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Cascades Raptor Center

Helping Cascades Raptor Center spreads its wings

Kit Lacey enjoys her role as a bird curator and education director at Cascades Raptor Center for some of the same reasons we enjoy our own work at Oregon Pacific Bank – we both understand the importance of connecting with people and forming relationships on a foundation of trust.

“What I enjoy most about my work is the opportunities for building trust,” Kit says. “Working relationships with ambassador animals allows me to help our visitors connect with nature.”

In her role, Kit oversees the daily operation and care of both the ambassador raptors at the nature center and the raptors that receive care in the wildlife hospital, located in Eugene’s south hills.

Former Executive Director Louise Shimmel has worked with raptors for decades. In addition to educating, she has always been passionate about mending injured birds and returning them to the wild, whenever possible. Her dedication to birds of prey is evident in her decades of work at the nonprofit nature center and wildlife hospital.

This bootstrap nonprofit grew slowly and acquired an abundance of community support over many years. As a nonprofit, the center has enjoyed working with a bank that’s also committed to community.

“Having local decision-makers who know the community—that’s unique,” Louise says. “We’d been with other, larger banks, and some of the decisions they made were not beneficial to our type of business, like charging a fee for depositing cash or charging a fee for having to interact with a live teller rather than using an ATM or going online.”

When Louise was looking to re-finance the Cascades Raptor Center property, she was happy to get help from Oregon Pacific Bank—having recommended us to colleagues from time to time.

“Oregon Pacific Bank made us a generous offer on refinancing our property and financing the acquisition of a neighboring property—more than doubling our size,” Louise says. In addition to refinancing, the nonprofit counts on us for its checking, money market savings and bill pay.

“I like the people and the culture of service at Oregon Pacific Bank,” Louise says. “They’ve always made us feel important and are very good at resolving issues quickly and thoroughly.”

Consistently ranked on travel sites as one of the top three things to do in Eugene, Cascades Raptor Center welcomes more than 30,000 visitors a year, offering educational and up-close raptor experiences. While no longer executive director, Louise remains passionate about the nonprofit’s mission.

“Humans of all ages, cultures and ethnicities seem to be fascinated by these predators and really appreciate the chance to see them up close and learn something about them,” Louise says.

One of Kit’s favorite things about working at the center is seeing the raptors return to the wild. “I love when we are able to release raptors back into the wild from the hospital,” Kit says. “We have given them a second chance at life.”

Kit Lacey enjoys her role as a bird curator and education director at Cascades Raptor Center for some of the same reasons we enjoy our own work at Oregon Pacific Bank – we both understand the importance of connecting with people and forming relationships on a foundation of trust.

“What I enjoy most about my work is the opportunities for building trust,” Kit says. “Working relationships with ambassador animals allows me to help our visitors connect with nature.”

In her role, Kit oversees the daily operation and care of both the ambassador raptors at the nature center and the raptors that receive care in the wildlife hospital, located in Eugene’s south hills.

Former Executive Director Louise Shimmel has worked with raptors for decades. In addition to educating, she has always been passionate about mending injured birds and returning them to the wild, whenever possible. Her dedication to birds of prey is evident in her decades of work at the nonprofit nature center and wildlife hospital.

This bootstrap nonprofit grew slowly and acquired an abundance of community support over many years. As a nonprofit, the center has enjoyed working with a bank that’s also committed to community.

“Having local decision-makers who know the community—that’s unique,” Louise says. “We’d been with other, larger banks, and some of the decisions they made were not beneficial to our type of business, like charging a fee for depositing cash or charging a fee for having to interact with a live teller rather than using an ATM or going online.”

When Louise was looking to re-finance the Cascades Raptor Center property, she was happy to get help from Oregon Pacific Bank—having recommended us to colleagues from time to time.

“Oregon Pacific Bank made us a generous offer on refinancing our property and financing the acquisition of a neighboring property—more than doubling our size,” Louise says. In addition to refinancing, the nonprofit counts on us for its checking, money market savings and bill pay.

“I like the people and the culture of service at Oregon Pacific Bank,” Louise says. “They’ve always made us feel important and are very good at resolving issues quickly and thoroughly.”

Consistently ranked on travel sites as one of the top three things to do in Eugene, Cascades Raptor Center welcomes more than 30,000 visitors a year, offering educational and up-close raptor experiences. While no longer executive director, Louise remains passionate about the nonprofit’s mission.

“Humans of all ages, cultures and ethnicities seem to be fascinated by these predators and really appreciate the chance to see them up close and learn something about them,” Louise says.

One of Kit’s favorite things about working at the center is seeing the raptors return to the wild. “I love when we are able to release raptors back into the wild from the hospital,” Kit says. “We have given them a second chance at life.”

Banker Spotlight

Jeanette Beard

Jeanette Beard

VP, Relationship Banking Officer
Eugene Branch
541-636-4804


“That’s really the most important part about this community bank is that everybody cares for everybody – employees and clients.”


In the early days of the pandemic, business slowed as the world suddenly ground to a halt. 

Jeanette Beard, a Vice President and Relationship Banking Officer at Oregon Pacific Bank’s Eugene branch, has always loved to sew and had an idea to help fill the need for personal protective equipment.

“I told my boss: ‘I have four sewing machines,’” she recalls. “’I have tons of material, more than I could use in my life expectancy … How about we all make masks?’”

So, she and her co-workers did just that. For several weeks, the bank became a mask-making shop with branch employees donating the masks to local medical clinics and businesses that desperately needed them for their employees.

It wasn’t the first time Jeanette sat down to her sewing machine to help others in need. She’s made quilts for Eugene nonprofit Bags of Love, which provides necessities and comfort items to children in need. She’s also made blankets for The Gift of Sight, based in Eugene, which provides cataract-removal surgery to people in developing nations.

Jeanette used to put her sewing skills to use when her children were growing up, making all their pajamas and Halloween costumes. She still likes making things for them, though sometimes she’s told that she can be a bit too generous. “My daughter told me ‘No more pillowcases, Mom,’” Jeanette says with a laugh.

Family is one of the many reasons Jeanette loves living and working in Eugene, a place she’s called home since 1985. Her children and grandchildren live nearby, and another grandchild is on the way (there may already be a blanket or two in the works).

In her business life, Jeanette stays active in the Eugene professional community, attending Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way events, among others. Her career in banking began in 1992. She joined OPB about six years ago because of its reputation for community banking.

Putting the customer first, listening and fulfilling customers’ needs is what sets OPB apart from other banks, she says. “We care about doing what’s right for the client, not selling them something.”

At the start of the pandemic, after the Eugene branch completed its mask-making, she and her co-workers quickly shifted gears into offering local businesses assistance with the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The work was vital and saved thousands of local jobs.

Jeanette was impressed by her team’s dedication to help so many businesses, often working long into the night and weekends. Family members even brought in food so employees could keep working.

“It was intense,” she says. “These employees cared so much about our clients. That’s really the most important part about this community bank is that everybody cares for everybody – employees and clients.”

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