Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bend: The Mass Exodus Has Begun.

Downtown seems to have a grip on Bendites. Everyone thinks that if you have a spot downtown, you can't fail. Despite all evidence to the contrary, despite a sea of failures.

See who's moving in

“It is exactly the same food, same menu and the same staff — it’s just a new location,” said Cheri Helt, co-owner of Zydeco. “We are excited to be a part of downtown.”

“Visitors are absolutely going to come,” La Placa said. “The new downtown restaurants are very promising and positive news for our tourism industry and locals.”


The new restaurants could re-energize downtown, said Carin Cameron, owner of Cork, a fine-dining restaurant on Oregon Avenue that opened in 2001.


Always someone who believes They Are Special. "I'll make it, because I am better than the rest."

Sheeps to slaughter. Thanks Costa. Mission accomplished.

I have to mention again, one of the Bubbleliscious Busts of the week: Mountain Comfort.

Any idiot should have seen this coming. But as I am often told, I am not any idiot.

Mountain Comfort was one of those things that just had no exposure to any other time, except the Best of Times. They were never exposed to anything except a parabolic economy.

Things didn't just go well, while Mountain Comfort was alive, they were meteoric.

And there are so many places like that in Bend. All the lost restaurants, Merenda, deep, Bluefish, et al. But it goes far beyond that.

All the Cook-It-Yourself franchises. 75% of the area homebuilders. Most of the RE industry infrastructure. The Big Box retailers. Auto row.

It was really most of Bend. I know there are some long timers. Like the Porsche dealer.

They were here forever before the Boom. Then the Boom. Then they remade themselves in the image of the Boom. Same with the Mercedes dealer.

Same with almost everyone. Except maybe Dunc.

Everybody bought it.

You don't have to buy the boom to own it. You just have to "refi".

You just have to alter your plans for bigger & better things. Like Mountain Comfort.

They threw millions into their facility during the parabola. They didn't build, they just refi'd up.

Everyone looks at who built, but the refier's built as well.

There was huge capacity added by entrants, but there were a huge percentage that just traded up, or they feared they'd be left behind.

Look around. This whole town traded up. It's FULL of Mountain Comforts.




I found the Job Loss on Slate chart Dunc mentioned.

Very cool, and illustrates the heinous & sudden change in this countries economy. Millions of jobs have been lost.

And we found out that Oregon has taken it's rightful place on the economic extremes.

Odd dynamic propels Oregon jobless rate to No. 2

Layoffs alone don't account for Oregon's dubious distinction as the state with the nation's second highest jobless rate behind Michigan.

Instead of giving up or leaving, as they're doing in every other high-unemployment state, more people in Oregon are seeking work. Retirees, nonworking spouses and others are job-hunting alongside laid-off workers, together driving the state's unemployment rate in March to a 12.1 percent historic high.

Oregon business news has become a daily drumbeat of layoffs and bankruptcies, yet it's difficult even for experts to fathom how joblessness here could approach levels of Michigan, a state devastated by the auto industry's meltdown. Michigan, with 12.6 percent unemployment in March, sees its labor force shrink as job seekers give up and as laid-off workers move away.

Economists can't entirely explain why Oregon bucks the same trend of worker-exodus in Nevada, California, Indiana and the Carolinas.

"I'm left scratching my head about why is that labor-force growth going up," says Tom Potiowsky, Oregon government's chief economist. "Are we going to see that level off? That's my expectation."

Potiowsky also expects Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to keep climbing, perhaps even overtaking Michigan to become worst in the nation. Oregon's rate rose in March by 1.4 percentage points, the nation's largest increase that month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Fifty-eight thousand more Oregonians entered the labor force during the year ending in March. The state lost 77,000 jobs during the same period. The 3 percent labor-force increase combined with a 4.2 percent employment decrease to produce the jobless rate equaled only once before, in November 1982.

In-migration accounted for less than 1.2 percent growth in Oregon's labor force, meaning most of the new entrants to the labor force were current residents. Michigan, by contrast, is suffering a brain drain as skilled, unemployed workers bail out.

"In some cases they've decided to move where they like to vacation," says Patrick Anderson, of Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing, Mich. "Oregon might be one of the beneficiaries."

Some Michigan citizens have lost hope, Anderson says, due to the auto industry's decline, the state's fiscal troubles and statements by former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama that, he feels, have devastated consumer confidence in U.S.-made vehicles. Anderson predicts Michigan's jobless rate will rise higher.

"The president has essentially put Chrysler on a 30-day deathwatch that's going to cause a string of bankruptcies across the entire country, including Oregon," says Anderson, who expects many U.S. car dealerships to fold.

The recession is hitting the West especially hard, pushing regional unemployment to 9.8 percent in March, compared with 9 percent in the Midwest. The national jobless rate was 8.5 percent.

Oregon has lost major employers recently such as Monaco Coach and Joe's Sports, Outdoors & More. Managers of SpectraWatt, an Intel spinoff founded in Oregon to make solar cells, found superior government incentives in New York. Other big Oregon employers are cutting pay and laying off workers.

Instead of getting discouraged, however, many Oregonians are writing resumes. More Oregon college graduates are staying in state to job hunt.

"Generally when you get these economic downturns, you would expect people to exit the labor force, not enter it," says Tim Duy, a University of Oregon economist. He suspects out-of-state retirees who moved to Bend and elsewhere in recent years could be partly responsible.

"Maybe it's because we attracted so many equity refugees," Duy says, "people that sold their homes in California for some ridiculous amount of money and moved to Oregon expecting to never have to work again."

One solution, says Duy, who admits it's harsh: a free one-way bus ticket out of state, for anyone who wants one.

This is just classic. What created prosperity on the way up, is now strangling us on the way down: Cali-Bangers.

People who flocked here with equity, traded up paying half down, a HUGE cushion, never going to work another day in their lives.

Until houses got cut in half.

Now they all need to work again.

Duy says give them free bus tickets OUT OF TOWN. COVA is paying millions to get them to come.

A House Divided.

Oregon will break your heart. Bend will give you the fucking AIDS.



We've had a nice little reprieve from the downward onslaught of late. In fact, we've had the best 6 week run in the markets since 1938.

But don't get comfy. The tax refunds will soon be spent, the stimulus dollars will be revealed as just another AIG boondoggle, and Oh Yes... the foreclosure moratorium is coming to a halt:

US Foreclosure Filings Jump as Moratoriums End
REAL ESTATE, MORTGAGES, ECONOMY, FORECLOSURES
Reuters
16 Apr 2009 | 05:09 AM ET

U.S. foreclosure activity leaped 46 percent in March from a year earlier, hitting a record high as programs stunting the torrid pace of failing mortgages expired, RealtyTrac reported on Thursday.

A temporary freeze on foreclosures by major banks and government-controlled home finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended before President Barack Obama's massive housing stimulus, unveiled on March 6, could take root.


Filings, which include notice of default, auction sale or bank repossession, jumped 17 percent in March from February.
Filings for the quarter also marked a record high, jumping 24 percent from the same period a year ago.

The March and first-quarter totals were the highest since RealtyTrac began tracking them in January 2005, even as bank repossessions declined.
One in every 159 U.S. households with mortgages got a foreclosure filing in the first three months of this year, RealtyTrac said.

Filings were reported on more than 803,000 properties in the quarter.
California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S. foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with a combined 479,516 properties receiving filings.

In the transition from industry freeze to new government rescues, the foreclosure filing floodgates reopened. After the moratoriums ceased, "we saw an onslaught of notices of default, which is the first stage of foreclosure," Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, said in an interview.

The rise in filings suggests a backlog had built up due to the moratoriums. The success of the Obama mortgage bailout may not be seen until the autumn, Sharga added. Activity should peak near year-end. "

But unfortunately, these well-intentioned delays in the processing might have the unintended consequence of extending the housing downturn," and further dragging down home prices, he said.
"We still anticipate that we'll see upward of 3 million households receive a foreclosure notice this year, up from 2.4 million last year," Sharga said.

For all of 2005, the last year before the foreclosure spike started in earnest, RealtyTrac reported about 800,000 filings.
Loan servicers are overwhelmed with the volume of failing home loans and many are understaffed to handle modifications.

One national servicer that foreclosed on 2,000 properties in 2006 handled about 21,000 the next year with similar staffing levels, Sharga said.
The servicer expects a 50 percent spike in 2008, without approval to increase staff.

Unemployment May Trump Bargain Hunting


Nevada, Arizona and California had the highest foreclosure rates in the first quarter. Homes prices and sales soared in these states during the boom years earlier this decade, and now suffer the biggest losses on overbuilding and abandoned investment units.


Nevada led the ranks in the quarter, with one of every 27 households with loans getting a filing, more than five times the national average.


Everyday I hear people who are deciding to Walk Away and Not Pay. U-Haul is the only growth industry I see.

And you watch, the Mass Exodus of Bend is about to go into high gear. School's over, and I'll wager we are going to see the first innings of an outmigration the likes of which this place has never seen.

You can have 16%+ unemployment and not hemorrhage population. Crook & Jeff counties will be even worse.

They'll start talking about a rebound soon, but nature hates a vacuum, and homes will rush in to fill the void. The plummet in Bend prices will continue unabated.

But even so, now is basically the only time you can sell. And you have to want to sell.

Realtors are finally waking up to the New Reality, and that reality doesn't involve overpriced listings that sap their valuable resources.

You need to wake up & realize that if you bought in the past 5 years, you will lose.

If you bought in the 5 years preceding that, you might do little better than break even.

If you bought before that, simply realize that your gains will be muted, not astronomic like you thought they'd be 3 years ago.

That's the New Bend. A place where dreams are crushed.



Finally I want to go out with a little excerpt from The Economist.

One of heresy-ridden ideas I put out about 18 months ago was that home-ownership (The American Dream) would become the AmeriKKKan Nightmare.

People would actually look down on home ownership. Home owners would be seen as The Inferior Race. Not Renters.

Renters are just losing their monthly payment. Owners are losing everything.

Shelter, or burden?
Apr 16th 2009

The social benefits of home ownership look more modest than they did and the economic costs much higher

IN A scene from the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a happy couple is about to enter their new home. Jimmy Stewart, whose firm has sold them the mortgage, reflects that there is “a fundamental urge…for a man to have his own roof, walls and fireplace.” He offers them bread, salt and wine so “joy and prosperity may reign for ever”. That embodies the Anglo-Saxon world’s attitude to home ownership. Owning your own roof, walls and fireplace, it is thought, is good for householders because it helps them accumulate wealth. It is good for the economy because it encourages people to save.

And it is good for society because homeowners invest more in their neighbourhoods, engage more in civic activities and encourage their children to do better at school than do renters. Home ownership, in short, benefits everyone—not just the homeowner—and the more there is of it, the better.

Which is why it is usually encouraged by the government. In America, Ireland and Spain, homeowners can deduct mortgage-interest payments from taxable income.
Yet the worldwide crash was bound up in this supposed miracle of social policy.

The disaster began with defaults on American subprime mortgages, a financial instrument designed to spread home ownership among the poor.

It gathered pace after the failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that provide cheap home loans. As a result, the home-ownership rate in America has fallen for four years, the first time that has happened in a quarter of a century.

In 2008, 2.3m families lost their homes or faced foreclosure—double the average before the crisis—reducing the home-ownership rate from 69% in 2004 to 67.5% at the end of 2008. The number of owner-occupied dwellings also slipped in Britain in 2007-08 for the first time since the 1950s.


Subsidised castles


So attempts to expand home ownership have contributed to the wider economic crisis without succeeding in their own terms. How does that affect the arguments for supporting home ownership? Should it still be deemed a public good?


No, say several economists and commentators. “Given the way US policy favours owning over renting,” writes Paul Krugman, 2008’s Nobel laureate in economics, “you can make a good case that America already has too many homeowners.” Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, talks about “the madness of encouraging Americans to bet everything on housing”.


So far, policymakers are unmoved. In mid-February Barack Obama proposed a $275 billion plan to support America’s housing market. Outside the Anglo-Saxon world Nicolas Sarkozy, who campaigned for the presidency to turn France into a property-owning democracy, has expanded zero-interest housing loans for the poor.


The main economic argument for home ownership is that, in the words of Thomas Shapiro of Brandeis University, “it is by far the single most important way families accumulate wealth”. This argument now looks as weak as house prices.
In Britain prices have fallen 21% since their peak in October 2007. Prices in America have fallen more slowly but further, down 30% since their peak in mid-2006 (see chart 1).

This has reduced the total value of the country’s housing stock from over $22 trillion in 2007 to $19 trillion at the end of 2008. In the past few weeks, housing markets on both sides of the Atlantic have seen signs of life, but there is every chance that prices have further to fall before they finally reach their low.


The collapse in house prices matters most directly to two overlapping groups: those who bought property at the peak of the market and now face “negative equity”; and those (in America) who took out subprime mortgages.

Roughly 10m Americans are in negative equity—ie, the cost of their mortgage exceeds the value of their home. In Britain about 3% of households are in negative equity. For homeowners, negative equity makes houses more like a trap than a piggy bank.

Those who cannot meet their payments lose their house, their savings and (in America, usually) their credit rating for seven years.
The other area of concentrated distress is subprime mortgages, which increased their share of the American mortgage market from 7% in 2001 to over 20% in 2006.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the delinquency rate was 22% in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with only 5% for prime loans. Many people have concluded that, in Mr Krugman’s words, “home ownership isn’t for everyone.” However, a study by the Centre for Community Capital, part of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, casts some doubt on that conclusion.

It compared a group of people who took out subprime loans with a group of borrowers from the Community Advantage Programme (CAP), a government-backed scheme that lends to the sort of people who might have had a subprime mortgage. The default rate for CAP borrowers was only a quarter what it was for subprime mortgage holders, even though the incomes and backgrounds of borrowers were similar.

Since the real problem lay partly in the mortgages, rather than the borrowers, this suggests the subprime crisis was a financial-market mess, as well as a housing one.
Does that also imply that home ownership has the economic benefits that its proponents claim? Two pieces of evidence seem to support such a view.

The first is that housing has fared better in the crisis than other assets. Share prices are around 50% below their peaks in many countries, so compared with shareowners, homeowners have not done badly. However, home ownership in a downturn has one big disadvantage: most people buy shares outright but homes on margin (ie, they put down a small stake, if anything).

If share prices fall by 10%, you lose 10%; if house prices fall by 10%, you may lose your entire savings. The value of American homeowners’ equity in their own houses has slumped from a peak of $12.5 trillion in 2005 to just $8.5 trillion at the end of 2008. This undermines one claim that homeowning is economically beneficial.
The other piece of evidence for home ownership’s benefits is that the house-price fall has so far spared most existing homeowners from absolute losses.

In America, for example, house prices have fallen back only to where they were in 2004. There were roughly 29m house sales in the United States between 2004 and 2007, compared with 115m households, and anyone who bought before then is probably sitting on a nominal profit.

However, as Harvard University’s Martin Feldstein points out, if house prices rise, people feel richer and borrow and spend more. If they feel poorer, they may cut back even if the price of their house has not fallen below what they paid for it.
Subsidies to home ownership have thus increased economic volatility.

They boosted consumption, as homeowners used their houses as collateral to finance consumption or investment. In America mortgage-equity withdrawals reached $9 trillion between 1997 and 2006—equal to more than 90% of disposable income in 2006. This gave homeowners more to spend in the good times but less in bad ones. In Britain home-equity withdrawals added the equivalent of 3% of post-tax income to households in the fourth quarter of 2007 but subtracted 3% a year later.

So changes to house prices aggravate the economic cycle. Recent research by the IMF finds that a quarter of the 100-odd recessions since 1960 have been associated with house-price busts and that these contractions “are deeper and last longer than other recessions do”.
Subsidies to home ownership have also weakened financial services.

They encouraged more people to buy houses (which was the point), but, logically enough, also encouraged lenders to take greater risks with housing. This was fine while house prices were rising, but the fall exposed how vulnerable banks’ balance sheets had become.
Moreover, if public policy aims to create wealth, there are other ways of doing it.

People could invest their savings in the stockmarket and rent their homes, for example. Had they done so in the past two years, they would have done worse than homeowners. But for three decades before that, equity prices easily outstripped property prices (see chart 2), so in the long run equities have been a better bet than houses. (Admittedly, this strips out the effects of share dividends and imputed rents, which favour property.)

Housing suffers from two further weaknesses as an investment. It sucks up disproportionately large amounts of money, falling foul of the idea that investors should diversify: in America the equity tied up in houses accounts for 45% of the net worth of the average householder.

And it is illiquid. If you need to raise money, you cannot sell a room or two, whereas you can always sell a few shares. It is hard to argue houses are the best asset for building wealth.
“Perhaps the most compelling argument for housing as a means of wealth accumulation”, argues Richard Green of the University of Southern California, “is that it gives households a default mechanism for savings.”

Because people have to pay off a mortgage, they increase their home equity and save more than they otherwise would. This is indeed a strong argument: social-science research finds that people save more if they do so automatically rather than having to choose to set something aside every month.


