Alongside the Avenue: Hagan Hamilton named a High 100 Employer

Marcus Larson / News-Register ## Jason John, Chief Operating Officer, chats with receptionist Hannah Forster in the company's McMInnville office. Hagan Hamilton has been named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Oregon more than a dozen times.

Hagan Hamilton Insurance Solutions was named one of the state's 100 best places to work for the 12th consecutive year by Oregon Business Magazine.

The McMinnville company received the award multiple times even before 2008, according to Jason John, chief operating officer. However, the 2020 award is particularly special as it showed Hagan Hamilton was able to maintain its high quality in such a difficult year, he said.

"We have been able to hold the line in difficult times and do some special things for our employees," said John.

While many companies downsized or on leave as the coronavirus pandemic slowed the economy, Hagan Hamilton was able to keep his 56 employees busy, he said. "We told the staff that everything was fine so they could feel safe."

Hagan Hamilton grew out of a company founded in 1910 by W.L. Warren, who served as the county sheriff in the late 19th century. It got its current name in 1961 when it was bought by Merrill Hagan and Mike Hamilton.

Rick John, Jason's father, owned a partner in the early 1990s. He has been the sole owner since 2000.

32 of the independent insurance agency's 56 employees work from the McMinnville office at 448 S.E. Baker St. Nine are in Newberg. Others are based at Hagan Hamilton's offices in Sheridan, St. Helens, and Junction City.

Employees include agents who work with individuals and companies to find the right insurance and benefits. Support staff of the service team; and administrative staff.

Hagan Hamilton employees are treated and feel like family members, said Jason John, who joined the company in 2008 as an account manager.

"We have open doors and open discussions," he said.

This lets employees know that their ideas are valued and inspires them to be proud of what they do, what they do and how they do it.

Trademark home

Kathleen's trademark will remain in its long-standing downtown location until at least June.

The gift card and collector's shop is located at 1321 N.E. Highway 99W has been open since it opened 35 years ago, according to David Toth. He and his father Les bought the company 11 years ago.

Before Christmas, the Toths were told by the mall owners that they would have to move in late 2020. They had tried to renegotiate a new lease but had failed to reach an agreement in part due to the pandemic.

The landlord gave them another month until the end of January. But now the store has at least six months before it has to move.

Customers responded enthusiastically when Toth announced that Kathleen's trademark would be retained for the time being. Many regulars had sent letters to the shop's landlord or posted support on his Facebook page in December when things were still up in the air.

Kathleen's trademark is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about the business, call 503-434-5813.

Sheridan branch

Sara Meyer has been promoted to manager of the Sheridan branch of the First Federal Savings & Loan Association, 246 S. Bridge St.

Meyer was previously a branch manager, a position in which she focused on day-to-day branch tasks and team development.

As the branch manager, she will lead all operations including customer service, business development, administration and community support. She is also responsible for “getting the best out of the industry” through training, coaching, development and motivation.

Meyer, a native of Oregon, is a member of the Sheridan Chamber of Commerce, the Carlton Community Foundation, and the Carlton Municipal Budget Committee.

First Federal chief banking officer Ron Wolfe said Meyer was "a great example of hard work and perseverance that pays off."

Mexican seafood

A new McMinnville restaurant has opened, specializing in Mexican fish dishes.

Mi Lindo Nayarit Mariscos is located at 1310 N.E. Baker St., in the Baker Street Sqaure shopping center, which has housed several restaurants over the years.

It offers a regular selection of seafood dishes ranging from various fish preparations to crab legs, lobster, scallops, clams, and squid. It also offers specialties like fish or shrimp tacos. Margaritas, piña coladas, and other drinks are also available.

The menu is available on Mi Lindo Nayarit Mariscos' Facebook page.

Customers can call 971-706-5152 in advance and then collect their food. Delivery is also available, along with limited outdoor seating.

Welcome meetings

The McMinnville Chamber of Commerce Greeters program on January 29th will feature First Federal. It runs on Zoom from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. A link is available on the Chamber's website at

The Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce in Newberg is hosting a virtual greeters session on January 29th from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. A zoom link is available on the website.

Trade tax rules

An Update on Income Tax Law for Small Businesses and Individuals will be released on January 26th in the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce Business Support series.

CPA Kathleen Bernards will speak at the webinar, which takes place from 7:30 am to 8:30 am. The cost is $ 10 per person. To register, visit

Bernards will address new federal and state tax laws and how they will affect individuals and small businesses. A question and answer session will follow.

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