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Credit where credit is due

OnPoint Community Credit Union to fill space off Capitol Highway in Hillsdale


If you’ve visited the Hillsdale Business District any time in at least the last 10 years you’ve probably set eyes on the barren spat of land that was once the site of a gas station, but has been empty and desolate since before almost all the students at nearby Rieke Elementary School were born. By year’s end, however, that’s supposed to change.

The week of April 20, it was announced that Ardys Braidwood of Wardin Investment Co., which owns the plot and many others throughout Hillsdale, has entered into an agreement with OnPoint Community Credit Union. It stipulates that the member-owned bank will become the lead tenant in a soon-to-be-constructed, 7,000-plus-square-foot building slated to take up both the empty plot and the space on which the Hillsdale Baskin Robbins currently sits, at 6371 SW Capitol Highway, also owned by Wardin. According to the shop’s Facebook page, it first opened in 1968.

This announcement comes several years after a plan for Chase Bank to build a standalone bank on the empty land was scrapped due to the Recession.

“I’m just very pleased that they’re coming,” Braidwood said.

Mike Roach, president of the Hillsdale Business & Professional Association, is similarly thrilled about the way things have turned out , with a new building being constructed and a credit union — this specific credit union — to account for about half its square footage.

“Basically, Hillsdale will be an oasis in what is now a credit union desert in Southwest Portland,” he said. “It’s really kind of phenomenal, the absence of credit unions (right now). It’s almost like someone said, ‘OK, there’s a moratorium on credit union construction in Southwest Portland; you got to go downtown or to Sellwood.’”

Of course, by doing away with this dessert, Hillsdale must also say goodbye — at least for now — to one of its primary sources of dessert. Roach noted that although Baskin Robbins may indeed decide to join OnPoint in becoming a tenant of Braidwood’s new building, there’s no guarantee that will be the case. When asked if he is at all concerned that getting rid of one of the primary hangouts for students at Rieke, Robert Gray Middle School and Wilson High School, will cause Hillsdale’s economy to suffer, Roach agreed that the ice cream shop is important to local kids, but said that economically speaking he doesn’t think its absence would have much of an impact.

His store, Paloma Clothing, is “kind of a 20-and-up kind of business,” Roach said, and many other businesses in Hillsdale are too.

Then again, “You never know if that’s something that Food Front could pick up the slack on — if they had room to provide some kind of an ice cream option, because they definitely don’t currently serve ice cream out of their deli,” he said.

Beyond all that, Roach said, Food Front stands to benefit from the addition of OnPoint in its own right.

“We look forward to ... the synergy we think will transpire between (this) member-owned credit union and a member-owned grocery, Food Front,” he said. “And I think the people who mad ea decision to be part of a member-owned credit union instead of a standard, commercial bank, have a mentality of liking to own the things that they’re part of, and in Hillsdale they’ll have an opportunity to be a part of a member-owned grocery store. ... If they’re coming to Hillsdale to do their banking at their member-owned credit union, why wouldn’t they at least consider doing their shopping in a member-owned grocery?”

John Conlon, Hillsdale Food Front store manager, is happy about the news too.

“We’re excited that they’re coming in because we feel that the people that credit unions will attract are people who align with how we feel about keeping things local and supporting the community,” he explained. “And obviously we’re excited when any business comes to the business district ... but it’s nice to have a bank coming here in our area.

He added: “I personally bank with them, so it’ll be nice to have them across the street from me. I use the one out in Gresham. Before they were considering Chase or something ... and I just feel like, you know, the credit union has a focus more on the average, regular consumer person — the customer — versus the big banks don’t necessarily have such an intense focus on that, so we’re excited.”

Roach echoed Conlon’s sentiments.

“This credit union, OnPoint, because there are so few credit unions on the west side of Portland — in Southwest Portland in particular — it then becomes a magnet kind of destination that any business district would love to have,” he said, “and we’re just very, very fortunate that they chose Hillsdale as a place to locate — and that we have a location for them to locate in.”

Drew Dakessian can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 108.