Yet there are other ways to create “default savings”, such as companies offering automatic deductions to retirement plans. In any case, some of the financial snake oil peddled at the height of the housing bubble was bad for saving.

Subprime, interest-only and other kinds of mortgage instruments allowed people to buy their homes without a down-payment and without building up equity. “Negative amortisation” (neg-am) mortgages even let people pay only part of their interest each month and to add the rest to the principal, increasing their debt, not their savings. Home-equity loans had the same effect.


Where the heart is


The main arguments for home ownership, though, are not primarily economic, but social. Home ownership, argue those who want to expand it, benefits society because it encourages stable, more law-abiding communities; it makes people more likely to vote in local elections and join clubs; and it benefits future generations because, it turns out, the children of homeowners do better at school and have fewer behavioural problems than children of renters.

On the face of it, the evidence for these claims is strong. In America homeowners are less likely to move than renters, so areas with a lot of homeowners are more stable. According to the 2007 American Housing Survey, homeowners stay where they are for about nine years whereas renters move every two.


More stable neighbourhoods are more law-abiding. According to a study of New York City, the home-ownership rate was second only to income as an explanation for different crime rates.


The link between ownership and political participation is stronger still. In America in the early 1990s, 69% of homeowners voted, compared with only 44% of renters. Homeowners are more likely to know who their representatives are; more likely to support local causes or parent-teacher associations and (this being America) more likely to go to church.


Perhaps the most surprising link is between ownership and children. One study in America found that, in 2000, the mathematics scores of the children of homeowners were 9% higher than those of renters’ children; reading levels were 7% higher.

This had nothing to do with income: the research controlled for that. In another study homeowners’ children were 25% more likely to graduate from high school and more than twice as likely to go to university. Their teenage daughters were also less likely to become pregnant.


These studies, though, are not the last word. They find a link between children’s education and homeowning. But is this because, as some suggest, home ownership requires parents to possess managerial or financial skills that they pass on to their children? Or is it because the people with those skills help their children at school and also buy houses? No one knows.


Nor is it certain that owners always take better care of their neighbourhoods than renters do. Some studies claim that the effect in fact depends on a few public-spirited people willing to set an example. Renters can be public-spirited too. In America areas with lots of renters tend to be transient because the typical rental period is short.

In Germany, though, people rent for years. Stable neighbourhoods and widespread home ownership can go together but do not need to. As Bill Rohe of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill puts it, “evidence regarding the societal benefits of home ownership is highly conjectural.”
Still, on balance, home ownership gives people a stake in the state of their surroundings.

Thriving streets increase the value of properties, giving owners incentives to improve them further. Renters get no such benefit; they may even have to pay more if the neighbourhood improves.
Whether stability is such a good thing in a downturn, though, is a different matter.

A decade ago Andrew Oswald of Warwick University argued that owning your own home makes you more reluctant to move, so labour markets tend to become more rigid as home ownership increases. He claimed that increases in the level of home ownership (though not necessarily the level itself) are associated with rises in unemployment. Ireland, Greece and Spain all saw large increases in home ownership in the 1980s and 1990s, and had relatively high unemployment.

America and Switzerland had stable ownership rates, and escaped the long-term rise in joblessness.
His argument remains controversial. Critics point out that many things other than home ownership might prevent people from moving (children’s schools, friends and so on).

Anyway, liquid housing markets should make it possible for people to move, if they want to. It is also possible that, even if people were trapped in distressed areas, jobs should move there to take advantage of the willingness of homeowners to accept lower wages.
All that said, Mr Oswald’s arguments seem especially powerful at the moment.

The recession in America is bearing down most heavily on two groups of states: Florida, California and Nevada, which had the largest house-building booms in the 1990s; and Michigan, New Hampshire, Delaware, West Virginia and Mississippi, which have the highest home-ownership rates.

People are not, in fact, moving as frequently as they used to: the share of those moving house in 2007-08—11.9% of the population—was the lowest since records began. So labour markets look less flexible than they were.

Negative equity exacerbates immobility because people are reluctant to move if it means selling at a loss. Researchers at the Wharton School reckon that people in negative equity are only half as likely to move as those who are not.

In all these ways, high home ownership may prolong and deepen a recession.
The problem remains of how to weigh the economic costs against the social benefits of home ownership.

There can be no easy judgment about this but the recent rise and fall of house prices suggests both that the costs are greater and the benefits smaller than once thought.
If owning were such a boon, you would expect neighbourhoods with lots of owners to have done better than those with lots of renters during the boom years.

That does not seem to have happened.
What has happened, though, is that above a certain level, foreclosures have done a lot of damage during the bad years. Recent studies of New York and Cleveland find that, if lenders foreclose on 3-4% of properties in an area, local prices fall even faster and further than average. Rows of For Sale signs almost certainly have the same effect in Britain.

In other words, ownership can sometimes be worse for a neighbourhood than renting.
A shelter—for your money Lastly, and perversely, the decade of obsession with expanding home ownership may actually have reduced neighbourhood stability.

Nicolas Retsinas, the director of the Joint Centre for Housing Studies at Harvard University, suggests that, until the crash in 2008, Americans were coming to see their homes as financial investments rather than as places to live.

That is true in other countries. Neg-am mortgages in America and buy-to-rent arrangements in Britain were based on the assumption that houses were primarily investments.
As a result, people seem to have started to buy and sell homes more frequently.

Between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, the number of new houses sold almost doubled in America, from just over 600,000 to over 1.2m in 2006.
Perhaps that made labour markets more mobile, but it was certainly not what policymakers were aiming for when they set out to increase home ownership.

Their efforts in the past few years seem to have weakened, though not destroyed, the best arguments for treating home ownership as something to be encouraged: that it increases people’s savings and creates better neighbourhoods for everyone. But perhaps you should not be surprised by that.

As Adam Smith wrote in “The Wealth of Nations” two centuries ago, “a dwelling-house, as such, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitants.”


You watch. Bend, and the USA in general, is becoming a serfdom. A smaller & smaller number of owners.

Great for those miniscule numbers on top, and a nightmare for the rest. No middle class. Just serf's working to pay debts, forever.

The bounce is temporary. We'll find out, just like GM, that the debts are coming due. Again. And put as many debt reprieves in the pipe as you want, they will simply come due again, and again.

This town is 100% doomed. If you trade up to downtown, you will fail. The Financial Black Plague is here.

Save, don't spend. List your house today for 30% less than you think it's worth. Or better, what your hungry Realtor thinks it's worth. I said this 1 year ago, and no one believed it.

Well, here we are. Again. It'll be even worse next year. 16%+ unemployment ensures that there will soon be NO ONE left to buy homes here at the end of this Summer. NO ONE.
"It's tough out there... time to tighten my belt!"
Momma Be MILFin!
Made & Installed In Bend Oregon!

150 comments:

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Portland landlords, tenants take their lumps in downturn
Posted by acarpent April 18, 2009 19:31PM

Working conditions could hardly be nicer for Annette Ferren: new building, noiseless lobby waterfall, stunning downtown views, air scented by citrus and fresh paint.

Yet Ferren, a leasing associate for Holland Residential Properties, may have one of the Portland area's toughest jobs -- trying to persuade prospects to rent units in the snazzy new Ladd Tower at Southwest Broadway and Jefferson Street at rates reaching $5,000 a month.

The deepening economic recession is hitting landlords in all income strata. But unlike during the recession of 2002-03, downtown Portland has or will add about 3,000 new upscale apartment units between 2008 and 2010. About half were intended to be condos before that market crashed more than a year ago.

"The economy is affecting everything, apartment communities and housing in general," Ferren says. "We are not insulated from that." Still, she says, "All the response has been good" since Ladd marketing efforts started in January.

Recessions typically increase vacancy rates as young tenants move back with parents, friends double up and some renters move away looking for work. Mark D. Barry, a veteran apartment building appraiser, says an economic downturn hit quickly in the second half of 2008.

"The rental market clearly is getting hit," he says. "The last couple years were definitely a landlord's market, but that has changed."

Portland-area vacancies hit 8.3 percent in 2003, then dropped late in 2007 to 2.9 percent, the lowest in a decade, according to figures compiled by the Metro Multifamily Housing Association, a landlord organization. Barry figures those rates will climb back to the 5 to 6 percent range this year. "Everything I'm hearing says it is getting very tough."
Rents flatten

Barry pays close attention to vacancy and rent rates because those are key elements in valuing apartment buildings, his specialty since 1983. He says sale values on apartment buildings dropped 10 percent in the second half of 2008 compared with the first half.

Vacancy rates are expected to be lower in urban centers than suburbs, where transit and other services are less accessible.

Barry says rents have flattened quickly with the economic downturn, and he expects them to stay flat through 2009. Rents had increased 5 to 10 percent between 2006 and mid-2008, according to a study in the Portland State University Real Estate Journal.

Some landlords are offering free parking or a free month as part of a long lease; such incentives were unheard of in recent years.

Flat rents may be a welcome sign to some tenants. "The fact of the matter is, there isn't enough housing at prices people can afford," says Ari Rapkin, co-director of the Community Alliance of Tenants, a Portland-based tenant-advocacy group. "You can't pay for a $600 apartment if you have no income coming in."

Rapkin says some Portland tenants pay 50 to 60 percent of their incomes for rent, when 30 percent is generally considered a fair guideline. She says many tenants also have been caught in the burst of home foreclosures because they rented from investors who got in over their heads.

"We've had tenants who have been paying their landlords every month, but the landlords haven't been paying the mortgage," Rapkin says. "Sometimes they get very short notice. Some have been told their houses are going to auction in 10 days. It's really unthinkable."
9,000 applicants

Numbers from the Housing Authority of Portland support the apparent shortage of units at the lowest rents. When the agency opened a waiting list for less than three weeks last year for federally subsidized Section 8 vouchers, approximately 9,000 applicants signed up -- several times more than the slots available.

The housing authority administers subsidy vouchers for 8,200 households. "Earning a voucher is almost like winning the lottery for a lot of these people," says Shelley Marchesi, a Housing Authority spokeswoman.

Yet as many as 25 percent of new voucher holders often cannot find units. After 120 days, they lose their vouchers and must go back in line.

"When they can't find housing, it really hurts," Marchesi says. She says it is possible that the number of unplaced Section 8 voucher holders might decline with the recession, as landlords might be more attracted to the guaranteed income from vouchers.

The housing authority also administers 2,500 units of its own low-income housing, but the wait is more than a year, Marchesi says.

Some landlords refuse to rent to Section 8 tenants and say so in their advertising. That rankles Rapkin, who says the Oregon Legislature will be asked this year to outlaw that practice. "It's really the only source of discrimination left," Rapkin says. "It doesn't seem very just."

New units generally have some trickle-down effect, opening vacancies in older buildings. That is not likely to happen with the high-end units, however, which usually don't draw tenants moving up from other rentals. "I don't think that offers any hope to our people," Rapkin says.

Barry, the appraiser, says the high-end market is overbuilt with 2 1/2 to 3 years of excess inventory. Another drag on new units is the "shadow market" of approximately 500 high-end condos that are rented out by individual owners.

Barry says some new buildings may wind up no more than half filled. "The high-end apartment market is pretty bloody now," he says.

"You just don't get people committing to $2,000 and $3,000 monthly rents."

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Recession spares no place in Portland
Posted by bmcewen April 18, 2009 18:45PM

The 23rd Avenue shopping strip, Portland's palace of posh, is fraying under the weight of the recession.

The city's icon to consumerism is where high-end retailers Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma Home and Urban Outfitters go to be seen.
Faith Cathcart/The OregonianPamela and John Power stroll past the latest feature on Portland's trendy Northwest 23rd Avenue: vacant storefronts.

But empty storefronts are now as visible as double lattes.

White House Black Market. Gone. French Quarter. Gone. Twenty-Third Avenue Books. Wham. Music Millennium. All gone.

From every street corner between Everett and Raleigh streets -- 13 blocks -- shoppers can spot a "For Lease" sign or plywood-covered window. Demand has fallen far enough that a head shop called Mary Jane's House of Glass can now afford a 23rd Avenue storefront.

The street some call "Trendy-Third" reflects the trouble facing a once-unstoppable real estate boom. Beyond shops, downtown offices are starting to empty as law firms and architects lay off workers. Suburban office parks, once filled with high-tech workers and mortgage brokers, are going dark.

Commercial real estate has avoided the mass foreclosures of the housing market, but it's starting to slide into the same recession.

The Portland-area market is still doing better than it did in the dot-com bust and is outperforming cities such as Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. But the mood and scene across the region are bleak as the state's unemployment rate rockets to No. 2 in the country and consumers hold tight to every dollar.

Commercial real estate tends to lag broader economic trends, and vacancies are expected to climb.
Weak suburban demand

The broad brick buildings that rise above Lake Oswego's Meadows Road filled during the 2004-07 real estate boom, earning the nickname Mortgage Row for the proliferation of real estate companies.

Now, it could be called "For Lease Row."

Signs advertising office space dot the tree-lined boulevards.

Falling rents

Landlords of downtown luxury apartments are dropping rents to attract renters who have doubled up or moved back in with their parents. Here are the discounts, compared with advertised rents, that landlords are offering:

• The Wyatt: 26%

• Riva on the Park: 18%

• 2121 Belmont: 15%

• Ladd Tower: 15%

• Asa: 15%

• The Louisa: 14%

Source: Colliers International

The Kruse Way area's proximity to leafy, wealthy suburbs and easy access to Interstate 5 and Oregon 217 make it one of the region's most prestigious addresses. It's about a tenth the size of the central city office market but provides a barometer for suburban office parks.

During the real estate run-up in early 2006, Kruse Way's offices filled and vacancies dropped to as low as 5.9 percent. Now, real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield says, the Kruse Way market is 16 percent vacant.

At 6000 S.W. Meadows Road, the building was so full that workers had to compete for a parking spot each morning. "Don't have to do that anymore," John Robinson, who works for a health care consulting company in the building, said recently.

After the economy weakened, tenants in the 6000 building started to disappear.

Meritage Mortgage Corp. closed. Motorola left, and so did a financial adviser. At the back of the first floor, Security Title Guaranty Co.'s office has gone dark and the art has been pulled off the wall. But the furniture remains as if the employees left one day and never came back.

The companies that remain are cutting back spending. Robinson and co-worker Erik Cook say they used to have company meetings at the white-tablecloth Stanford's restaurant. Now, Cook said, it "seems like it's Olive Garden salad and bread sticks."

Shorenstein Properties, a San Francisco real estate company that owns 19 buildings in the Kruse Way area, has filled parts of the 6000 building. Still, the 110,000-square-foot building remains about 12 percent vacant, said Matt Cole, senior vice president of Shorenstein Realty Services.

Across Kruse Way, rents can reach $33,000 a year for a 1,000-square-foot office. Cole said Shorenstein has dropped asking rents 5 to 10 percent to recruit tenants from outside Kruse Way who want to move up to the high-end offices.

Down the road, Shorenstein is about to finish a five-story brick building, Kruse Oaks III. But Cole said the company has yet to find any tenants.

The recession is hitting Kruse Way, Cole said, "but we're still attracting new tenants."

In downtown Portland, the office market didn't actually peak until fall 2008. Vacancies hit their lowest point -- 8.5 percent -- in the third quarter of last year. But the rate has jump nearly 2 percentage points since then to 10.2 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

A Cushman & Wakefield report showed that office vacancies in U.S. downtowns rose to 12.5 percent in the first quarter and could rise to 15 percent by the end of the year. Of the 31 U.S. cities tracked by Cushman, about half already have vacancies of 15 percent or more, Bloomberg reported.

Last week, Portland developer Tom Moyer stopped construction on his 32-story office and condo tower. Moyer, one of the city's wealthiest developers, said he couldn't get a construction loan.

A few blocks away, Shorenstein is installing the windows on its 16-story First & Main building. It's scheduled to open in spring 2010, but no tenants have signed up yet.
Scared to spend

Just above 23rd Avenue near Burnside, Clyde Fladwood ferries boxes out of his women's clothing store, CC McKenzie.

He opened the place five years ago when times were booming on 23rd.

But sales started to slow with the economy in October 2007, then got worse each month after. Fladwood wouldn't provide numbers, but he said March was the worst yet.

The flood of people who used to cruise 23rd Avenue on a sunny day slowed to a trickle. "It was dreadful," Fladwood said.

Now, the window signs say it all: "Store liquidation. Everything must go."

Fladwood's lease expires in May, and he says his slumping sales don't justify a new lease. "People are scared to death to go out and spend money, and they're not," he said Friday as a few women thumbed through sale-priced pants, shirts and shoes.

"This is the only thing that makes sense to people, buying when someone's going out of business."

The retail vacancy rate in the central city, which includes 23rd Avenue, rose to 8.2 percent in the first quarter. That's the highest since late 2004 but still far below the 17 percent reported in spring 2001. Across the Portland area, the vacancy rate is 6.5 percent, according to real estate firm Norris, Beggs & Simpson.

Julia Gray, who worked at CC McKenzie four years, isn't sure what she'll do next. "I'll have to go on unemployment," Gray said, "like the rest of the world."

Each store that closes gives shoppers one less reason to visit 23rd.

