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A Round of Applause for Freres Lumber: A Great Client and an Even Better Community Advocate

by Alex Schmidt | Dec 23, 2021
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It’s often said that you’re judged by the company you keep, and we’re honored to keep company with Freres Lumber of Lyons, Oregon, an esteemed client, and the recipient of the 2021 Oregon Bankers Association’s Community Applause Award.

This prestigious award is given annually by the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA) to an Oregon-based business that provides significant service and makes impactful contributions to its community.

In the case of Freres, giving back to its community is a hallmark of the company dating back 100 years. 

Since the 1920s Freres has been a major supporter of numerous causes throughout the state of Oregon, and especially in the Santiam Canyon. Through the Freres Foundation, nearly $175,000 is donated annually to community causes. In 2020, while the devasting wildfires engulfed much of the Santiam Canyon, including Freres’ company land, the Freres family rose to the occasion, working alongside Santiam Memorial Hospital to establish the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund. The Fund has generated over $3.7 million to assist local families and businesses impacted by the wildfires.
Members of the Freres family also helped coordinate donation sites, providing emergency and extended housing assistance for thousands of people displaced and traumatized by the fires. In addition, the family has provided significant support to the Detroit Lake Foundation, which has assisted a town virtually leveled by the 2020 fires.

In yet another example of Freres’ generosity, the company provided hundreds of thousands of dollars this past year to help build the new Santiam High School in Mill City and was a major contributor to a significant remodel of Regis High School in Stayton. 

“We would not have the quality schools, hospital, library, or most other amenities we currently enjoy, nor would we have the employment opportunities and overall standard of living we are afforded, without the presence of Freres in this community,” said Michael Jaeger, business banking officer at Columbia Bank and the individual who nominated Freres for the award. “Columbia Bank believes strongly in the value of community support, and we are so grateful for everything Freres has done and continues to do for this community.”

As part of the award, OBA provided Freres with a $1,000 check payable to the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund in their honor. The OBA also produced a video about Freres and their community involvement. To view the video, please visit

Founded in 1996, OBA’s Community Applause Award is a competition in which banks doing business in Oregon nominate a business customer that gives back to their community in significant ways. 

“Throughout Oregon banking, the Community Applause Award is a very big deal,” said Jaeger. “I’m so glad that Freres Lumber is now part of that incredible list of businesses who make our community and state a better place to live and work.”



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