Seeking an increased share of the lucrative western Oregon market, Centennial Bancorp plans to acquire Bank of Southern Oregon.

The deal would be a stock swap, but further terms were not disclosed.

With the acquisition under its belt, Centennial, based in Eugene, would have offices throughout the western half of the state. The $345 million company, parent of Centennial Bank, already has one branch in Portland and five in southern Oregon cities, including three in Eugene.

Bank of Southern Oregon, with $112 million in assets, has two offices in Medford, 25 miles north of the California border.

All nine of the merged bank's branches would be along Interstate 5, the state's main north-south artery.

Oregon's economy has been extremely strong of late. Diversification, fueled by an influx of high-tech money in the western half of the state, has sparked solid growth for small and medium-size businesses, Centennial's focus.

"This merger plan is consistent with our strategic plan to diversify our geographic activities along the I-5 corridor in the state of Oregon," said Richard Williams, chief executive officer of Centennial Bank. "We feel we are well located to serve the small to medium-size businesses that are operating in this strong Oregon economy."

Michael J. Nysingh, Centennial's chief financial officer, said his company probably would wait before attempting to fill in its holdings along Interstate 5.

"We'll probably digest this and try to recognize its full potential before we bite something else off," he said.

Michael Neyt, president of Bank of Southern Oregon, said it was not looking for a merger partner but "Centennial Bancorp offered a proposal which we believe is in the best interests of our shareholders."

Centennial, founded in 1981, had net income of $1.45 million in the first quarter.

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