Downstairs from CC McKenzie, the Verizon Wireless store is empty. The windows at the French Quarter are papered over. Across the street from CC McKenzie, the White House Black Market store is cleaned out and the side of the building rots. A couple of "For Lease" signs hang next door.

That's where Rick Brewer and Michael Smith survey the empty buildings from the front of their deli, Northwest Soups and Subs.

They tick through all the empty storefronts and point to the condo building that rises above them, The Westerly. The developers struggle to sell the high-priced condos and the first-floor shops remain empty. The only thing anywhere on the ground floor is a "For Lease" sign.

Brewer and Smith are trying to cope with the recession themselves. They added free delivery and dropped their prices on subs from $6.50 to $4.95.

"Just so we can keep the customer base," Brewer said. "We don't make as much, but we keep it going."

-- Ryan Frank; ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com; blog.oregonlive.com/frontporch

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I know Dunc's mentioned it before, and the General Growth BK is the leading edge, but the Second Shoe is going to drop soon: Commercial RE.

Man, when that cuts loose, you'll see huge pockets of Bend just turn to deserted wasteland. Colorado & Simpson will be Ground Zero. Already is.

Wave 1 will be the tsunami of home equity devastation. Wave 2 will kill of those who survived. The Commercial Wave will cut the legs out from this place.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Wave 1 will be the tsunami of home equity devastation.
Yes, "will be". This thing isn't over by a long shot.

People will be shitting bricks when the only thing that sells is REO & foreclosures. And it's 50% below what they listed for.

Desert Skeeze is already approaching the UNTHINKABLE $50/sf barrier. It broke $100 just last Fall.

People will be able to start businesses for PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR. That's the good news. But an economy can't run on pennies.

Bend = Deleveraging Liquidity Nighmare.

No MONEY. People are starting to PACK UP & GO.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

LIST & DUMP YOUR HOME, Folks.

If you even think you're going to sell in the next 2-3 years, you NEED TO LIST IT TODAY.

I said this last year. SLASH PRICE. There are buyers, but they are 100% FULLY AWARE the Bend Dream Is Over and has been replaced by a BEND NIGHTMARE.

If you SLASH & BURN on price, you CAN get it. And you will be SO THANKFUL you did come this time next year. The Next Guy will lose his ass on your shit shack.

If you are unemployed, GET THE FUCK OUT NOW. If you're even close, POLISH UP THE RESUME, cuz you will get your ass fired, and you do not want to own a home here come July 1st. Then it'll be too late.

People, get the fuck outta this place if you have any intention of doing so in the next 10 years. This place will give you the FINANCIAL AIDS, and you will DIE.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

And go to OLMIS to see the unemployment trends in OR.

Unemployment EXPLODED in March in this state, a time when it typically dives.

I can't imagine it'll happen in Bend, it never has. I mean, Feb is almost always rock-bottom in Cent OR's economy.

But we'll see. Strange times. The Completely Unheralded will become the Norm.

Anonymous said...

What town do you recommend everybody move to?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

What town do you recommend everybody move to?

Anywhere in the Midwest. Still get beat up, but far less severely than here. WY has under 4% unemployment.

Wichita, Des Moines...

Anonymous said...

Most Oregonians are natives. One of my neighbors, (masters in engineering), said"I would rather eat dirt than leave Oregon." After being laid off, he ended up working for a landscaping company.
Oregon is pretty, but there are many places, especially for young people, that have better opportunities. Here, you can't move up the job scale unless someone retires, or dies.Employers know this, and can pay substandard wages and benefits. That is why everyone here, who can, works for the government. Oregon has one of the highest percentage of people who work for government, of any state.
If you are under the age of 45, get out now, while you can.
This is going to get MUCH,MUCH,worse.

Anonymous said...

Kansas sure sounds appealing but I think I'll tough it out here in Bend.

I think instead I'll kick back on my deck, gaze at the mtns, and have a few beers.

Go ahead and let us know how things are going in Kansas when you get there, shit head.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Kansas sure sounds appealing but I think I'll tough it out here in Bend.

I think instead I'll kick back on my deck, gaze at the mtns, and have a few beers.

Go ahead and let us know how things are going in Kansas when you get there, shit head.


Just cuz you've lost your 401K, your savings, and everything else, doesn't mean you have to be rude.

Geez Costa... I thought you were at least civil.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I think instead I'll kick back on my deck, gaze at the mtns, and have a few beers.

Lemme guess, you're from Cali?

Standard Cali-Banger "I'm OK so Fuck You" attitude. You'll be the reason NORMALS leave Bend. In the end this place will be full of BITTER ALKI'S like you.

And you'll only have meth-running Mecks to run your shithole business. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

"Lemme guess, you're from Cali?"

I figured you were the Cali-banger.

Most Oregonians like me aren't a bunch of pussies who tell everybody to move to Kansas.

Nobody gives a shit about the newspaper but you bubba.

Anonymous said...

"I'm left scratching my head about why is that labor-force growth going up," says Tom Potiowsky, Oregon government's chief economist.Several ideas:

1. People who were self-employed in RE or construction industries now have to seek jobs.

2. People who owned small business that failed are now seeking jobs.

3. People who were living off their investments can't do it anymore and have to seek jobs.

4. Idiots are still moving here for the "lifestyle" without having a job lined up first.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Please! No more comments today!

It's too nice a day reading this blog, and realizing that we're losing $1,000/week on our domiciles.

Go out! Drink beer on your back deck! Enjoy the view!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I figured you were the Cali-banger.
Huh, that makes sense. Cali-Spunkers ARE a self-hating lot.

Costa, go outside. Hollern's on your back deck sucking down a cold one, and he needs to rest it on your head, while you puff his beef tube.

Anonymous said...

THE ECONOMIST SAYS:
"...for three decades before that, equity prices easily outstripped property prices (see chart 2), so in the long run equities have been a better bet than houses. "

OK, EVERYONE READ THAT? BUY STOCKS! THE ECONOMIST HAS A CHART! IT SAYS SO!

Anonymous said...

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...
What town do you recommend everybody move to?

Anywhere in the Midwest. Still get beat up, but far less severely than here. WY has under 4% unemployment.

Wichita, Des Moines...
Hasta la vista, Booby. I'd rather live in a single wide and become a LaPinoid, living on a steady diet of government cheese and spam.

Wichita, Des moines...Good one.

Bewert said...

Re: What town do you recommend everybody move to?

###

No fucking BS like all the anonymouses in Bend, just the unemployment facts about all 372 "metro" areas in the US:

http://www.bls.gov/web/laummtrk.htm

We are 361st of 372. Flint, MI is 348th.

New local numbers come out tomorrow and I'll post them on bendgazette.com. Link here, look for it around 11 AM: http://olmis.emp.state.or.us/olmisj/AllRates

Look at the top 50 and find a place you like. It will have at most 1/3rd the UE Bend has.

We are going back to Utah, with all four population centers in the top 50.

Rather than in the bottom 11, bottom 3%, like Bend.

So it goes.

Anonymous said...

Re:
Costa, go outside. Hollern's on your back deck sucking down a cold one, and he needs to rest it on your head, while you puff his beef tube.

###

Damn, he must have found his Viagra.

Anonymous said...

Bewert said...
It's amazing how big of assholes people can be when they are anonymous. First time I've seen it up close in 15 years on the net.


===

Peace out, Mr Pussy...

Anony or not, the buster's (or hbm's, or whoever's) advice was good advice.

Next town you re-invent yourself in, just be sure not to name your real name online. If your EGO demands that you use your real name online, then at least have the decentcy to protect your loved ones and leave T as un-named.

Bewert said...

Re: Next town you re-invent yourself in, just be sure not to name your real name online. If your EGO demands that you use your real name online, then at least have the decentcy to protect your loved ones and leave T as un-named.

###

Next town is one I spent 20 years in and around before I moved here. To the land of 300 days of sunshine.

And never seen the assholes I've seen here.

But no more T.

Ego?

I simply can't figure out how you think you can change or affect anything without using you're real name. Stand up at meetings. Talk to people. Post facts.

But then, I guess Homer has proved me wrong...

Bewert said...

...you're real name.

###

...your real name.

Sorry, Tim.

Anonymous said...

here's some good news oww2 recalled the board of directors and they are going to fire cascade buisness group. 607 for the recall against 72 that folks is a slam dunk.We have our community back and no more oppression. what a wonderfull feeling.

Anonymous said...

Look everybody the Pussy's been posting on Craigslist again:

http://bend.craigslist.org/rnr/1124391538.html

Bewert said...

Re: here's some good news oww2 recalled the board of directors and they are going to fire cascade buisness group. 607 for the recall against 72 that folks is a slam dunk.We have our community back and no more oppression. what a wonderfully feeling.

###

Nice to see some folks have fought back successfully.

Those votes were not anonymouse.

Which is why they won.

Anonymous said...

Anybody hear anything else on the $15,000 tax credit on foreclosures?

http://www.zillow.com/blog/15000-tax-credit-questions/2009/02/

What do you think the impact would be here in Bend?

How many bank owned homes do you think there will be in Bend this summer?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

We are going back to Utah, with all four population centers in the top 50.
Really Brucey?

I guess I thought you were just having a bad week.

Good luck, my Brutha. Come back in 5 to see what God hath wrought...

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

But no more T.
Is she shutting down or selling the shop?

Bewert said...

Re:
How many bank owned homes do you think there will be in Bend this summer?

###

Hundreds, maybe thousands. NODs are off the charts, 1037 to date this year. Remember when we were marveling at the numbers last year? And they were only 395 to date at this point then.

Paddy, if you catch this can you update the charts? I want to do a post when the new UE numbers come out this morning.

Also, my Realtor neighbor showed me a sheaf of at least 20 REO's that he is hawking, and said the banks have really come down on pricing in the last couple of weeks. The ones he had ranged from $104K to $140K, some as low as %56/foot.

You really think our UE can be worse than Flint and the RE prices can hold? Of so you're in Costaland, the land of make believe.

But reality is intruding even there, if today's front page is any indication. Top and center, a 26-year old beggar with a wife and two kids, stuck and Bend dead. The article is titled "Panhandling, on the rise, has Bend seeking asnwers"

Bewert said...

Re: Is she shutting down or selling the shop?

###

Resigned. Wasn't going to put in 60-hour weeks again this summer if they can't afford employees, and things have been extremely slow the last few months. Owner is talking about selling an moving to Nicarauga if tourism doesn't pick up this summer. I've kept him apprised of the reality around here.

Plus, we both picked up new Santa Cruz MTB's a few weeks ago and plan on getting a little more riding in this summer.

Anonymous said...

Reality protrudes from behind the Costacurtain:

(picture)
Brandon White, 26, of Bend, says he worked as a chef until he was laid off last year. Now he often goes to the Safeway on Century Drive in Bend to ask passers-by for help. White, his wife and two children depend on that help, he says.

Panhandling, on the rise, has Bend seeking answersBut any type of ban could mean a legal battleFor the past six months, Brandon White, his wife and two young children have spent at least a few hours a week standing on the sidewalk at Safeway on Century Drive in Bend, holding cardboard signs asking for donations of food, diapers and money — hoping drivers will roll down their windows and provide a little help.

White, 26, was laid off from his job as a chef at a local restaurant in June, and since then, he said he’s been struggling to find work and keep his family from ending up on the street. He wants to find a full-time gig back in the kitchen, but in the meantime, the family is relying on the assistance of friends, people from church and those who see him standing on the sidewalk. White said the situation isn’t ideal, but he said it’s the only way he’s getting by — and he’s glad he’s able to do it.

“I think people in Bend have the right to stand on the sidewalk and say what they want to say — you’re not hurting anybody,” White said.

But in a recent meeting of the Bend City Council, some councilors said the growing number of panhandlers around Bend could be hurting the city — and maybe it’s time for officials to do something about it.

After hearing from a business owner who said she’s become increasingly concerned about people asking customers for money on the city’s sidewalks and streets, the council asked City Attorney Mary Winters to look into the issue and bring back a report at a later meeting.

Winters probably won’t have her research completed until later this spring. But the councilors who said they wanted to pursue the issue say they want to keep panhandling on the city’s radar because they see it as a potential safety issue and a quality-of-life concern for Bend residents and visitors — though creating an ordinance that doesn’t violate panhandlers’ constitutional rights could be difficult.

Downtown deterrent?

Councilor Tom Greene said he’s seen an increase in the number of panhandlers in Bend, particularly in the downtown area, and has also been fielding more questions about what the city plans to do about the activity.

“I’ve had a lot of people say it makes them uncomfortable to go downtown, and even (panhandlers) on street corners, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” Greene said.

Currently, Bend has no specific ordinance that restricts the solicitation of money, goods or services in public areas. Police Chief Sandi Baxter said officials don’t usually get involved unless a panhandler acts aggressively, moves onto private property or puts himself or herself or others at risk by standing in a roadway or other potentially dangerous area.

Chuck Arnold, the executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, said he sees about a half dozen panhandlers in the downtown area on a regular basis. Arnold said he frequently walks up and down the streets in the area and chats with panhandlers on behalf of business owners, passing along information about social services and explaining why shopkeepers are concerned that having someone asking for money outside the door could keep customers away.

Arnold said panhandlers are an issue for downtown businesses, but he’s not sure what strategy the city should take to solve the problem.

“It’s a real fine line about how much you really want to dictate the people that come into your area,” he said. “At this time, there is no legal lever that disallows somebody from panhandling. Can it be distressing to see people downtown panhandling? Yeah, but it is reflective of where we are right now.”

Constitutional issues

If the city of Bend does draft an ordinance banning panhandling, it would need to be careful that the law wouldn’t restrict panhandlers’ constitutional rights, said David Fidanque, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.

“The first question they need to ask is, what is the conduct they are trying to restrict, what is the effect they are trying to prevent?” Fidanque said. “Oregon has had a number of laws over the decades that attempted in one way or another to restrict panhandling or begging, and most of those ordinances have been thrown out as unconstitutional under the Oregon free speech protections and Bill of Rights.”

In 1996, the Oregon ACLU, representing a homeless man who had been cited for panhandling in Springfield, took the issue all the way to the Oregon Court of Appeals, which overturned a state law that prohibited solicitation along highways. Later, the city of Portland was taken to court for citations it issued after the anti-soliciting law had been overturned and eventually had to pay the person who was unlawfully cited, Fidanque said.

More recently, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia struck down a Medford ordinance that banned solicitation in a variety of locations, including public parking lots, public transportation vehicles and facilities, and any area within 50 feet of a bank or ATM. In his order, issued March 19, Mejia wrote that the city’s ordinance violated the section of the Oregon Constitution that protects free speech because it “focuses on the content of the speech rather than proscribing the pursuit or accomplishment (of) forbidden results.”

The bottom line, Fidanque said, is that cities often have an uphill battle if they want to ban panhandling because of the activity itself, not for safety or security reasons.

“There are laws that prevent pedestrians from obstructing a roadway; there are traffic violations for obstructing traffic if you’re in a vehicle, so there are laws on the books that jurisdictions can use to address some of the problems that occur related to this activity,” Fidanque said. “But what I would caution any city council or other elected officials is that you cannot pass a law to get rid of people that make you feel uncomfortable, and that of course is what the motivation usually is behind anti-panhandling ordinances.”

In Roseburg

One ordinance that hasn’t yet led to any legal challenges was passed by the city of Roseburg in 2007. Unlike the Medford ordinance, which prohibits panhandling in several areas, the Roseburg law targets one specific activity — the transfer of money or other goods in and out of cars on streets and highways in the city.

Roseburg Police Chief Mark Nickel said his city’s ordinance was written because officials were concerned about the safety of panhandlers and people handing out money along the road, not because they wanted to limit people’s ability to ask for help. He said the new rule has helped slow panhandling in the city, but police haven’t yet issued a single citation, which carries a maximum fine of up to $75.

Bend Councilor Oran Teater said he knows the city has to be careful to avoid getting itself into legal trouble over the issue. But he said the city needs to do something about panhandling, which he said often involves people who have been on the streets for years, rather than victims of the current economic downturn.

“The people that have lost their jobs aren’t standing out there with a cardboard sign,” he said. “The people who have never worked are standing there with a cardboard sign.”Arnold said he hopes any ordinance will be carefully considered and designed to help solve the issue without creating more problems.

“We have to look at all the solutions, not jump headlong into one thing that could potentially send an unwelcoming, elitist message about our community,” he said.

###

Time to give the beggars a one-way bus ticket out of town, Costa? They are uglying up our pretty little city, out there among the dust and potholes.

And Oran, why don't you tell that to the guy in the picture next to this article? There are a fucking lot of people that used to have jobs living here. Haven't you ever seen the tent city off Brosterhous Rd.?

Man, this is so rich in so many ways it could only be published on a Monday morning.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

“I’ve had a lot of people say it makes them uncomfortable to go downtown, and even (panhandlers) on street corners, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” Greene said.

Cuz it fucks with your World-View that Bend is a UTOPIA.

Prepare to be a lot less "comfortable".

"I hope my starving to death doesn't inconvenience you sir."

