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Lithia's now one of state's top 5 firms

Lithia Motors continues to climb the chart of Oregon's largest publicly held companies.

The Medford auto dealership chain, which has acquired stores at a furious pace since going public in 1996, is now the fifth largest publicly held company in the state, according to revenue rankings published by Oregon Business Magazine.

Lithia's 1999 revenues of $1.242 billion trailed only those of Nike, Willamette Industries, Louisiana Pacific Group and Precision Castparts Corp. Lithia ranked 10th a year ago and leap-frogged venerable Oregon firms such as Tektronix Inc., Hollywood Entertainment Corp. and Oregon Steel Mills Co.

Few other Southern Oregon companies were included on the list. The list bills itself as including all Oregon's public companies, but several local bank stocks — including holding companies of Valley of the Rogue Bank, People's Bank of Commerce and PremierWest Bank — were left off the list.

Accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP compiled the rankings, and a company official said sometimes companies that weren't on previous lists are overlooked. None of three Rogue Valley bank stocks were on last year's list.

Other regional stocks that were ranked include Klamath First Bancorp, the Klamath Falls-based parent of Klamath First Federal and Roseburg's Umpqua Holdings Corp., parent company of South Umpqua Bank and investment company Strand, Atkinson, Williams and York. Klamath First Bancorp ranked 34th with revenues of $71.7 million, while Umpqua ranked 50th with revenues of $24.7 million.

Medford-based Advanced Machine Vision ranked 52nd on the list with revenues of $24.3 million. That company was officially sold to Washington-based Key Technology last month, so it will drop out of future rankings.

Lithia's lightning growth earned it the top spot in a recent ranking of the Northwest's fastest growing companies, put together by the Seattle Times. Lithia was No. — in growth — beating out heavy hitters such as Microsoft, Labor Ready and Starbucks.