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Umpqua Bank will rebuild Phoenix branch destroyed in fire

The Umpqua Bank branch in Phoenix was very convenient for the senior and disabled folks where I live. It was right around the corner until it was destroyed in the fire, and it’s been a hardship for people who have no transportation to have to find a way to get to Medford. Are there plans to rebuild the bank? I’ve asked around but can’t get an answer.

— Noni M., Phoenix

We have some good news for you, Noni. The Roseburg-based community bank says it will rebuild the Phoenix branch in the 4000 block of South Pacific Highway that was among the more than 18,000 homes and businesses wiped out Sept. 8 in the Almeda fire.

A Dec. 15 press release states the bank is “committed for the long haul,” according to Umpqua Bank CEO Cort O’Haver

“Rebuilding our store is a priority for the bank, and we look forward to partnering with community leaders in a variety of ways to help Phoenix emerge from the destruction in the months and years ahead,” O’Haver stated in the release.

Bank leaders and city officials are still firming up plans, so we don’t have any details as to a time frame for the rebuild or the project’s scope; however, according to the press release an idea on the table is for the bank to build “community space in addition to a new bank facility for community benefit.”

For locals who lost homes in the Almeda and South Obenchain fires, Umpqua Bank stated in the same press release that they’ll waive up to $10,000 in financing fees to rebuild homes in FEMA-designated emergency disaster areas.

The bank will also help impacted homeowners in the disaster area who already had home loans serviced by Umpqua Bank by waiving “certain fees associated with purchasing a new home.”

The bank release also included quotes from Phoenix City Manager Eric Swanson praising the bank’s efforts to help after the massively destructive fire.

“It’s encouraging to know that we are not forgotten, and Umpqua’s commitment ot help us rebuild homes and businesses gives us confidence that we’ll get through this and build a new future,” Swanson stated in the release.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

Aside from a melted safe, little of the Umpqua Bank branch on South Pacific Highway was left standing after the Sept. 8 Almeda fire. The bank says they'll rebuild. Umpqua Bank photo.