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Resigned. Wasn't going to put in 60-hour weeks again this summer if they can't afford employees, and things have been extremely slow the last few months.

Ahhhh... I've misunderstood (for over a year, not unusual)... I thought she owned the joint.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Hundreds, maybe thousands. NODs are off the charts...

I'm hearing that now people are putting in extreme stroke-inducing lowballs, and banks & others are taking them.

This sure as hell ain't rock-bottom, probably only 1/2 over, but there is demand & people with money at price-points here... there'll be much more demand as we sink down...

Sales will pick up as we implode... Won't be the glory-hole years... but we'll hit bedrock down around $125K medians...

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I am personally seeing homes go for $190-ish around me that sold for $402K at the top (2006).

Great for the noobs... but the buyers who bought on the way down (CATCH A FALLING KNIFE) are hurting. Some are thinking of DON'T PAY WALK AWAY... which strengthens the spiral down...

Bewert said...

Nope, just managed. Owner worked for her in Utah, and was one of the chief enablers of getting us here. Along with all those shiny Outside mag, etc. articles about utopia and 300 days of sunshine ;)

What's kind of funny is that the local big boys have more or less fucked themselves in the ass at this point.

Another note--at a neighbors BBQ the other night we met a couple that is UHauling it to a job in Washington state today. Compared notes. He got "transferred" but doesn't sound like he got much for relocation expenses. He's in the construction contracting biz, and says it's unbelievable how many companies have been bidding on shitty little jobs of late.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Tomorrow's Bully:

At home with ... bookstore owner and blogger Duncan McGeary


McGeary? Who's that? One of those wily Irish bastards?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

What's kind of funny is that the local big boys have more or less fucked themselves in the ass at this point.

If I could do that, I probably wouldn't have started this blog.

Lucky bastards.

Bewert said...

Re: Lucky bastards.

####

At least the ones who sold before the bubble popped. It seems some believed the myth right through the end. The names are on your tombstone.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

From that Economist piece:

If owning were such a boon, you would expect neighbourhoods with lots of owners to have done better than those with lots of renters during the boom years.

That does not seem to have happened. What has happened, though, is that above a certain level, foreclosures have done a lot of damage during the bad years. Recent studies of New York and Cleveland find that, if lenders foreclose on 3-4% of properties in an area, local prices fall even faster and further than average. Rows of For Sale signs almost certainly have the same effect in Britain.

In other words, ownership can sometimes be worse for a neighbourhood than renting.


I think this is just classic. OWNING could actually become a NEIGHBORHOOD STIGMA. While RENTERS are seen as stable & desirable.

Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Bewert said...
Re: Is she shutting down or selling the shop?

###

Resigned.
Nice word for let go. Sounds like someone has a little bit of denial going on here.

Bewert said...

More like last person standing, other than the owner. Better money and fewer hours waiting in SLC. I've been doing the books and T has been doing all the online sales--about 90% of revenue lately--so Norway is kind of bummed. But that's the way it is. We made the final decision a couple of weeks ago and let him know right away. He has us until May 15th.

Like I said, the last few months have been real slow. And tourism numbers don't look real good going forward. Norway and his friends have land in Nicarauga, on the Pacific Coast, and he was talking about that looking like a better option in our weekly meeting last Thursday...

Bewert said...

Everyone I talk to around here is really tightening their spending or making plans to leave. The UPS guy across the street has had his hours cut in half. The painting contractor two houses down did his first job this year, for a whole $397, just last week. He said the ACN MLM cell phone thing going around is the only thing keeping him afloat.

It's endless. Depressing as hell, and Homer's last post is going to become true quicker than you can imagine.

When the BULL runs an article talking about the competition for minimum wage tourism jobs, things are too far gone to come back anytime soon:

How resorts plan to hire for summer job postingsCompetition will be more intense this year for those without tourism experience, local employers warnCentral Oregon’s resorts are taking a cautious approach to summer hiring this year, and jobs in the industry will be harder to come by than in summers past, according to resort representatives and a state employment official.

The resorts also will have an ample pool of employees to choose from because unemployment rates are soaring, labor and tourism officials said.

Oregon’s unemployment rate hit 12.1 percent in March, an increase from 10.7 percent in February, according to data released Monday by the Oregon Employment Department.

Central Oregon’s unemployment rates in February ranged from 12.6 percent in Deschutes County to 16.1 percent in Crook County. The region’s seasonally adjusted rates for March are due out Monday.

Sunriver Resort, which currently has about 600 employees, plans to hold a recruitment fair this weekend and will hire an additional 150 workers in the next few weeks, said Tom O’Shea, managing director. The resort is looking for experienced employees who have tourism-based experience, O’Shea said.

“We are anticipating at least 400 to 500 people” at the job fair, said O’Shea, who said applicants do not need reservations. “A lot of people might be looking for a career change. We are looking for anyone who understands what it takes to take care of people on vacation. It is basically a people-friendly environment.”

The resort, which had more than 1,000 employees at its peak last summer and is Deschutes County’s fourth-largest employer, will not likely have more than 900 this year by the time it is fully staffed, O’Shea said. Sunriver will rely on its group and conference business to bolster what is expected to be a dismal summer for leisure travel, he said.

“We will not be at the same levels as prior years,” he said. “The market is off in the leisure sector by 30 percent.”

Sunriver has eliminated its overseas hiring program, which it has operated the past four years, O’Shea said. In 2008, the program brought 85 people from countries including Lithuania, Brazil and Mexico, he said.

There are expected to be more willing job seekers for the type of positions those workers took in recent years, including housekeeping, restaurant positions and golf course maintenance, according to Jan Swander, work force analyst for the Oregon Employment Department.

“For the first time in several years, it is going to be difficult (to find work) for inexperienced individuals who have not worked in tourism-related businesses,” said Swander, who is based in Bend. “Applicants are going to want to show strong customer service skills and be enthusiastic about the new industry they are entering.”

Other resorts are expected to start their summer hiring in the next few weeks, Swander said.

Neither Brasada Ranch, northeast of Bend, nor Eagle Crest Resort, west of Redmond, plans to hire many new employees for the summer, Teri Cline, a spokeswoman for Klamath Falls-based Jeld-Wen Inc., which owns both resorts, wrote in an e-mail.

“We aim to bring back individuals who work with us during peak season year after year,” she wrote. “We have limited new hires because most are returning employees.”

Black Butte Ranch, near Sisters, plans to hire 230 seasonal workers for its golf course, food and beverage and recreation departments, said Greg Cole, human resources manager. That’s about the same number of new employees Black Butte hired last year, Cole said.

“We have started taking applications, and we have gotten 350 applications so far,” he said, noting that about half of the resort’s summer hires are college and high school-age.

“We expect no big improvements (in business). We are just keeping our fingers crossed that it will be the same as last year.”

Anonymous said...

People who flocked here with equity, traded up paying half down, a HUGE cushion, never going to work another day in their lives.

Until houses got cut in half.

Now they all need to work again.
This does not make much sense to me. How could you decide not to work again if you owe money on your home? Now if you cashed out somewhere else and bought the house outright with money to spare then you are still OK. That's similar to my situation, except that I never planned not to work. That's just silly. Work is important, even if you don't need the money. I want to contribute to the community, not live here as an outsider. What I planned for is to not to HAVE to work for anything more than minimum wage. So far so good.

Bewert said...

Bend unadjusted unemployment for March 2009 = 17%

http://olmis.emp.state.or.us/olmisj/AllRates?adjusted=n

We probably just leaped into the worst 2%, but MSA numbers haven't been updated yet. Last month that would have put us equal with Visalia, 368th out the the 372 MSA's.

Packing right now but I'll put up a post later. Just a quick one for now at bendgazette.com.

Paddy, get a chance to update the latest NOD graph? The four year one?

LavaBear said...

Here it is. I didn't update it with April just yet because it looks funny with just a partial month in. And stop calling me paddy.

Bewert said...

Sorry, LB :)

Quimby said...

Sister Chamber Desperate for More Calis to Bring Their Equity Northward - or - if you're too underwater to sell and move here at least come vacation in the smoke this summer folks!Sisters Area Chamber defining its mission

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

The Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce has to wear a lot of hats in a small community, and it has redefined its mission to reflect that fact.

Last week the Chamber issued a new mission statement: "The Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce enhances the economic vitality of the Sisters Country through business advocacy, visitor relations and tourism development and community support."

According to Executive Director Erin Borla, the change in mission statement really reflects the existing direction of the chamber, not a sea change.

"In essence, nothing has changed within the Chamber," she explained. "However, there is not a clear understanding of what the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce does."

The new mission statement is designed to provide some clarity.

"It gives the community a full understanding of what the Chamber is," Borla said.
The Chamber is seeking to match words with action. Borla noted that marketing efforts are being stepped up. She will attend the Sunset Magazine Celebration in Menlo Park, California, in June, pitching Sisters to an ideal demographic.

"That's something we need to go to," Borla said. "That's our market."
She will also attend the Governor's Conference on Tourism in April and a full-day workshop on arts-based economies with the Oregon Arts Commission in May.

The trips are funded in part through "scholarships," and in part through sponsorships by individual local businesses. Borla is paying travel expenses out-of-pocket, with the hope of being reimbursed if Chamber events bring in sufficient revenue this summer.

The idea is "to get Sisters out there," Borla said. The Chamber is working with a group of lodging properties in Sisters toward cooperative marketing in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, though she acknowledges that "the cooperative piece is still in the fledgling stages."

The Chamber is also stepping up business advocacy, helping to start the Sisters Business Attraction and Retention Team (SBART) and enhancing its relationship with EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon).

Borla made a presentation before the Sisters City Council on March 26, asking that the council continue to offer room tax revenues to the Chamber to fund tourism marketing. Last year, the Chamber's room tax revenues were $92,083.77. This year, the Chamber budgeted for $83,000, though Borla acknowledges that the figure is unrealistically high, since receipts for the first quarter are down 30 percent.

Sisters businessman Todd Dow had earlier requested that the city withhold room tax contributions from the Chamber until the Chamber showed that the funds were being used effectively for the intended purpose.

He has moderated his position.

"There's been a lot of change between when Cherie (Ferguson)... resigned and when Erin came on board," Dow said.

Dow said he has reviewed the Chamber's new marketing plan and he is much more satisfied.

"Although it's not a perfect plan, it's vastly improved over anything that was ever done before - including when I was on the board," he said.

Dow's renewed confidence seems to reflect a general sense that the Chamber is headed in the right direction.

The organization has 31 new members in the first quarter of 2009.

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather live in a single wide and become a LaPinoid, living on a steady diet of government cheese and spam."

Reminds me of this Fred guy I've been reading:

http://fredoneverything.net/FOE_Frame_Column.htm

Reflections of a Misplaced Pagan

Somebody Screwed Up the Chronology



March 4, 2007

Last night the wind blew steady and cool from over the lake, though spring is upon us. A full moon cast sharp moon shadows over the jungled tangle that is our garden. We have a new pup, a street dog that my daughter persuaded us to adopt. She whuffled in the undergrowth as dogs ought, all curiosity and pointed ears. Beyond the stone wall the hills loomed huge and close. They glowed in the radiance like tidal waves from the end of the world.

It was lovely, but it won’t last. Already visitation with the moon is possible only late at night. Then the young bucks of the town have ceased driving about with rap music on oversized speakers. A new house goes up closer to the hills. In a few years there will be no wildness. There will be sirens and street lights and motors.

Somehow this is not where I belong, though mysteriously I am here anyway. I seem to have missed my proper century by a couple of millennia. I don’t understand life today, have little in common with the people who shape it. To me humanity, like government, is best when there is least of it.

But in this I am at odds with the times. I do not care about gross national product or the terrible need to manufacture things that could not be sold without force-feed advertising. Everywhere I read that we must have economic growth. Why, I wonder? Do we not have enough? I don’t belong here.

I remember the southwestern deserts when I crossed them with my parents as a child, great sprawling silences with the saguaro standing, arms uplifted to an immense sky, as if waiting for something. The roads were narrow then, people scarce. Later I hitchhiked the same roads become interstates, intrusions on the landscape, carrying people in air-conditioned isolation who cared nothing for those gorgeous wastes. Now, everywhere, suburbs creep outward and homogenized civilization sprouts like mold.

Yes, I understand that we must keep the population growing so that the economy may expand. We must breed lest the housing industry suffer, and we must build roads so that the highway industry may prosper. Without roads there would be no new suburbs and no malls and no people to buy things. If the population falls we must import Mexicans or North Africans or somebody because the purpose of a country is to build suburbs. We must breed so that the white race will not go extinct under the onrushing Chinese tide. I know.

No doubt something is wrong with me. I do not greatly care whether the white race continues, though I suspect it will, and I would like to see the economy shrink. I do not belong here.

One night years ago I dove off Belize on coral luxuriant with sleeping fish and things hunting. The sea at night is a magnificent place. An otherworldly silence reigns in the depths, sometimes broken by the click of shrimp. To hang almost motionless in warm water, rising and falling with your breath, with nothing but blackness all around except in the beam of a dive light, watching an arrow crab stalking redly about in the hollow of a barrel sponge—this always seems to me a sort of privilege, and something to be preserved. The things that live in the ocean lead their own strange lives. It is their ocean, not mine. They were here before we were.

The reefs too are dying, and will die—though not so much in Belize yet. In Florida the mangroves, where fish breed, disappear, so that water-front suburbs can be built, which helps the economy grow. The necessity of this is clear. The population must increase, so that we can keep up with the Chinese and save the white race, and purely coincidentally the builders need customers. I understand. I do not like it.

I have never seen a fish that did not seem more worthy than a developer of real-estate. Quite true: I am wrong-headed, and a wretched Green, and against America and progress and freedom. So be it.

Recently I drove with friends from Washington up through rural Maryland, if so it any longer can be called, and into Pennsylvania. I hadn’t been there for a few years. The trip was disheartening. In pretty countryside the subdivisions grew, stamped-out plots of pricey and shoddily built boxes for the shelter of televisions. From these people will commute long distances to Washington. Perhaps they deserve it.

I understand that people want these things. Still, soon there will be nothing but ugliness. Only crackpots and eco-terrorists will notice, I suppose. The eyesore is not an economically recognized entity, whereas the building of them provides jobs and profits and helps us fend off the Chinese. Build we will.

So many pretty little towns there are in the region, Harpers Ferry, Boiling Springs, Gettysburg. Just outside, the shopping centers pop up, subdivisions with names like Brookdale Manors and Manor Brook Dales. Tourism has made Harpers Ferry into a theme park; you have to park outside and enter the town on a bus with a recording that tells you things you hadn’t asked about.

Something is wrong with me. I cannot understand why people don’t keep their numbers down and live in delightful towns like Boiling Springs. I do not understand economic growth. I for one, and I sometimes think I am the only one, am content with books, music, horses, dogs, fishing, the internet, and broad countryside where one may enjoy the wind and rain. I do not want more of what I don’t want any of at all.

Perhaps you are a believer in headlong progress and growth and more of this and more of that and more of everything. If so, please do not write to tell me that I am a threat to whatever it is I am a threat to. I am not. I am just a misplaced man grumbling to himself. You have won. The hell with it.

I might have preferred Greek times, when humanity was a small speck in a large world. Or perhaps Rome of the first century, with more order but man still not a spreading uncontrolled blight. Those horrible mid-eastern religions had not yet raised their grim and censorious heads, and one might still worship a sacred grove, or the statue of a goddess, or the moon. Capri was yet a lovely place, with misted peaks on a blue bay, not yet carpeted in tour buses and fat people from Rhode Island.

Meanwhile for a few hours in the night I listen to the wind and still see stars, though soon progress will come and they will dim in the smoke.

Quimby said...

Damn, have you looked at Craigslist lately, then followed the tracks back to DIAL and recordings?

All I can say is that it's a bloodbath out there folks.

tim said...

>>Damn, have you looked at Craigslist lately, then followed the tracks back to DIAL and recordings?

Do you have some favorite examples?

tim said...

>>Sister Chamber Desperate for More Calis to Bring Their Equity Northward..

Was Sister Chamber in the convent with Sister Christian?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Bend unadjusted unemployment for March 2009 = 17%

I mean, Holy Shit! 17.0%? WTF!! Up from 15.8% last month. 7.8% last March.

We finally threw our DOUBLE, folks. Shit.

If you think WE'VE got it bad:

CROOK: 21.8%
JEFF: 19.7%

Fuck me. I mean, Fuck Me Dead Twice.

Shit Brucey... you won't be alone. There's going to be a stampede out of this motherfucker.

Don't listen to the Haters B... the motherfucking tsunami is coming.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

17.0%

And that's a HUGE increase... IN MARCH!

Fuck me, the unemployment rate just doesn't go up in MARCH IN BEND OREGON. Doesn't happen.

And I mean literally, IT DOESN'T HAPPEN. Can't find a single incidence of unemployment INCREASING in March over Feb. Never. There is almost ALWAYS a HUGE DECREASE in March.

Strange fucking Days.

Quimby said...

Tim,

Well, with my favorites, I went even deeper by finding some personal websites. I'm a paranoid fellow when it comes to access logs and IPs. Plus specific examples are a little too grave-dancey for my tastes.

