Columbia Banking System Inc., Tacoma, Wash., has promoted Melanie J. Dressel and H.R. Russell to executive vice president at its sole subsidiary, Columbia Bank.

The newly created posts give Ms. Dressel responsibility for operations and Mr. Russell oversight of lending.

Both executives, as well as administrative functions, including personnel, audit, and finance, will continue to report to president and chief executive officer W.W. "Bill" Philip, 70. He plans to retire at yearend 1998, a bank spokeswoman said.

Ms. Dressel will oversee the branch network, as well as the operations, investment, private banking, and marketing-communications divisions. She had been senior vice president of private banking since joining Columbia in 1993. Previously, she had directed Puget Sound Bank's private banking division.

Mr. Russell will direct all commercial, consumer, and real estate lending activities and head Columbia Bank's cash management, risk management, and compliance-Community Reinvestment Act divisions. He had been senior vice president of loan production, overseeing credit origination since 1994, and previously also worked at Puget Sound Bank.

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