Local entrepreneur, philanthropist, and hotelier Gary Hoagland, owner of The Old Town Inn and The River House Inn in Florence, passed away May 23 in Portland, Oregon.
Gary was a born leader, enjoyed a long career in the hotel business, and served on numerous boards, including the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Newport, OR, hospital. While living in Depoe Bay he was elected mayor. He was a member of Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow for his generous contributions to humanitarian causes worldwide.
Under Gary’s leadership, the two inns have made Oregon Business Magazine’s Top 100 Fan Favorite Destinations multiple times and have won TripAdvisor’s prestigious Certificate of Excellence seven years in a row, each gaining the exclusive Hall of Fame Award. The company has won the Florence Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Siuslaw Business Award for curb appeal and multiple times for outstanding customer service. His guiding mission statement for the inns is “to exceed customer expectations with a spotless, reasonably-priced, well-appointed room and exceptional customer service.”
Through Hoagland Properties, the company that owns and operates the two inns in Florence, Gary and his wife Loretta employ about 30 people during peak season and have provided employment to hundreds since taking ownership of the two properties in 1999. They have invested heavily in upgrading the properties and spent the vast majority of those funds locally. Renovations in 2013 alone totaled more than $750,000. Hoagland Properties also invests heavily in Florence through generous contributions to a number of non-profits.
Gary is survived by his wife Loretta; his daughters, Kelly Moore and Stacy Walker; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., June 8, 2018, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, 2765 Munsel Creek Road, in Florence.
Louis Gary Hoagland was born in Albany, Calif., June 9, 1939. Several years later the family moved to Southeast Portland where Gary graduated from Cleveland High School. He attended Brigham Young University where he met and married Loretta Bingham. Because Gary wanted to go into the hotel business, they soon moved to Lansing, Michigan, to attend Michigan State University. Gary got a part time job at a local hotel and was quickly promoted to higher positions.
After several years with major hotel chains, he was hired by Inter-Continental Hotels as a financial director. His territory stretched from London, England, to Dhaka, Bangladesh. He switched to hotel operations and managed Inter-Continental Hotels internationally.
In 1979 he was managing the Inter-Continental Hotel in Iran when the revolution broke out. While most of the hotels closed in Tehran for lack of business, the Inter-Continental Hotel stayed open at almost full
capacity because the international press corps was staying there. All the Iranian employees stayed on, and at Gary’s command, turned fire hoses on rioters breaking into the hotel. Later it was learned the Iranian employees stayed because, in their words “He was an honest man.”
Early in the revolution, the American embassy was attacked and the American ambassador captured. Gary got a telephone call from the head of security. He told Gary he was hiding behind his desk as bullets flew through his office windows. He knew the press corps was staying at the Inter-Continental and had contacts with Khomeini’s people. Gary got in touch with the reporters; word was sent to Khomeini’s people, and the American captives were released on Khomeini’s orders. This early takeover is mostly forgotten. Months later the embassy was attacked and Americans were held as prisoners for 444 days before being released.
After leaving Tehran, Gary was sent to Thailand to manage the Siam Inter-Continental Hotel. A few years later he decided to leave the corporate world and start his own business with Loretta. They purchased several lodging properties in Oregon including Trollers Lodge in Depoe Bay and the Captain Cook Inn in Lincoln City, which they have since sold. Today Hoagland Properties currently owns the River House Inn and Old Town Inn in Florence, and the Scenic Hills Super 8 in Salina, Utah. Each of his properties rank high on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website.