Search for properties on Craigslist listed over $750K and do some backtracking....not too hard to find certain death there.

Quimby said...

>> Was Sister Chamber in the convent with Sister Christian?

No, I'm pretty sure it was Sister Soldier....or maybe I'm twisting that sister and it really was Sister Act II. (rim shot)

And that's my life...

Quimby said...

>> Don't listen to the Haters B... the motherfucking tsunami is coming.


Gotta admire that persistence Homer....even running one of our own out of town. Keep up the good work! There's plenty more that need to goooooooooooooo.

Anonymous said...

Adjusted rates - OR 1.4% jump from Feb (up to 12.1%), far and away the largest monthly loss (gain?).

Michigan jumped from 12.0 to 12.6 for a 0.6% increase, and still leads OR by 0.5% total.

Predit: Oregon should overtake Michigan for April.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/laus_04172009.pdf

Oregon already is the clear loser in year-year: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/

May's target for supreme UE dominance: Puerto Rico
(Bend already has them beat by 2%)

Quimby said...

Except you Brucey of course. No offense.

Quimby said...

>> Oregon already is the clear loser in year-year: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/

Large swaths of Oregon's economy is based solely on building homes for fuckers to move here. That's why when housing/real estate tanks, 1/2 the state sits idle and eagerly collects my taxes via welfare/unemployment....while bitching about their sad demise.

It's good to see a developer/home builder/realtor/title/mtg cleansing around here.

They can't wait to build this place into the ground. Sadly, it's all they know.

Quimby said...

Quimby, signing off from outside the Bullshitten's press house.....waiting for the first wet-ink copy of Duncan's glory story!

Anonymous said...

"They can't wait to build this place into the ground. Sadly, it's all they know."It is absolutely amazing that they continue to build. I drove through NW Crossing last week and there are at least a dozen homes being built right now.

That's how those 70 car pileups happen....cause everyone behind you is stupid too.

Anonymous said...

It's over and you fuckers just aren't smart enough to see it. As a matter of fact, I'm running a set of plans down to the county today so's I can start work on my new Hobbit based, Tuscan themed, development. I'm gonna make MILLIONS I tell ya, MILLIONS.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Unemployment rises in all but one Oregon county

A strange and very incorrect quote in the Oregonian this morning.

Thirty five of Oregon's 36 counties showed an increase in unemployment numbers in March, some of them substantial. Only Deschutes County showed a decrease.

Of course this is incorrect, Big Time. We had a HUGE increase in unemployment. Probably be corrected tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

At Home With … Duncan and Linda McGearyThey’ve set an industry standard in Bend by doing exactly what they’re passionate about, and that passion is books, books and more books.

Duncan and Linda McGeary, two ardent bibliophiles, not only launched a successful marriage 25 years ago, but they also built a dynasty of sorts in the book trade.

A lifelong Bend resident, Duncan McGeary, 56, has owned the landmark store on Minnesota Avenue, Pegasus Books of Bend, for a quarter of a century.

He’s one of just a handful of merchants who has lasted this long in the downtown area.

He sells not only books, but also specialty games, pop culture designer toys and comic books.

And as if there weren’t enough books in the McGeary family already, five years ago Linda bought The Bookmark store on Greenwood Avenue. Besides the two stores, the McGearys also managed to raise two sons, now grown, and one very large cat named Panga, who accompanies Linda to The Bookmark every day.

The plot line for the next chapter may be whether the two bookstores can come through this recession, but the McGearys aren’t worried. They’ve seen hard times before, and they believe people’s love of books will keep their doors open during this economic downturn.

“People forget what it was like in downtown (Bend) in 1982, during the Reagan recession. The downtown seemed like it emptied out, and people like me, the Bohemians came in and colonized it,” said Duncan with a chuckle. “But what Linda and I always say is we’re grateful we have our own businesses, which provide a living wage, and we’re in charge of our own destiny.”

Besides owning their own bookstores, they are both published writers. In fact, the two met at the Farewell Bend Writers group 25 years ago, where they enjoyed each other’s writings and poetry. After dating for five months, Duncan and Linda said they knew they were destined to be together, and one month later they tied the knot.

In an effort to pay it forward, Linda still welcomes The Farewell Bend Writers to meet at her store twice a month.

We recently caught up with this busy couple at their east Bend home, where Duncan was enjoying his first day off since Super Bowl Sunday. As one might expect, you can find plenty of books in the McGeary home. One bookshelf in the main living room has some special books they have loved, such as the entire “Harry Potter” collection, and a “Lord of the Rings” set. Duncan admits to his passion for fiction and fantasy, and he loves it when students come into the store asking for the “Twilight” book series.

“When I see that glimmer in their eyes, I know the author has tapped into something, and anything that gets kids to love reading is good,” said Duncan. “I was that way with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series, too.”

Duncan says he remembers growing up in a house full of books, where you could find stacks of books in the bathroom, hallways, closets, and “the entire upstairs was all books,” he recalled. “That was the nucleus for all this. I’m not kidding — I could take the books just from my family’s home and start a used book store, and that was after my mom and dad gave away half of their collection of books to friends.”

As one might suspect, no day is complete unless the McGearys have discussed some book or novel with friends and customers, even on their days off.

How long have you lived in Central Oregon?

Duncan: I’ve lived in Bend pretty much my whole life. Linda has lived in Bend about 30 years.

Linda: We lived in a 950-square-foot duplex for 20 years, so this home is spacious to us. It’s simple, comfortable and it’s ours.

What I love about my home? Duncan: I like the privacy and safety, and the one-third acre lot. It’s quiet in this area. It’s a split- level home, so the upstairs feels as though we are in the treetops, we call it the “Leaf House,” and have a minor leaf motif going on.

Linda: It’s our refuge.

My favorite room is … Duncan: I’d have to say my own office. It’s full of books and comics, and my computer. I spend a lot of time blogging and reading. Linda and I are obviously book people.

Linda: I really like the open great room, with the high ceilings. I also love that Duncan and I can both have our own offices. I call my office “The Grove,” and Duncan’s office is “The Grotto.” Another favorite area is my prayer room, which is a little cubby under the stairs — it’s a dedicated room for prayer.

My favorite possession is … Duncan: Again, my books. But the books on my (office) bookshelves are mostly books I haven’t read yet. I’m really not much into the idea of possessing things. I like to keep things simple at home, since I’m so overwhelmed with stuff at the store. I’ve decided that most possessions aren’t really necessary.

Linda: I have a new iPod that is pretty cool, and I love my son’s artwork.

If I had a Monday off to do anything I wanted to do at home alone, I’d … Duncan: Write, write, write. Before we bought Pegasus, I was a full-time writer, but I’ve never really been able to find the time and energy since. Blogging takes just about the right amount of effort. (Duncan has published three fiction novels, which he wrote in the 1980s and early 1990s.)

Linda: Monday is my normal day off anyway, and I read, work on my blog. Watch TV sometimes or a movie.

Three things you’ll always find in our refrigerator are … Duncan: Mold?

Linda: No! No, mold. Creamer. Mustard for Duncan, it’s his favorite condiment. Mayonnaise for me.

Do you like to cook? Linda: No. So, I don’t know what happened; our son Toby became a chef. We love his food. He does the best barbecue fixings.

What’s your idea of the perfect get-together at home? Duncan: We have recently rediscovered board gaming with our friends. European games like “The Settlers of Catan” or “Castle in the Village” or “Ticket to Ride” are a blast. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to sit with friends and play games. People know these games by word of mouth only, but I’ve been selling dozens of these, and people just get hooked. The Europeans have taken these games to a whole new level.

My favorite piece of artwork in the house is … Duncan: Our other son, Todd, is a very talented artist. I love his stuff. He makes these clay figures that are called “Bus stop chillin’.” Lately, I’ve also kind of gotten into Urban Vinyl art toys — they’re designer toys — they’re interesting, one-of-a-kind toys that are attractive and funky in their own right.

Linda: I love Todd’s artwork, too. I always see Todd in the things he makes, and I love that.

Gardening is … Duncan: A complicated subject for me. My mom, Libby McGeary, was a bit of a legendary gardener in these parts. She owned a plant nursery in the West Hills for a number of years, and mentored all kinds of perennial and herb gardeners. My biggest regret is that she didn’t live long enough to see what a cool area I have to garden in — the lava rock outcroppings and trees. So far, I’ve only managed to put a flower garden around the edges. Linda and I agreed to keep half of the lot wild, and put a garden in the other half. Mostly, it’s still a blank slate. It’s in my blood, and I wish I could garden for hours and days a week, but alas …

Linda: Duncan is my gardening angel. I take care of the indoor plants.

My life would be simpler if… Duncan: If I didn’t own a store. But that’s why I try not to complicate my home life too much. Books, comics and media.

Linda: If I had a maid and a cook?

What do you do when you have time to relax and recreate in Central Oregon? Duncan: We like to hike and explore. Yeah, Badlands!

Linda: We also like to bike and drive around to places in the area where we’ve never been, or seldom go. We like to go out to places in the middle of nowhere. We take pictures.

If you could have a second home anywhere in the world, where would it be? Duncan: I’m a typical native Central Oregonian, and the coast is really, really attractive to me. Linda grew up in Crescent City (Calif.), and I’ve often thought it would be great to have a home in Brookings.

Linda: A small house in Portland, as that is where both our sons live with their families. I’d love to be able to have them over to our house without crossing the passes.

Words I live by are … Duncan: Lately, it seems to be “Life is short.”

Linda: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” My grandma used to say this.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Liberals with a Prayer Room?

Wonders never cease...

Anonymous said...

Subdivision’s association recalls board
Members of the Oregon Water Wonderland II property owners association voted to recall the organization’s board of directors on Saturday and elected a new board to take its place.

Some residents of the subdivision south of Sunriver launched the recall effort after the previous board paid more than $90,000 of the association’s fees to a management company for the fiscal year starting in May 2007, said Sandy Joy, who led the effort. But the board only spent approximately $30,000 on road maintenance in that same fiscal year, Joy said, adding that showed mixed-up priorities.

“We’re supposed to collect dues in order to maintain our roads, be it snow removal in the winter or paving,” she said.

The recall effort needed 528 votes to pass, and Linda Johnson, association manager and owner of Cascade Association Management + Accounting, said at least 660 property owners voted in favor of the recall either in person or by proxy Saturday morning.

“The outcome of that election was that the board of directors was recalled,” she said.

Joy was elected to the new property owners association board, along with Doug Olsen, Ted Ficker and two members of the former board — Cate Brooks and Paul Henninger.

The new board, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday, has to first find out how much money the association has, Joy said.

And for Joy, getting the roads paved and in shape will be the board’s primary goal.

“We want to spend at least $110,000 on road paving this summer,” Joy said.

Anonymous said...

Re: liberals and prayer

####

http://www.streetprophets.com/

You really think Jesus would have been a Republican?

BrucePussy said...

I can't wait to move back to Jewtah. T says I can fuck all the 15 year-old mormon girls I want, as long as she gets a turn at them with her strap-on.

Anonymous said...

Joblessness up, but 'there are jobs out there’

Although Central Oregon’s employment picture took another turn for the worse in March, locals looking for a job should not abandon all hope as the region enters its busiest time of year, employment experts say.While the state’s employment picture is projected to worsen through the end of the year, signs of cautious optimism are present at WorkSource Oregon, the state’s employment office in east Bend, where job seekers try to match their skills with available jobs.

“There are jobs out there,” said Janet Ainardi, business and employment specialist for WorkSource Oregon. “We are seeing a few construction positions, but it’s a far cry from what we have previously seen. We are seeing more service-related positions and some office positions.”

Local companies do not always post available jobs in the newspaper or online because the flood of applications can overwhelm the businesses, Ainardi said.

March’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rates shot up in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, reflecting continued job losses and more people looking for work in Central Oregon.

County unemployment rates were: 18.5 percent in Crook, 16.2 percent in Jefferson, and 14.7 percent in Deschutes, the first-, fourth- and sixth-highest rates among the state’s 36 counties, respectively, according to the Oregon Employment Department, which released its monthly report Monday.

Central Oregon has been hit particularly hard by a number of factors, most notably the housing market downturn.

One laid-off worker, 64-year-old James Beers, lost his position at Jeld-Wen Window & Doors in January, he said. He had worked in his position, which he described as doing a little bit of everything, since 1992.

“I am just learning how to use the computer,” he said, looking for jobs through WorkSource Oregon’s i MatchSkills system, which links job seekers with jobs through their previous training and work experience. “I am checking out what jobs they have.”

Another job seeker, Fred Rodd, 53, was laid off about a week ago from a Bend liquor store. With only a week of job-hunting under his belt, Rodd is surprised by the competition for jobs.

“I would take anything right now,” he said. “I need an income.”

Another factor in skyrocketing unemployment rates is the growing number of people who have re-entered the work force after a period spent relying upon investment or retirement income that has eroded with the financial markets, Ainardi said.

Deschutes County’s civilian labor force grew more than 6 percent in the last year, according to the Employment Department. By comparison, the state’s labor force grew by roughly 3 percent.

For the most part, available jobs pay less than some job seekers would like, Ainardi said.“People are having to start all over,” she said. “They are dusting off their previous skills. We are seeing a lot of that.”

Because summer is approaching, there are a higher percentage of hospitality-related service jobs than other positions in Central Oregon, Ainardi said. Some government-related positions also are opening, she said. Professional and business-related sectors also were hiring in March, possibly due to increased demand during tax season, according to the Employment Department.

Sunriver Resort drew roughly 600 job seekers to its summer job fair last weekend. Additionally, Sunriver received about 800 online applications, said Tom O’Shea, general manager.

The company, which currently has more than 600 employees, is still looking to hire another 250 summer workers, O’Shea said, noting that the resort typically has about 1,000 employees in summer.

“We are anticipating our leisure travel market to be soft,” he said. “The great unknown is the short-term nature of the business. How many people will make last-minute reservations?”

Another large regional employer, Fuqua Homes, said in March that it was in negotiations with a Canadian homebuilder on a deal that would have created about 300 new jobs at the local plant. Instead, most of the work building manufactured homes will go to the company’s facility in Missouri.

Geographically, it made more sense to locate the Canadian business in Missouri , said Dave Grall, development solutions manager for Fuqua Homes in Bend.

“At this point, we are more or less maintaining the status quo,” Grall said.

Other construction companies have sought to place their laid-off workers at Fuqua, Grall said.

“Unfortunately, we are not in a position where we can pick up those folks that have been laid off,” he said.

Some companies, however, are always going to be looking for workers in Central Oregon, particularly during the summer, said Stephanie Miller, chief operating officer at Express Employment Professionals in Bend.

“We have found that those companies that have been around for a long time are still looking for employees,” Miller noted, declining to name companies. “It is still a good opportunity for employees with good skills. Companies are still looking for good talent.”

Express placed 7 percent more workers in March than in December, Miller said, noting seasonal hiring has begun.

“While our community has seen the effects of the downturn, we also have seen some movement in a positive direction,” she said. “It is a good time of year for our community.”

###

BULLY good news...more hope than Obama!

Bewert said...

Assholes thrive on anonymity. Saying things anonymousely that they wouldn't dare say in person is the hallmark of an asshole.

Enjoy your trailer in LaPine. I'm sure your stepdaughter loves you even more than your 300-pound wife.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up on Dunc. Penny is a good writer (it was Penny, right?).

But Dunc disappointed me with no mention of his love/hate relationship with this blog. He could have at least hinted at his melt down last fall while getting over his illness (sickness?!), or the many online debate battles he wages with the dark side forces of online reality Bend. Oh well, maybe Penny editted out the good stuff, eh?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Credit losses could hit $4 trillion, IMF says

Global economy still threatened by broken financial system

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
Last update: 10:55 a.m. EDT April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The global economy is still imperiled by the dysfunctional financial system, with total losses from bad credit now estimated at more than $4 trillion, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

In a dire Global Financial Stability Report, the IMF said quick and coordinated government action is needed to prevent a much more intense and prolonged economic recession.
While some stabilization is apparent in some credit markets in some regions, further decisive actions are needed, the IMF said. "The key challenge is to break the downward spiral between the financial system and the global economy," the report said.

In its latest estimate of credit losses, the IMF increased its expectations for losses on U.S.-based assets to $2.7 trillion from a $2.2 trillion estimate six months ago.
Approximately 10% of all outstanding loans and securities originated in the United States are a loss.
The fund also said European-based losses would total $1.1 trillion, and Japanese losses would total $149 billion.

Banks in mature markets could potentially write down as much as $2.8 trillion in losses, the IMF said.

Fixing the problems won't be easy.
Banks must be recapitalized. Under one scenario, U.S. banks could need $250 billion, and European banks could need $375 billion. Those figures would be doubled if leverage were reduced to historic levels prevalent in the mid-1990s.

"Restructuring may require temporary government ownership," the report concludes, but notes that the political support for strong action has been waning "as the public is becoming disillusioned by what it perceives as abuses of taxpayer funds in some headline cases."
"An important component to restoring confidence will be clarity, consistency and the reliability of policy responses," the report said.

