Chief Multnomah Bank

Chief Multnomah Bank. From Multnomah Bank, Multnomah, Oregon.

Chief Multnomah Bank. From Multnomah Bank, Multnomah, Oregon.


The Multnomah Bank opened February 2, 1948.  The bank opened at 7840 SW Capitol Highway, the former location of the Multnomah Commercial and Savings Bank that closed December 1934.  The location is now the restaurant side of O’Connor’s Restaurant and Bar, and you can still see the bank vault.

Officers of the new bank were Walter Raz, vice president, John B. Matheny, cashier. Bank directors were: Mr. Gard, W. A. Siegfried, pioneer Multnomah druggist, Milo G. Renner, Multnomah restaurant owner, Walter Raz, manager of Portland Milk Producers Association and Multnomah resident, Jesse J. Gard, former V. P. at United States National Bank and brother of Dwight Gard, now treasurer of Interstate Tractor and Equipment, Paul M. Rising, real estate and insurance broker of Multnomah and Floyd H. Weatherly, pioneer Multnomah grocer.

The bank became an immediate success, growing to four branches (Multnomah, Barbur Boulevard, Hillsdale, and Progress) by 1968. In 1970 it merged with First State Bank of Oregon, in 1982 First State merged with Citizens Bank of Oregon, and changed the bank’s name to Pacific Western., in 1986 PacWest merged with Key Bank. Key bank now occupies the Multnomah Bank building on SW Troy St.

See here, or our Winter 2000 newsletter for a more complete history of the Multnomah Bank.

For 40 years in the 1700s, Chief Multnomah ruled from the Cascades to the Pacific Coast as chief of the Willamettes and war chief of the Wauna confederacy. This vast network included tribes from areas now known as Okanagan Valley, Puget Sound, Willamette Valley, and the Oregon Coast.  Made his home/HQ on Sauvie Island.

“He was, in fact, their idol; and to him were rendered honors as were never before granted a single chieftain in the western world. When he attended council, he was borne thither upon a mat litter, on the shoulders of eight men. It is said to be about 70 years since this chief expired, and he is still in tradition remembered and deeply mourned by the scattered remnant of his tribe.”  Dr. Elijah White, 1850.

He is depicted in Hermon Atkins MacNeil‘s 1904 sculpture, Coming of the White Man, located in Washington Park.  Go to 25th and Burnside and climb all the stairs!

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3 Responses

  1. Carolyn Rust says:

    Dwight Gard had been a prisoner of the Japanese during the war, and his health never completely recovered. He died at a fairly young age. He and his brother, Jesse, had desks at the Barbur Branch in the 1960’s when I was working there part time while going to school. As a child, I had a saving account at the Hillsdale Branch and had one of these Chief’s head savings banks. Too bad I didn’t hold on to it.

    • timlyman says:

      We bought this one for $15 on ebay. Keep a sharp eye out, and there will probably be another up for sale.

  2. Carolyn Rust says:

    Thanks for the fun search idea.

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