Butler Peak Logging

Butler-Peak-Logging

When the elk are grazing by Drift Creek, which meanders through the property, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic location, but Sunny Ridge Farms just north of the Alsea River near Waldport is actually a 1,000 acre working ranch with 100 head of Hereford and Angus cattle. The ranch is run entirely by Bill and Jill Unger, Bill’s son Norm, and Sondra, Bill’s first wife who recently moved back to the ranch from Central Oregon. The grandkids are called in for haying season and fall round up. Maintaining a ranch seems hard enough, but Bill and Norm are also well-respected loggers and owner-operators of Butler Peak Logging.

Bill, who’s been a Lincoln County resident since he was two months old, began working in his uncles’ logging operations while he was still attending Newport High School. In 1955 Bill and Sondra, along with Bill‘s parents, purchased a hardware store in Newport. Soon they had moved up the street where they built a new building to sell hardware and furniture. Bill still yearned to return to the woods and in 1978 he started Butler Peak Logging.

Ask him why he enjoys such a strenuous, dangerous and cyclical occupation and Bill is philosophical, “It’s in your blood”. He’s also very environmentally conscious. “Logging is a renewable resource, it’s a crop we grow and we replant everything we harvest,” he explains. In fact, more trees are currently growing on Sunny Ridge Farm’s 1,000 acres than have ever been on the property.

In a typical year, Bill and Norm will harvest 1.5 to 2 million board feet of timber within an approximate 50 mile radius. That’s a remarkable achievement for their five man crew. Approximately 25 percent of Butler Peak’s production comes from land on the family-owned ranch.

Needless to say, logging and operating a ranch add up to more than a full time job. “As long as there’s daylight, we’re working,” comments Bill. “There’s always something to do – if nothing else we have about four miles of fencing to maintain.” Bill, who has four children, and Jill, who has three of her own, jokingly remark that their grandchildren “are hard to count”. The current number is 12. In their spare time they like to camp on their ranch, but Bill admits that he rarely stops working, even when they’re camping.

In Bill’s estimation, he first started working with Oregon Coast Bank’s Vickie Spencer “well over 20 years ago”. Logging and ranching expenses can be high, so he values his banking relationship: “Usually I’ll just tell Vickie what equipment we’re planning to buy, and they cover it.”

At Oregon Coast Bank we recognize how important that family-run timber operations, like Butler Peak Logging, are to our local economy. We also consider the Ungers to be exceptional stewards of the land. Through the family’s sustainable logging practices, Sunny Ridge Farms remains an idyllic place while still contributing to the economic vitality of our community.

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Coast Equipment

Coast-Equipment

Have a seat in Bob Conway’s office and the first thing you’ll notice is his beautiful rustic hickory desk.  Where did it come from?  He built it himself, out of left over floor planks from when he was remodeling his Seal Rock home.  Although he’s the owner of Coast Equipment in Waldport, Bob certainly isn’t above getting his hands dirty.  He not only services the equipment he sells and rents, he’ll deliver it, too.  Bob even hauls rock and says in true entrepreneurial fashion: “anything to make a buck”.

For 32 years Bob lived in Alaska.  The first 10 of those he spent in equipment sales.  He then worked 22 years for Quality Asphalt Paving, managing asphalt plants and building remote roads and runways.
The best part of being employed in Alaska was the months he had off in the winter.  About four years ago, Bob purchased a home in Seal Rock and spent those winter months remodeling it.  A few years later he “finally pulled the plug in Alaska” and decided to make the Oregon coast his permanent home.

About 18 months ago, Bob opened Coast Equipment in a building on about an acre of property he had purchased in Waldport.  The company buys, sells, rents and services tractors, bobcats, backhoes, dozers, excavators and other heavy equipment.  Through an agreement with a Myrtle Point dealer, Coast Equipment is able to offer the entire product line of LS Tractor, a nameplate popular with farmers, landscapers, contractors and homeowners with acreage.

“Leave it to me to pick the county with the least agriculture in the state,” laughs Bob.  But business at Coast Equipment seems remarkably brisk.  The company is a one man operation, but even if the office is closed, customers know they can reach Bob on his cell phone.  “Supposedly, I’m semi-retired,” adds Bob.  Which means there are some mornings that he chooses to fish or crab instead of minding the office.

Bob first started banking with Oregon Coast Bank because he had heard that Linda Eriksen, the manager of our Waldport office, was “a good person to do business with”.  Besides his business and personal accounts, he has an Oregon Coast Bank Line of Credit to fund equipment purchases.  Although he enjoys visiting with the folks at the bank, he also appreciates the online banking and online statements he can access with his iPad.