"Past episodes of financial crisis have shown that restoring the banking system to normal operation takes several years, and that recessions tend to be deeper and longer lasting when associated with a financial crisis."

Anonymous said...

Bewert said...
Assholes thrive on anonymity. Saying things anonymousely that they wouldn't dare say in person is the hallmark of an asshole.
*

Well, let's see...

... we have:

Anon Butter Asshole
Anon HBM Asshole (& the aliases)
Anon hbm Asshole (etc....)
Anon BrucePussy Asshole (& the aliases Bewert, Pussy, etc)
Anon Buster Asshole
Anon Quimby Asshole
Anon Marge Asshole
Anon Anon Asshole

and many others... all Assholes.

signed, one of the many Assholes




that pretty much

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

But Dunc disappointed me with no mention of his love/hate relationship with this blog.

Fear Not, young reader.

This blog will never see the light of day, at least not in Bend. Even the Front Page piece in the Oregonian (Murder & Suspicion in Bend(?)) has seemingly disappeared from Google.

You are reading the most hated & reviled blog on Earth folks. Drink it in.

Bewert said...

Bank Profits Appear Out of Thin Air

This is starting to feel like amateur hour for aspiring magicians.

Another day, another attempt by a Wall Street bank to pull a bunny out of the hat, showing off an earnings report that it hopes will elicit oohs and aahs from the market. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and, on Monday, Bank of America all tried to wow their audiences with what appeared to be — presto! — better-than-expected numbers.

But in each case, investors spotted the attempts at sleight of hand, and didn’t buy it for a second.

With Goldman Sachs, the disappearing month of December didn’t quite disappear (it changed its reporting calendar, effectively erasing the impact of a $1.5 billion loss that month); JPMorgan Chase reported a dazzling profit partly because the price of its bonds dropped (theoretically, they could retire them and buy them back at a cheaper price; that’s sort of like saying you’re richer because the value of your home has dropped); Citigroup pulled the same trick.

Bank of America sold its shares in China Construction Bank to book a big one-time profit, but Ken Lewis heralded the results as “a testament to the value and breadth of the franchise.”

Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, also pointed out that Bank of America booked a $2.2 billion gain by increasing the value of Merrill Lynch’s assets it acquired last quarter to prices that were higher than Merrill kept them.

“Although perfectly legal, this move is also perfectly delusional, because some day soon these assets will be written down to their fair value, and it won’t be pretty,” he said.

Investors reacted by throwing tomatoes. Bank of America’s stock plunged 24 percent, as did other bank stocks. They’ve had enough.

Why can’t anybody read the room here? After all the financial wizardry that got the country — actually, the world — into trouble, why don’t these bankers give their audience what it seems to crave? Perhaps a bit of simple math that could fit on the back of an envelope, with no asterisks and no fine print, might win cheers instead of jeers from the market.

What’s particularly puzzling is why the banks don’t just try to make some money the old-fashioned way. After all, earning it, if you could call it that, has never been easier with a business model sponsored by the federal government. That’s the one in which Uncle Sam and we taxpayers are offering the banks dirt-cheap money, which they can turn around and lend at much higher rates.

“If the federal government let me borrow money at zero percent interest, and then lend it out at 4 to 12 percent interest, even I could make a profit,” said Professor Finkelstein of the Tuck School. “And if a college professor can make money in banking in 2009, what should we expect from the highly paid C.E.O.’s that populate corner offices?”

But maybe now the banks are simply following the lead of Washington, which keeps trotting out the latest idea for shoring up the financial system.

The latest big idea is the so-called stress test that is being applied to the banks, with results expected at the end of this month.

This is playing to a tough crowd that long ago decided to stop suspending disbelief. If the stress test is done honestly, it is impossible to believe that some banks won’t fail. If no bank fails, then what’s the value of the stress test? To tell us everything is fine, when people know it’s not?

“I can’t think of a single, positive thing to say about the stress test concept — the process by which it will be carried out, or outcome it will produce, no matter what the outcome is,” Thomas K. Brown, an analyst at Bankstocks.com, wrote. “Nothing good can come of this and, under certain, non-far-fetched scenarios, it might end up making the banking system’s problems worse.”

The results of the stress test could lead to calls for capital for some of the banks. Citi is mentioned most often as a candidate for more help, but there could be others.

The expectation, before Monday at least, was that the government would pump new money into the banks that needed it most.

But that was before the government reached into its bag of tricks again. Now Treasury, instead of putting up new money, is considering swapping its preferred shares in these banks for common shares.

The benefit to the bank is that it will have more capital to meet its ratio requirements, and therefore won’t have to pay a 5 percent dividend to the government. In the case of Citi, that would save the bank hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

And — ta da! — it will miraculously stretch taxpayer dollars without spending a penny more.

Marge said...

Happy to be an asshole. I used to just be an angry bitch.

Anonymous said...

"Assholes thrive on anonymity. Saying things anonymousely that they wouldn't dare say in person is the hallmark of an asshole. "

What's the matter Bruce is the pussy sore again? You should tell Trudy to go easier with the strap-on.

Bewert said...

Marge, I was referring to the true assholes, the ones who try to hurt someone anonymousely.

Which you most definitely are not.

Bewert said...

It continually amazes me how many there are here, though. Something about Bend, I guess. Misplaced anger over losing their life savings in an underwater home or something.

Anonymous said...

Bewert said...
It continually amazes me how many there are here, though. Something about Bend, I guess. Misplaced anger over losing their life savings in an underwater home or something.
Or maybe even very real anger about numb-nut Jewtahnians that move here without a clue. Then run home with their tails between their legs.

Buster said...

Bruce Pussy is just frustrated because he knows it's gonna be a couple weeks until he's back in Jewtah where he and Trudy can molest mormon choir boys again.

Anonymous said...

>Bruce Pussy is just frustrated because he knows it's gonna be a couple weeks until he's back in Jewtah where he and Trudy can molest mormon choir boys again.

Ok, what parent let their 12 year old use the computer without proper supervision?

Anonymous said...

JEWTAH...THIS IS THE PLACE
Words- Sam Francis, Gary Francis
Music- Gary Francis

Jewtah! People working together
Jewtah! What a great place to be.
Blessed from Heaven above.
It's the land that we love.
This is the place!

Jewtah! With its mountains and valleys.
Jewtah! With its canyons and streams.
You can go anywhere.
But there's none that compare.
This is the place!

It was Brigham Young who led the pioneers across the plains.
They suffered with the trials they had to face.
With faith they kept on going till they reached the Great Salt Lake
Here they heard the words..."THIS IS THE PLACE!"

Jewtah! With its focus on family,
Jewtah! Helps each child to succeed.
People care how they live.
Each has so much to give.
This is the place!

Jewtah! Getting bigger and better.
Jewtah! Always leading the way.
New technology's here...
Growing faster each year.
This is the place!

There is beauty in the snow-capped mountains, in the lakes and streams.
There are valleys filled with farms and orchards too.
The spirit of its people shows in everything they do.
Jewtah is the place where dreams come true.

Jewtah! With its pioneer spirit.
Jewtah! What a great legacy!
Blessed from Heaven above.
It's the land that we love.
This is the place

Jewtah! Jewtah! Jewtah!
THIS IS THE PLACE!

Bewert said...

Re: Or maybe even very real anger about numb-nut Jewtahnians that move here without a clue.

###

Huh? I remember reading many articles about Bendtopia!

And that Jewtah song is fucking hilarious.

But reality is reality, and Jewtah has four of it's MSA's in the top 50 for unemployment. Bend is going to be lucky to not be in the bottom 2%, not the top.

I'm just glad I don't have an anchor here.

Besides, the skiing is way better. Plus some "fool" got the developers to kick in money for MTB trails around Park City., a fee or tax of some sort. 300 miles and counting from what I've been hearing.

BTW, whoever wrote that song sure has a deep knowledge of Utah Mo's.

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

TWEET

Anonymous said...

oh embarrasment to be the only ones ever recalled at oww2. how could they ever show themselves in public again? To have the majority of home owners dislike you I think i would move away.

Anonymous said...

Since CO is being compared to Flint...

Here's a NTY article with this philosophy: Flint is becoming a model for a different era

hmmm, UDB: Urban Demo Boundary


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/business/22flint.html?hp

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Freddie Mac acting CFO found dead in apparent suicide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – David Kellermann, acting chief financial officer of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, was found dead on Wednesday in his suburban Virginia home, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman said.

Police were called at 4:48 a.m. EDT (8:48 GMT) to Reston, Virginia, spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell told Reuters.

Local media reported that Kellermann's wife called in an apparent suicide, but Caldwell did not elaborate on the cause of death. The incident is under investigation, she said.

Kellermann, 41, had worked with Freddie Mac for more than 16 years and was named acting CFO in September.

Shares of Freddie Mac slid 9.3 percent to 78 cents in premarket trade.

The U.S. government intervened last year to take over Freddie and rival mortgage finance company Fannie Mae as mounting losses on housing investments weakened their balance sheets and played a role in the U.S. housing and global credit crisis.

The two government-sponsored enterprises had a hand in about half of the entire U.S. mortgage market and were taken over in an effort to ward off further damage to the U.S. housing market.

According to Freddie's website, Kellermann was responsible for the company's financial controls, financial reporting, tax, capital oversight and compliance with the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley accounting standards. He also oversaw the company's annual budgeting and financial planning processes.

Before taking over as acting CFO, he served as senior vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer.

Bewert said...

It May Be Time for the Fed to Go Negative

WITH unemployment rising and the financial system in shambles, it’s hard not to feel negative about the economy right now. The answer to our problems, however, could well be more negativity. But I’m not talking about attitude. I‘m talking about numbers.
Skip to next paragraph
Enlarge This Image
David G. Klein

Let’s start with the basics: What is the best way for an economy to escape a recession?

Until recently, most economists relied on monetary policy. Recessions result from an insufficient demand for goods and services — and so, the thinking goes, our central bank can remedy this deficiency by cutting interest rates. Lower interest rates encourage households and businesses to borrow and spend. More spending means more demand for goods and services, which leads to greater employment for workers to meet that demand.

The problem today, it seems, is that the Federal Reserve has done just about as much interest rate cutting as it can. Its target for the federal funds rate is about zero, so it has turned to other tools, such as buying longer-term debt securities, to get the economy going again. But the efficacy of those tools is uncertain, and there are risks associated with them.

In many ways today, the Fed is in uncharted waters.

So why shouldn’t the Fed just keep cutting interest rates? Why not lower the target interest rate to, say, negative 3 percent?

At that interest rate, you could borrow and spend $100 and repay $97 next year. This opportunity would surely generate more borrowing and aggregate demand.

The problem with negative interest rates, however, is quickly apparent: nobody would lend on those terms. Rather than giving your money to a borrower who promises a negative return, it would be better to stick the cash in your mattress. Because holding money promises a return of exactly zero, lenders cannot offer less.

Unless, that is, we figure out a way to make holding money less attractive.

At one of my recent Harvard seminars, a graduate student proposed a clever scheme to do exactly that. (I will let the student remain anonymous. In case he ever wants to pursue a career as a central banker, having his name associated with this idea probably won’t help.)

Imagine that the Fed were to announce that, a year from today, it would pick a digit from zero to 9 out of a hat. All currency with a serial number ending in that digit would no longer be legal tender. Suddenly, the expected return to holding currency would become negative 10 percent.

That move would free the Fed to cut interest rates below zero. People would be delighted to lend money at negative 3 percent, since losing 3 percent is better than losing 10.

Of course, some people might decide that at those rates, they would rather spend the money — for example, by buying a new car. But because expanding aggregate demand is precisely the goal of the interest rate cut, such an incentive isn’t a flaw — it’s a benefit.

The idea of making money earn a negative return is not entirely new. In the late 19th century, the German economist Silvio Gesell argued for a tax on holding money. He was concerned that during times of financial stress, people hoard money rather than lend it. John Maynard Keynes approvingly cited the idea of a carrying tax on money. With banks now holding substantial excess reserves, Gesell’s concern about cash hoarding suddenly seems very modern.

If all of this seems too outlandish, there is a more prosaic way of obtaining negative interest rates: through inflation. Suppose that, looking ahead, the Fed commits itself to producing significant inflation. In this case, while nominal interest rates could remain at zero, real interest rates — interest rates measured in purchasing power — could become negative. If people were confident that they could repay their zero-interest loans in devalued dollars, they would have significant incentive to borrow and spend.

Having the central bank embrace inflation would shock economists and Fed watchers who view price stability as the foremost goal of monetary policy. But there are worse things than inflation. And guess what? We have them today. A little more inflation might be preferable to rising unemployment or a series of fiscal measures that pile on debt bequeathed to future generations.

Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is the perfect person to make this commitment to higher inflation. Mr. Bernanke has long been an advocate of inflation targeting. In the past, advocates of inflation targeting have stressed the need to keep inflation from getting out of hand. But in the current environment, the goal could be to produce enough inflation to ensure that the real interest rate is sufficiently negative.

The idea of negative interest rates may strike some people as absurd, the concoction of some impractical theorist. Perhaps it is. But remember this: Early mathematicians thought that the idea of negative numbers was absurd. Today, these numbers are commonplace. Even children can be taught that some problems (such as 2x + 6 = 0) have no solution unless you are ready to invoke negative numbers.

Maybe some economic problems require the same trick.

N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He was an adviser to President George W. Bush.###

Weird morning in the world out there...

Quimby said...

And of course, Mish's well reasoned rebuttal to Mankiw's lunacy.

Jelement said...

All other logistical problems with the drawing a serial number out of a hat plan aside, the goal is to encourage borrowing and spending - some people still think that is going to fix all of our problems.

Why is it so hard for people to grasp that if you let folks who don't have the means to pay you back borrow money from you, then you're just pushing the problem off to a later date and making it worse? People borrowed their way into the great depression, and people spent beyond their means to create the housing mess. So how do we fix it? Find another way for people to borrow and spend more, of course.

Is a real solution to a problem just so far beyond all of these people that all they can come up with are ways to get through another few years with no concern for what happens beyond that?

No wonder I've pretty much given up on people in general.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting fact:

The Jewtah state bird is the Seagull. Otherwise know as "The Flying Rat." I guess when you have that large, beautiful, pristine body of salt water smack dab in the middle of your state, a few of those goofy fuckers are bound to get a little confused.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, nice article. It doesn't strike this reader as strange at all (maybe because I've been reading these ideas for several months now).

Here's the rebuttal to Mankiw and Krugman that Quimby sites:

"On the other hand, I prefer common sense over economic models any day of the week. And common sense dictates that loose lending practices and a cheaper dollar got us into this mess so loose lending standards and a cheaper dollar cannot possibly get us out of this mess."
This "common sense" got some of his facts wrong. Namely that a cheap dollar got us into this mess. The value of the dollar has nothing to do with it.

Second:
Mankiw and Krugman ARE right. At this point in the story, you get a choice: (a) inflation, or (b) higher and higher unemployment.

As Buster has said, in the Great Depression 25% of the people may have been starving, but 75% of the population was fine.

Businesses will continue to fail unless that 75% can be convinced to make purchases that they are currently holding off on.

How do you get people to stop hoarding money (stuffing in their mattress)?

One word: Inflation.

It's coming boys and girls, whether you like it or not.

The Gold Bugs will hate it, but my opinion is that some inflation beats the hell out of living in a country with 25% unemployment.

Quimby said...

Outright theft via inflation vs. the natural consequence of this funny-business finance game being played: Unemployment and gnashing of teeth

Hmmmmm....I can see where your moral compass is pointed, you'll fit right in on Wall Street or in DC.

Those invested in real estate love their inflation whereas those who choose to save their money are demonized.

Bewert said...

Re: ...those who choose to save their money are demonized.

###

No, just fucked in the ass.

I've been going back to the 80's to see what happened, what was up and down, back then. Closest thing to what we are experiencing now.

It is amazing, though, hearing the spend, spend, spend, chorus. Spend us out of the recession.

Right into bondage for the average American.

Quimby said...

>> How do you get people to stop hoarding money (stuffing in their mattress)?

WHY DO YOU VIEW THIS AS WRONG YOU ARROGANT FUCK? It's supposed to be a free country, right?

How is it YOUR (or anyone's) job to GET ME to stop saving my money?

Quimby said...

I tell you what, I'll just give you my bank account info and you spend my money how you like. Would you be happy then?



Motherfucking thieves these "monetary" manipulators.

Anonymous said...

Dumbshit Quimby voted for Obomba, and now he is shocked, SHOCKED, I TELL YOU, that Obomba has exploded the economy.

Who would have guessed?

Yes, Quimby, send Obomba your bank account info, and his Demolution Administration will drain your account, spread the wealth around.

Quimby said...

If you weren't a newbie you'd know who I voted for. Nice try.

Quimby said...

In fact if you had a brain at all, you could read into my viewpoint and know EXACTLY who I voted for.

This one's not too bright boys.

Bewert said...

Bushie started the money surge and Obama has continued it.

Sucks to be an average American. We are paying Wall St. bonuses and counterparty derivative payments. With very little oversight.

