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Columbia Banking System Inc., Tacoma, Wash., elected legal counsel J. James Gallagher to its board and made him vice chairman, effective July 1.

He will be responsible for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and legal and regulatory compliance. He will report to chairman and CEO W.W. Philip.

Mr. Gallagher, 59, is head of the financial institutions practice at the Gordon, Thomas, Honeywell, Malanca, Peterson & Daheim law firm. Mr. Gallagher's daughter, Sandra, a principal in the firm, will succeed him as head of the financial institutions practice.

The $902 million-asset banking company also elected Kelso Gillenwater and William T. Weyerhaeuser as directors.

Mr. Gillenwater recently retired as president and publisher of The News Tribune, Tacoma's daily newspaper. Before that he was publisher of the Tri- City Herald, a newspaper for the Washington communities of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland.

Mr. Weyerhaeuser, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Tacoma, is also the owner and chairman of Comerco Inc., the holding company for the Yelm Telephone Co.

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