When he decided to “semi-retire”, Bob could have chosen most anywhere to live.  Somehow a small town on the Oregon Coast seemed most appealing.  He moved to Waldport for more than just the great fishing; he wanted to be part of the community.  Bob bought a house, started a business and Waldport is an even nicer place because he chose to call it home.

 

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Kauffman Crushing

Kauffman-Crushing

It may sound unusual to describe quarry operators as “stewards of the land”, but in the case of the Kauffman family, the description is perfect.  In the late 40’s, Larry Kauffman purchased about 100 acres of land on Eckman Creek Road just east of Waldport.  After gaining government approval, he opened Eckman Creek Quarries to mine the local marine basalt.  Crushed to various sizes, that rock has been used for roads, homes, construction projects, rip rap and sea walls from South Beach to Florence.

Larry’s son Harold would eventually take over the quarry and expand the business. Harold also was the founder of Kauffman Crushing, which provided mobile services for road building and construction projects a significant distance from the quarry.  When he was ready to retire in 1987 his own son was not old enough to run the business, so Harold decided to lease the quarry to another local company.

About 15 years later, a third generation of the family, Harold’s youngest son Dave, had returned home from college and he and his dad decided to reopen the family business.  Eventually Harold retired again, but Dave has now been actively managing the company for more than 10 years.  He remains as strongly committed to the land and his community as his father and grandfather.

“This land has provided our family with three generations of rock with a couple more left,” explains Dave.  He feels that part of his responsibility as a quarry operator is managing the environmental impact.  By all accounts he’s succeeding.

In 2012, the Oregon Department of Geology and Minerals named Eckman Creek Quarries as its Division II “Outstanding Operation” based on containment, purification and overall operations.  “Our goal is to strive for consistency,” points out Dave.  “To be named the best quarry in the state is quite an honor for our community.”

With an eye to the future, Dave has already started on his reclamation plan for the quarry.  After “a couple more generations” of serving the rock needs of the community, the Kauffmans envision a park with a pond which will serve as an additional water source for the city.

It’s not just contractors who come for rock at Eckman Creek Quarries.  Homeowners will pick up loads in pickups, mini vans, utility trailers and even in 5-gallon buckets.  The quarry is open five days a week from 7 until 4, but if his customers need rock in an emergency or to keep a job going, Dave will open up any time 24/7.  That means that during busy construction seasons, he often works seven days a week and over 12 hours a day.  What does he do in his spare time?  “What spare time,” laughs Dave.  He does admit to being a hunter – “to keep good meat on the table, not just for sport”.

Besides Dave, Eckman Creek Quarries also employs a secretary and shop mechanic.  As the economy continues to recover, Dave plans to grow the business by purchasing more equipment and employing more people.

Of course adding additional equipment to the company’s existing fleet of a main loader, backup loader, cats, off road truck and excavator requires capital, so Dave feels fortunate to have such a good working relationship with Oregon Coast Bank.  “They understand the local economy and treat us as people, not numbers,” says Dave.  He also likes the fact that his customers can pay their bills automatically online, a timesaver he uses himself when making payments on his Oregon Coast Bank home construction loan.

Like his father and grandfather, Dave’s commitment to the community is obvious.  Kauffman Crushing and Eckman Creek Quarries have indeed been exceptional stewards of the land.  All of us at Oregon Coast Bank would like to congratulate the company for receiving the state’s 2012 Outstanding Mining Operation award.  Quarries are a necessary resource for any town.  To have one as community-minded as Eckman Creek Quarries, makes living here all the better.

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M&E Septic Service

M&E-Septic-Service

If this story sounds a bit like the American Dream, so be it.  Because in their own way, Kris and Josie Walch of Tidewater are living that dream every day.

The met in Waldport.  Kris and Josie were each conscientious and industrious, which enabled them to find steady employment.  Although they loved living in their small community, they realized that the best way to obtain financial security for their growing family would be to own their own business.  In 2007 they got that chance.

Jerry and Dene Bales, a Waldport couple who have owned several successful businesses, offered to sell M & E Septic Service to Kris and Josie.  Kris had previously worked three years for M & E and knew that it was a sound business.  After studying the financials, the Walches obtained a business loan from Oregon Coast Bank to finance the purchase.

It turned out to be a wise decision.  Despite the slow economy, the business has grown steadily every year, and M & E Septic Service now employs four.  “The harder you work, the more it pays off – that’s the best part of owning your own business,” remarks Kris.  Josie, who serves as M&E’s office manager, explains:  “Owning the business gives us the flexibility to raise our children without day care.  The kids can be with me at the office or I can forward our customer calls to our home and work from there.”