We are like Rome, about 20 years before it burned.

Anonymous said...

>> WHY DO YOU VIEW THIS AS WRONG YOU ARROGANT FUCK?


I'm not saying you're "wrong" -- I also -- like you -- am saving much more than usual. A person wants some safety in case credit completely dries up (if it hasn't already).

But some people are postponing purchases who wouldn't have to be doing so. So there is more contraction than there needs to be.

If you look back in history, the nations' leaders -- no matter which party happens to be in charge -- will always pull levers to encourage spending in order to avoid letting unemployment get "too" high. The "inflation" lever is a handy one.

Is this good policy? I don't know. My argument is that I'm willing to live with some inflation if we could get people/businesses to start spending a little more, and save some jobs.

Ultimately that's what it's about -- trying to keep too many businesses from going bust, and too many people from losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

April 22, 2009
Economic Scene
For Housing Crisis, the End Probably Isn’t Near
By DAVID LEONHARDT

The closest thing to a real estate crystal ball in the last few years has been the house auctions that are regularly held around the country.

In 2006 and early 2007, the official housing statistics were still showing that house prices were holding up. But that was largely because so many sellers were refusing to sell. The auctions, made up mostly of foreclosed homes, showed the truth: house values were starting to plummet in many places.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to go to an auction at a hotel ballroom in Washington — and to study the results of several others elsewhere — with an eye to figuring out whether prices may now be close to bottoming out.

That’s clearly a huge economic question. Last week, JPMorgan’s chief financial officer told Eric Dash of The New York Times that JPMorgan, and presumably other banks, would be under pressure “until home prices stabilize and unemployment peaks.” As long as home prices are falling, foreclosures are likely to keep rising and the toxic assets polluting bank balance sheets are likely to stay toxic.

There are reasons, though, to think that prices may be on the verge of stabilizing. Relative to fundamentals, like household incomes and rents, houses nationwide now appear to be overvalued by only about 5 percent. You can make an argument that the end of the housing crash is near.

But that’s not what I found at the auctions.



“This is a perfect storm of opportunity,” Bob Michaelis, goateed with a shaved head, told the 300 or so people who had come to downtown Washington for the auction.

Mr. Michaelis, the auction manager, spoke from a lectern on stage, and his goal seemed to be to persuade people that they might never see a buyers’ market as good as this one. Prices have plunged, and interest rates, he said, are at “generational lows.” (The National Association of Realtors has been running a radio commercial this spring making a similar case.)

“Look around to your left and your right, and you’ll see someone who sees an opportunity just like you do,” Mr. Michaelis said. “We’re approaching the bottom of the market, I think. We’re approaching the bottom of the market, if we’re not there already.”

He then told the audience that, in the last 100 years, house prices have recovered from every downturn and gone on to reach record highs. Oh, and Wells Fargo and Countrywide were standing by, ready to offer financing to qualified auction buyers.

If nothing else, this sales pitch certainly had chutzpah. It combined the old bubble-era notion that house prices always rise over time (ignoring the fact that incomes, stock values and the price of bread do, too) with the new postcrash idea that houses must be a bargain because they’re a lot cheaper than they used to be. Even Countrywide, which was taken over by Bank of America after so many of its subprime mortgages went bad, is still part of the housing pitch.

Yet as soon as the auction began, it was clear that the pitch wasn’t working.

The winning bid on the first home auctioned off, a two-bedroom townhouse in Virginia Beach, was $115,000. Just last July, it sold for $182,000, according to property records. A four-bedroom brick house with a two-car garage in Upper Marlboro, Md., went for $375,000. Last year, it sold for $563,000.

Throughout the evening, such low-ball prices continued to win the bidding. At one point, the auctioneer, Wayne Wheat, interrupted his sing-song auction call to cheerfully ask, “Where are my investors?”

The tables that had been set up around the edges of the ballroom, reserved for people planning to buy multiple houses, were mostly empty. Many audience members, like the man in a camouflage baseball cap just in front of me, were attending their first auction.

On Sunday, my colleague Carmen Gentile went to a larger auction, in Miami, to see if my experience had been unusual. It wasn’t. The homes there also sold for just a fraction of what they would have even a year ago. The rate of decline in Miami hasn’t even slowed noticeably in recent months, according to data kept by Real Estate Disposition Corporation, known as R.E.D.C., which runs the auctions.

A recently transplanted New Yorker named Michael Houtkin won the bidding on a one-bedroom condominium on the outskirts of Boca Raton, a few blocks from three golf courses, for the incredible price of $30,000. “Things were almost being given away,” he said later.

As is often the case at these auctions, the seller of the condo — Fannie Mae — retained the right to refuse the winning bid and keep the property. But Mr. Houtkin told me he was optimistic his bid would be accepted. An R.E.D.C. employee suggested to him that $30,000 wasn’t much below the minimum price that Fannie Mae had hoped to receive.

How could that be? Because Fannie Mae, like many banks, is inundated with foreclosed properties. In recent weeks, banks have begun accelerating foreclosures again, after having held off while waiting to find out which homeowners would be eligible for the Obama administration’s assistance program.

The glut of foreclosed homes creates a self-reinforcing cycle. Falling prices lead to more foreclosures. Foreclosures lead to an excess supply of homes for sale. The excess supply then leads to further price declines. Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, says that the “massive amount of excess supply” means that home prices nationwide will probably fall an additional 15 percent.

This estimate hides a lot of variation, too. In Miami, Goldman forecasts, prices could drop an additional 33 percent, which is pretty amazing since they’ve already fallen 50 percent from their 2006 peak.

Nor is excess supply the only reason prices still have a way to fall. Nationwide, homes may not be overvalued by much. But in some cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Miami, they remain very expensive. So while Mr. Hatzius and his Goldman colleagues are somewhat more pessimistic than most forecasters, the difference isn’t enormous.

I’ll confess that this bearish picture isn’t exactly what I had hoped to find. A year ago, as part of a move from New York to Washington, my wife and I bought our first house. We did so fully expecting prices to continue falling (though perhaps not as much as they ultimately will, given the severity of the financial crisis). But we decided they had fallen enough for us to take the plunge. We preferred buying before the bottom of the market instead of renting and having to move again in a year or two.

Still, when I wrote about that decision last spring, I argued that anyone who didn’t have to move probably should not buy yet. Prices still had a way to fall.

They don’t have as far to fall today, but the great real estate crash is not over, either. So if you are part of the 30 percent of American households who rent and you’re trying to decide when to buy, relax.

The market is still coming your way.

tim said...

Bulletin headline today:

"Never to old to skate"

::sigh::

Bewert said...

Speaking of RE auctions, the Hobbit village is up for auction, with $750K reserve.

http://www.rmnw-auctions.com/

For less than $100/sq ft, you could own the Butterfly home!

tim said...

>>But some people are postponing purchases who wouldn't have to be doing so. So there is more contraction than there needs to be.

Maybe people are realizing they don't need all the crap they're accustomed to buying. Is it so bad that we're taking a moment to reflect on the pigs we've become?

Bewert said...

Re: ::sigh::

###

Locals stay put in tough economy

Central Oregon movers noticing drop in business

Three months ago, Angela Dyas, the owner of Bend’s Atlas City Moving & Storage, sent out 5,400 fliers to property owners and occupants whose homes were on the market.

Dyas said it’s an advertising tactic that moving companies use when times are especially tough.

“It’s been used in other downturns. … We don’t do it every year,” she said.

With the way business is going lately, though, Dyas said she’s pulling out all the stops. The U.S. Census Bureau said the number of people who moved nationally in 2008 is the smallest number since 1962. The mover rate declined nationally from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many are saying the trend is evident in Central Oregon, with local moving companies noticing a drop in business.

“In the present economy, people aren’t moving,” Dyas said. “I think they are basically sitting tight until they see what this economy is going to do.”

Bryan Murphy, general manager of Bend’s Allied Prestige Moving & Storage, said in the 14 years working for the company he’s never seen anything like this.

“I would say this year our business is down 50 percent, maybe more, maybe 60,” he said. “It’s really, really changed.”

“We used to move all the big projects — Pronghorn, Les Schwab — and that’s gone,” said Murphy, who explained he moved not only executives for large companies, but also furnishings used to set up model homes, lodges and headquarters.

Murphy said not only has his commercial business dried up, but more homeowners are moving themselves than before.

“Five years ago, I would walk into a house, and they wouldn’t blink at $10,000 to move. … Now, people are packing themselves and just having us do some big stuff,” he said. “It’s really hit us pretty hard. I would like to paint a prettier picture, but I can’t.”

For the past 10 years, he said, the company has averaged 5.6 moves per day. Now, that number is much smaller.

“We’re down to one or two a day, if we’re lucky,” he said, adding he’s had to lay off about 12 people. “Which is odd, because we’ve always had stuff. … I’m sending a lot of the local guys out of state to pick up some of the slack. I have local guys running to California, Seattle. We’re having to reach out more and go to the business.”

He said he has a stack of folders with about 300 people who, when they sell their homes, will contact him.

“When they sell their home, they will use us,” he said. “But they can’t sell their home. That’s the biggest problem — real estate isn’t moving. I’ve had people with their house on the market for two years.”

For Kevin Hanson, who owns The Moving Source, a local company, it’s been a long time since he has worked a 40-hour week.

“During the heyday, I was turning jobs down,” he said. “I used to work 10, 12, 20 days straight.”

Michael Kozak, who is a broker for Computerized Property Management and the Kozak Company, works in both real estate and rentals.

In the rental market, he said, he has seen people move.

“Rents are coming down, and tenants with construction jobs or in the service industry, some of them are actually moving (into cheaper places),” he said.

“I think in the rental market they are getting deals,” he said.

Regarding the homes-for-sale market, Kozak said, the biggest change has come with the number of foreclosed homes his company is dealing with.

For Dyas, whose company has been around since 1921, it’s all about hanging tight.

“We’re just trying to maintain our business, hold on and see what happens,” she said.

###

Maybe the author could have given UHaul a call.

Anonymous said...

Unemployment pushes rise in foreclosures in Portland area
Posted by areifent April 22, 2009 19:42PM
Randy L. RasmussenA steep drop in Jennifer Casey's business as a medical and rehabilitative massage therapist caused her to lose her Lake Oswego home. Rising unemployment, pay cuts and shrinking business receipts are contributing to a sharp spike in Portland-area foreclosures.

After nearly two years of high-risk loans driving record numbers of Portland-area homeowners into default, lenders are seeing a second, bigger wave of foreclosures.

And now, the culprit is unemployment.

Since late 2008, the jobless rate and the number of foreclosures have been rising together in Oregon and southwest Washington, entwined in a cause-and-effect climb toward the top of the charts.

"I definitely think that's what we're seeing now everywhere -- and that's especially the trend we're seeing in Oregon." said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac, a California-based company that tracks foreclosures nationwide. "A lot of the rise in foreclosures has to do with unemployment."

As Oregon's seasonally adjusted jobless rate climbed to 12.1 percent in March, second-highest in the nation behind Michigan, home mortgage defaults have spiked along with it.

In March 2008, Oregon ranked 21st nationally in its rate of home foreclosures. One year later, Oregon jumped up to 12th, with more than 10,540 properties in foreclosure.

The numbers barely hint at the personal tragedies experienced when people lose their homes.
Randy L. RasmussenJennifer Casey's home-based medical and rehabilitative massage practice dropped sharply last fall. Casey, 61, has since defaulted on her mortgage, surrendered her home and moved.

"Sometimes, when I have to serve an eviction, the people start crying or calling me names," said Deputy Lawrence Jones, who works in the Clackamas County sheriff's civil division. "But I know they feel awful because they're losing their homes, so I just let them vent."

In the Portland area, Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties all have seen sharp rises in unemployment, coupled with record numbers of home-loan defaults.

But the picture is even darker in Clark County, which in March produced Washington state's highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. Clark County's unadjusted March unemployment rate of 12.5 percent -- the worst since 1983 -- was coupled with 605 foreclosures.

Analysts said the blame for foreclosures now goes beyond adjustable-rate loans with built-in time bombs, free-wheeling lenders and homebuyers who fudged their financials to qualify for bigger loans.

"There is no doubt that foreclosures have shifted out of the subprime loan market and into the prime," said Scott Bailey, southwest Washington regional economist for the state Employment Security Department. "We're now seeing a lot of regular people who have lost their jobs in foreclosure."

Less visible than layoffs are the pay cuts that many workers are enduring, along with shrinking receipts for small-business owners.

Take Jennifer Casey, for example.

Casey, 61, knew timing was poor when her landlord announced 2 1/2 years ago that she was selling the house Casey rented in Lake Oswego's First Addition -- immediately after Casey tied up all her money buying a rental house in Salem. But Casey figured she could buy another home in Lake Oswego, where she could continue her home-based practice as a licensed medical and rehabilitative massage therapist.

Casey was right. With her unblemished credit record and a solid, thoroughly documented income, she qualified for a no-money-down loan of $495,000 on an updated ranch-style home in the Red Fox Hills neighborhood. She converted the sunken living room into her therapy studio and turned the dining room into a waiting area. She also landscaped the corner lot, putting in slate paths, an elaborate rock garden and a row of dwarf weeping cherry trees.

"I didn't have any kind of exotic loan," Casey said. "And although I knew the price was high, I figured real estate in Lake Oswego was a good investment. I expected to eventually sell it for more than I paid for it."

For two years, Casey's plan worked. But last fall, her practice began a steep slide as clients lost their jobs or could no longer afford her services.

"Since last fall, I've lost 70 percent of my practice," Casey said. "And unfortunately, because I bought at the peak of the market, the mortgage payments were high -- $4,500 a month."

She went into default in December and has since moved.

"I didn't falsify anything, and I didn't lie," Casey said. "I didn't have a weird loan. Yes, my payments were high, but it was working fine. I feel like I was a victim of the economy."

Casey is not alone.

Tom Potiowsky, Oregon's state economist, said job losses across all employment sectors are driving up foreclosures.

"What we're seeing now is the recession effect," Potiowsky said. "Our overall economy is pushing foreclosures up. And we're being hit harder by the recession than some of the other states."

For a while, he said, Oregonians could knock on wood because the housing and credit-market problems rampant in California, Nevada, Illinois and Florida seemed to be passing over Oregon.

But just as in those other states, some of the Portland area's hottest up-market residential destinations saw problems surface first. The Clackamas County cities of Happy Valley and West Linn, as well as Ridgefield, Battle Ground, La Center and Camas in Clark County, proved to be canaries in the coal mine.

Potiowsky found some hope, however, in the recent signs that the stock markets are stabilizing. And nationally, sales are kicking up a bit.

He said recent federal efforts will help loosen the home-loan market and offer some direct relief to homeowners. But it's too early to know when the housing market, as a whole, will turn around.

"At this point," Potiowsky said, "we'll just have to see."

-- Rick Bella; rickbella@news.oregonian.com
Categories: Breaking News, Clackamas County, Economy
Comments
Lost2Time says...

THAT is a bummer.
Posted on 04/22/09 at 7:50PM
caveman1313 says...

"I didn't have any kind of exotic loan," Casey said.
-------------------------------------

hmmm, i would call a no down exotic.

but then again, i am very fiscally conservative.

no down on a 500k loan. crazy.

and obama wants banks to start lending again and take us back to the good old days of 06.
Posted on 04/22/09 at 7:56PM
pdxboy50 says...

No down on 500k seems a little out there. I bought my house for $250k with no down on an 80/20 split back in 2003, which probably couldn't happen now.

I feel bad for the lady, but maybe she can move into her rental. The worst is for people with nowhere to go. You lose a job and then lose your home. It's like 1931.

Caveman - banks need to lend to keep the economy moving. You're implying that banks will make dumb loans again, which they won't if the proper regulation is in place (which it should have been).
Posted on 04/22/09 at 8:31PM
pickleball69 says...

This is temporary. The banks are flush with cash so anyone will be able to refinance.

Contact the guy that was bank-rolled and financed by Freddie Mac. He can tell you what to do.

You can call him at: 202-456-1111

You can also write him at:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Posted on 04/22/09 at 9:11PM
pickleball69 says...

This is temporary. The banks are flush with cash so anyone will be able to refinance.

Contact the guy that was bank-rolled and financed by Freddie Mac. He can tell you what to do.

You can call him at: 202-456-1111

You can also write him at:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Posted on 04/22/09 at 9:12PM
tdcowboy says...

Wow, $4500/month payment was working for Ms. Casey. Most of us don't even gross that much in a month so why feel sorry for her? No down payment of a 1/2 mil loan is just crazy for both lender and borrower. Jumbo loan with high interest rate that killed her.
Posted on 04/22/09 at 9:16PM
saxxybone says...

Why is a 61 year old woman borrowing $500k with no down payment and a $4,500 per month mortgage?

Did she think she would be working until she was 91 years old?

Lake Oswego is full of over leveraged "look at me" types.


Posted on 04/22/09 at 9:19PM
barack666 says...

