, 10:30-noon. 

The focus will be learning how businesses can benefit from working with trade, media and consumers from Travel Oregon’s target markets, such as Japan, China, Oceana, Canada, Europe, Mexico and India. 

The 90-minute workshop is free; the event will be held at The Bindery, 610 N.E. Fourth Street, McMinnville. Sspace is limited. To register, click to the event through the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce’s calendar of local events at 

David Bates is the News-Register’s business editor. He can be reached at or 503-687-1228.


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable