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Loss of Bingen bank's beacon hits home

People question the absence of temperature sign in Bingen.

It turns out that a lot of people are noticing the absence of First Independent Bank's "time and temperature" sign in Bingen.

Located near the intersection of State Route 14 and State Route 141, the beacon has given residents and travelers a quick read of some vital information for about 33 years.

Last October, First Independent took the sign out of service and got a permit from the city of Bingen to install a modern, digital display. But the plan was shelved when number crunchers at the bank's headquarters in Vancouver decided the project would be too costly.

Erin Anderson, assistant vice president and manager of the bank's Bingen branch, said he is one of those who is disappointed.

"I miss it too. I'm used to looking out of my office window to get the time and temperature myself," he explained. "And this time of year, with the temperature hovering near freezing, it's hard to tell if it's black ice or rain. But I understand the economics of it."

Jan Brending, who works at nearby Bingen City Hall, said the sign was a benefit to the community.

"This is a community service the bank has provided for many, many years," Brending said. "And now that it's gone, it's sorely missed, and a great disappointment to many. I'm hoping they'll change their mind."

"The entire community seemed to notice the sign being gone," Anderson noted. "We heard the reaction."

"It's one of those little ambiences in the community," added Trout Lake resident Stan Rapp. "When I rounded the corner over the years, I've always looked at the temperature and time."


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