Servicing an area from Gleneden Beach to south of Yachats and as far east as Mary’s Peak, M & E provides a wide array of septic services to thousands of home and business owners.  “Generally, if your septic is a pump system it needs to be cleaned every 3 to 5 years.  If it’s a gravity system, cleaning needs to occur every 5 to 10 years,” explains Kris.  “We try to educate our customers so they can get themselves on a schedule and not suffer through septic back ups,” adds Josie.  M & E also provides septic inspections as well as snake and jetting services.

Kris and Josie are raising their three children as well as 27 head of cattle and four horses on acreage in Tidewater, which they alternately refer to as “the ranch” and “the money pit”.  Kris is an avid hunter and fisherman, while Josie likes to read and run.  As a family, they love to camp but concede that as the children get older they spend more of their recreational time “following the kids’ sports”.  Josie coaches basketball, Kris coaches baseball and M & E Septic Service is a youth sports sponsor.

Besides their business loan, which they’re now close to paying off, the Walches have a residential loan, business and personal accounts at Oregon Coast Bank.  “I just love the small town feel – they’re just so friendly and helpful,” remarks Josie.  “We’ve recommended Oregon Coast Bank to quite a few of our friends.”

At Oregon Coast Bank we have an enormous amount of respect for small business owners like Kris and Josie.  Yes, over the past few years the economy has been slow, but instead of complaining about a lack of jobs, entrepreneurs like the Walches are creating them.  Call it the American Dream or just plain hard work, but Kris and Josie have built a fine life in a community they love.  That’s a story worth repeating.

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Spruceridge Homes & Design

Spruceridge-Homes-&-Design

Michael Schlosser learned about hard work at an early age. His parents and three siblings were migrant workers, traversing the country to harvest strawberries, oranges, apples, and anything else that could help support them. It wasn’t until Michael was 12 that the family was able to put down roots in Hillsboro.

After graduating from Hillsboro High School, Michael attended a year of college and hoped to become a youth pastor. But his proficiency in working with his hands was evident and soon he was employed at a sheet metal shop. During the 1990’s he moved to Central Oregon and owned an HVAC company for ten years.

While constructing a home for his own family, Michael realized how much he enjoyed the creativity of the building process. As a result, he and his wife, Ann, opened Spruceridge Homes and Design and began actively building and remodeling in Central Oregon.

Besides drawing up home plans and blueprints, Michael knows how to build foundations, frame, sheetrock, insulate, do masonry, trim work, electrical and plumbing. Ann is a designer, whose insights help make their original home designs practical and beautiful to live in.

The company built its first beachfront home in 2000. By 2006 Michael and Ann had fallen in love with the Waldport area and moved their family into a beach home of their own design. Their adopted sons, Grayson and Gordon, were home schooled before moving on to New Hope Christian College in Eugene. Both boys have been actively involved with the family business, working side by side with their father. Apparently Michael and Ann have too much love and energy to become “empty nesters”; they are currently adopting two girls, ages four and seven.

Building in a marine atmosphere provides a unique set of challenges. “A beach house should be great in sunshine or horizontal rain,” explains Michael. Typically he’ll use four times the normal amount of caulking. Generous amounts of stainless steel and flashing are also required.

Michael prides himself on building homes that fit the lay of the land, maximizing natural light, privacy and views. “These days we try and build smaller, eliminating hallways and having dual uses for entryways,” remarks Michael. “That allows us to include high-end features like built-ins for books and collectibles.”

With very few new home starts, the economic slowdown of the past several years was hard on the construction trade. Yet Michael never stopped working. “You paint a house, build a deck, work on a remodel, and keep providing the type of attention and creative ideas that we would give to a new home,” he explains. But things are definitely looking up. Spruceridge Homes and Design has built four new houses in the last two years, with two more in the preliminary stages.

Although the company currently employs just members of the Schlosser family, the increased building activity has meant that Michael is able to sub out things like plumbing, electrical, insulation and drywall to other area firms, which means more local construction jobs.

Having a good banking relationship is essential for home builders. Oregon Coast Bank has provided construction loans and permanent mortgages for several of Michael’s recent projects. “Great to work with” is how he describes Linda Eriksen, manager of Oregon Coast Bank’s Waldport office.

Ask Michael what’s most important to him as a builder, and he’ll tell you it’s being able to still shake hands with his customers years later. You can’t help but admire his value system, which may be why he’s successfully built homes for 24 years.

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