Another group of homeowners could be potentially into foreclosures. These homeowners have seen a significant drop in their home values but are really taking it in on the chin. To qualify as a refinance, it requires a significant downpayment (~20% market price) where they've already lost tremendous value. Many can't afford to. They are afraid to simply walk away from their current mess and affect their credit scores. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Posted on 04/22/09 at 9:53PM
brmc1 says...

barack666- Awesome handle! Barack rocks and 666 is my lucky number! Did you create that handle because you know me? Oh my gosh- who are you?!?
Posted on 04/22/09 at 10:11PM
Crashwatcher says...

The new word in Lake O. is for the next few years is negative appreciation as prices revert to the mean.
Posted on 04/23/09 at 1:59AM
Bikedude says...

I was chatting with a clerk at a major local employer yesterday. She's working overtime, with great pay and benefits. So are others there.

They're looking hard to hire, but having one significant problem.

A significant percentage of applicants are FAILING the DRUG TEST.

Those whose situation is caused by lifestyle choices.....fill in the blanks.
Posted on 04/23/09 at 5:53AM
allens says...

Bikedude, as much as I disagree with the stupid criminalization of marijuana users I agree that you gotta play the game to survive, if you fail a drug test you just weren't trying that hard now were you??

Why is this lady a front page (website) story? She does not represent the norm in any way, a multiple house owner taking on payments larger then most of us normal folks make...she is the victim of her own short-sightedness. How about some folks that truly are displaced by our economic state, not some bad example that's simply 'inconvenienced' by it....

Sometimes I wonder if the O's editorial staff should be the ones drug tested...
Posted on 04/23/09 at 6:48AM
portmanduck says...

I'm just crying so hard for this poor woman I can hardly type! 'It's Lake Oswego, we all should make maney.' Sorry.

I am fortunate to have an advanced degree that has helped me to secure a well-paying job and yet my wife and I bought way below our means so we could ride out the storms like now. This story represents, as Bikedude stated above, lifestyle choices; buying a 500k home with no money down and 'expecting' to make money represents selfishness. She got caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
Posted on 04/23/09 at 7:22AM
nr1942 says...

While I sympathize with anyone who is losing their home, I have to agree with allens comments.
The woman you wrote about should have been mature enough and intelligent enough to have had more of a clue about her financial affairs. In the world most of us live in a $4500 a month house payment is unheard of. To top it off, she also owns a rental in Salem??? Why not write about the average person out here in the average Oregon who has a family, no longer has a job, has no health-care, etc? The down-and-out of Lake Oswego sort of escapes me here.
Posted on 04/23/09 at 7:38AM
resistol says...

I don't hear her asking for sympathy. She admittedly took a calculated risk, and lost the bet. When she bought, every realtor in town was telling her RE Only Goes Up. No one's "hand was in the cookie jar." Businesses do this all the time.

This is personally more risk than I would take, but she's a businesswoman whose bet, if taken 2-3 years prior, might have done well.

Remember! It's ALWAYS a good time to BUY!
Posted on 04/23/09 at 7:53AM
Cerretani says...

This article was less about a home foreclosure and more about a business failure. I feel for the woman in the article - she made a business decision to buy a property for her business and ended up losing the place. This is not a great example of the more pervasive foreclosure happening around the city. We have several foreclosures here in SE Portland and the story is the same - family buys moderate home in up-and-coming neighborhood, primary income earner loses job, savings (if any) consumed in weeks, house is re-possessed. Housing may have started the slide but jobs are the issue now...and that is a grim situation for a workforce trained to trade financial "products", write mortgages and produce powerpoint slides.

This recession will likely go down as the largest shift in property ownership in US history as investor groups buy property at a deep discount from banks receiving taxpayer money to balance their losses. These groups will then rent the houses back to the rest of us.


Posted on 04/23/09 at 7:56AM
choo2blue says...

bikedude: I am a clean, responsible individual who was recently laid off and is struggling to pay my mortgage (20% down wiith a 30 year fixed). Why not post the contact information for the "major local employer" you mentioned? I would be delighted to introduce myself.

It better not be McDonalds
Posted on 04/23/09 at 7:58AM
brodee says...

Hey Oregonian - I moved away from Portland to buy a brand new $185K house between Salem and Albany. I have a modest $1300 mortgage. But I was laid off six months ago; just two weeks after my first son was born. Now I'm selling everything I can on eBay every month just to keep the house from falling into forclosure (I'm 3 months behind) and to keep my son in diapers.

By the way, I'm a military veteran with a Bachelor's degree. Wanna do a story on me?

I think I represent the people who are really hurting the most more than the woman you describe in this story.

Anonymous said...

Quimby said...
In fact if you had a brain at all, you could read into my viewpoint and know EXACTLY who I voted for.


*

Ah, yes....

Quimby, Pussy, HBM, Duncan and the local managerie of Butterball zoo animals all voted for Palin.

Quimby said...

You know, you really should leave the busting to the real buster.

Where is buster anyway?

Jelement said...

All this and yet central oregon continues to grow?

The last three months have all shown a record high labor force in the Bend MSA, which isn't helping the UE numbers any either.

Nov 2008 - 82,157
Dec 2008 - 82,952
Jan 2009 - 83,889
Feb 2009 - 84,951
Mar 2009 - 86,051

Almost a 5% increase in the labor force in 5 months, when there's no jobs to be had? Seems to not make a lot of sense that it would be growing so quickly. I threw together a quick chart the and workforce increase is definitely way outside the historic norms. Here's the last few months worth of calculations

March 2009 workforce change: +1.29%
Average March workforce change (1990-2009): +0.69%
Last time at or over +1.29%: March 2000 (1.29%), March 1993 (1.36%)


February 2009 workforce change: +1.27%
Average February workforce change (1990-2009): +0.38%
Last time at or over +1.27%: February 1996 (1.88%)

January 2009 workforce change: +1.13%
Average January workforce change (1991-2009): +0.63%
Last time at or over +1.13%: January 2004 (2.00%)

December 2009 workforce change: +0.97%
Average December workforce change (1990-2008): -0.34%
Last time at or over +0.97%: December 1990 (2.23%)

According to those numbers I certainly don't see a mass exodus either. Since no homes are selling, people must either be sharing more housing, or most of this increase is people who are renting.

tim said...

Recent article said workforce growing in Bend is due to a stunning increase of formerly-retired people coming back into the workforce due to huge losses in savings.

Schools have actually seen kids leaving (in a part of the year when they are normally gaining kids). So I'm pretty sure the exodus is happening as we speak.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe people are realizing they don't need all the crap they're accustomed to buying."

Us imbeciles on this blog may disagree on many things -- but we all seem to be extreme cheapskates. Any Hummer owners out there? Doubt it. Probably half the people here drive a Dodge Dart.




"Where is buster anyway?"

He could have died and we'd never know it. Such is life when you're anonymous (which I personally highly approve of).

Now Duncan, on the other hand, has become so well known that he will have 1000s of well wishers at his funeral (not that it's likely to happen soon).

Duncan McGeary said...

"...he will have 1000s of well wishers at his funeral..."

Checking to make sure.

tim said...

Dunc, I wish you well even while you're among the living.

BrucePussy said...

"Schools have actually seen kids leaving (in a part of the year when they are normally gaining kids). So I'm pretty sure the exodus is happening as we speak."

Trudy and I are joining the exodus because they won't let us practice polygamy here like they do in Jewtah. Imagine how good I'm gonna have it once I have three or four man-wives to support me.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine how good I'm gonna have it once I have three or four man-wives to support me."

*

Hard to imagine, BrucePussy.

Let us know how it is with one (T) manwife, and we can extrapolate from there.

Anonymous said...

You know, you really should leave the busting to the real buster.

Where is buster anyway?

*

Back in Malaysia Quim, the first week back, my girls back in the Islands filled me gmail farang account with tears of no love without buster.

Pom, Kot, & Nat, my sweet little malay/thai girls, well their not that little about 5'5" & 110LB of pure beauty. Flowing dark hair, and lovely eyes, and never without a smile. They're all about 28, and love me, love me. Their email said so when I got back a few weeks ago. As soon as I returned to Bend a few weeks ago and read their email, I realized what the fuck am I doing in Bend?

I can sit at the Deschutes pub, or be on a beautiful beach with my lovely attending to my every need, well I chose the latter, sorry guys.

Right now its 2PM and hot, but in a few hours it will be cool and I'll be swimming. Just hanging out in an internet cafe right now, no booze its muslim, checked my email, and covered homers blog. You folks are really eating each other alive on BB2, ... what's new.

The most beautiful women the world with only tender love on their minds, and I gave BB2 up for this?? Whats a mother to do??


I had a heavy talk the other day with 80 yr old buddy, he said "I ain't got much time left, and I ain't going to spend it here". I was only back from Malay/Thai for a week and I bought a ticket to come back. My old 80 yr buddy likes to get laid 4+ times a day, says it keeps him young, ... I'm only 65, the kittens here think I'm a young stud, back in Bend I would be a barstool.

I have said it many times, but Bend is only nice if you haven't traveled. I have three lovely's that cook for me and do as I wish and it costs them nothing, all they want in return is my love.

One week back in Bend, and sitting in Deschutes pub looking at the pale-white skanks was enough, prices have never been better, got my return ticket to BKK for $600, and a few more to fly down here to the Thai/Malay border, the best combo of Muslim & Buddhism.

I think of BP's mormonism, but with ugly white women, here I'm a king my little girls think they're my wives the love of Buddhism and more's of Islam.

There is a god folks, and he ain't in Bend, within a week of returning to Bend, and reading my lovely's tear eyed email I made the determination to bail for a long time, well maybe a few months.

I got a good kid to look after my rentals that had wanted to pick them up for years so I'm good, my girls prepare and provide my food, and only ask for love.

Never been a better time to not be in Bend, you'll not be hearing much from guys, my girls get suspicious when I'm at the internet cafe, down here a scorned woman will cut your balls off with a knife.

Did I mention how fucking ugly and mean spirited Bend women are, sorry buster-wife not talking about you. Nope shes a good old gal, but lets be honest post-menopausal ten years ago, she don't put out, so why not get some love, and she likes it when I'm gone. Who could have guessed. My wife is like dunc's, just wants to spend her life with her books, ...

I think I'll follow my old 80 yr olds role model of life, ... we ain't got much time here, and as we run out of time, we better start living, .. why not?

Jogging in the AM, snoozing in the afternoon, swimming in the eve, ...

I always run on boyz, but I got to explain things, sure they got 18 & 21 your old that want buster love, but the young ones play games, I prefer the 28+, but not much older than 32, now that's an old woman. I seem to get hit the most by 24 yr olds, but they're a pain, they're looking for 'daddy' I don't do that shit, my girls all got jobs, and income, they only want me for love.

So I'm a sex slave, what can I say, I guess this is how it all ends.

chow boyz,

Anonymous said...

"So I'm a sex slave, what can I say, I guess this is how it all ends.

chow boyz,"


*

What putrid Bull Shit.

This buster sheeeet is almost as BAD as the BrucePussy and all of his bragging about howz he was gonna take out the CityCouncil bunch with his Manifesto.

I said ALMOST.

But, really, it ain't far from the BPussy talk. If you are the real buster; you just got elected to the BPussy Hall of Shame. The only diff is the BPussy uses his real name; his ego is only a tad bit larger than yours.

Almost a Pussy, buster.

Anonymous said...

Can't find a drink in Malaysia---how stupid are you you goblok sapilu anging?

Anonymous said...

>>>Back in Malaysia Quim, the first week back, my girls back in the Islands filled me gmail farang account with tears of no love without buster.

DING DING DING...WE HAVE WINNER!Whoa...I've read more stupid bullshit in comments around here over the years but this one wins. It is the official stupidest made up comment to date. It wins hands down.

Way to go Buster!!! You win! Stupidest made up comment in the history of this blog! And that there is truly saying something.

Anonymous said...

Buster is one of the "Mass Exodus" that I couldn't wait for. I won't miss the egotistical blow-hard.

Anonymous said...

Wow -- the stupid is still thick in y'alls neck of the woods: http://bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090424/NEWS0107/904240426/1041&nav_category=

Who's going to buy these houses in an overbuilt market?

Of course, I've got a lot of room to talk. I live in Texas -- we've damn near cornered the market in stupid.

tim said...

No one has cornered the market on stupid, but I think the leader has to be California. Despite every advantage, they've got themselves into a world-class pickle.

Californians distinguish themselves by having massively bought into all the other idiotic places.

Anonymous said...

Every place in the world, people grow up and learn to be stupid. In California, they're born that way.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know Oliver Stretz?

I gave him over $2500 to help buy a car for a non-profit in Bend. A year later, no car and no Oliver.

Oliver Stretz, a Bend Gone Thief.

Anonymous said...

Out of work construction workers are selling their stuff to pay their bills.1920 weimer germany. sorry folks but we are not entering the twilite zone but reality. here in Bend oregon. .reality is about to begin and it is gonna get real ugly.just wait till september and if i'm wrong i will eat my hat!mabe that is the only food I will have.

Anonymous said...

And this is first hand info. have seen it today people are selling their stuff to survive.And this is another thing why are people going to cocc to get a degree while they are on unemployment to get a job that does not exist? Why not get a praticle skill? I met a man who had 2 degrees and could not get a 10 dollar an hour job in this town? shit is hitting the fan big time, wake up people

Anonymous said...

>>wake up people

People don't know how to wake up. The world isn't working the way they expect it to, so they are at a loss for what to do.

It is interesting that people are deciding to take classes now, precisely at the time when kids are realizing that college will just dig them a hole.

What are the kids doing? I'm starting to see some make the choice to go into the military.

Anonymous said...

prepare for the worst and hope for the best? paul doh this is what my cub scout leader told us.And i was born in 1958. but what best is there? My grandparents told me " i could have made it through the depression" mabe the depression of the 1930's but this one is gonna be a doozy if that is a word.

Anonymous said...

"paul doh this is what my cub scout leader told us."

Sorry Paul Doh no longer available.

Hopped on flight to Thigh Land. Right now he is coming Bang Cock.

Anonymous said...

thigh land may be the best place to be

Anonymous said...

Buster's thighs?

eew...

Anonymous said...

Good lord, the Bend Economy Board is just dead. Nothing to say, or a result of turning off anon commenting?

Anonymous said...

An economy in Bend?

That's an oxymoron.

PopGoesBend said...

>Good lord, the Bend Economy Board is just dead. Nothing to say, or a result of turning off anon commenting?

Nothing to say. What that has been posted here this week is actual news? What was news is now commonplace. NODs will be over 300 this month. Yawn. NODs still more than sales. Yawn. Pahlsich turning lots over to the bank. Booooring. Realtors filling us with BS like "First time buyers are snatching up homes like hotcakes." Fucking whatever.

That's all I have. Nothing there is worthy of discussion. I've got no new tips on business failures, but they have become so common it would probably be just noted and not discussed.

Does anyone have ANYTHING to say that would actually trigger discussion? I feel that even if Marge came on here and said that medians had dropped below $200k we'd all be like "yah, I expected that."

Anonymous said...

Tis true, nothing to do now but stand back and watch. Not too many people left in the denial zone. Even the Bull can't put a good spin on it anymore.

What's that awful smell coming off the fan?

Bewert said...

Someone post the Audia story "Sunriver businessman’s estate sued for $1.78M; Suit says Jay Audia diverted money for a race car, gambling". I canceled the BULL and can't read it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on.

Hasn't just about every embezzler since the beginning of time said, "I was just borrowing the money. I was going to pay it back as soon as....my deal came through, as soon as things turn around.

Racing cars? Gambling? Remodeling houses?

These are more spoiled brat indicators than responsible individual indicators.

Suicide is the most selfish act of all. Leaving your partners and friends and family to deal with the consequences.

Apparently, the "nice guy" label trumps all actual behavior.

Ridiculous.

LavaBear said...

Whoa...that mass exodus happened fast. Seems I'm the only one left. Kinda creepy.

Quimby said...

HELLO??? (Hello??) (hello?)

Anonymous said...

PAUL DOH ARE YOU STILL DOING YOUR TAXES??!!!

Come on, write something already. Otherwise we'll be forced to surf over to THAT OTHER BOARD.

LavaBear said...

>>>Come on, write something already.

And don't forget the boobs.

PopGoesBend said...

25 NODs today to bring us to 304 so far for the month. Looks like we'll hit a new record again.

Anonymous said...

Seems like it's over.

But I promise a little present on my way out.

Quimby said...

Pop, but they told me there was a glimmer of hope in the housing market!?!?!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Sorry about no new post Boyz... and girlz.

I am working like a dog. Oy.

PopGoesBend said...

>Pop, but they told me there was a glimmer of hope in the housing market!?!?!

I'm amazed at the number of people I talk to that believe that and look at me like I'm an idiot when I tell them that we are going to wait a year or two to buy.

I had a conversation this weekend with someone who still owns. At the peak his place would have sold for $750k he says. "Today I'd be lucky to get $375k for it, but it's worth $550k." I mentioned it was worth what someone would pay for it, to which he replied "but that's how much it would cost to rebuild it." That's when he brought up that it was a good time to buy and I should get back in.

People don't get it. Nobody cares how much it costs you to build your house. It doesn't matter.