Kate Brown

Five Steps That Need to Happen Before Oregon Reopens

Yesterday the announcement that Oregon had made a “Western States Pact” with both Washington and California  was broadcasted to the residents on the West Coast.  The goal of the Western States Pact is to create a shared vision in how the economy of all three states may reopen while controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus as businesses get back to work. Today, Governor Brown held a press conference that, to some, held less information than one would desire.

To start, the restaurant ban on dine-in services that was set to expire within the next few days has been extended “indefinitely.” Citing the need to proceed with caution, the Governor then began to outline the five steps that will need to happen before Oregon is ready to reopen. They are:

  1. Oregon needs to slow the growth of the COVID-19 virus and  see a reduced amount of cases.
  2. Oregon needs to have enough personal protective equipment for the medical professionals.
  3. Every part of the state needs to have an increased capacity to test for the virus.
  4. A “robust” contact-tracing system to find out who may have been newly exposed to the virus must be developed.
  5.  An effective isolation and quarantine program for those who test positive for the virus must be put in place state-wide.

While all of these are sensible, there was much information left to be detailed out to the public, including what the state’s definition of reduced cases would be, how a contract-tracing system may be developed that does not push the bounds of personal privacy too far, and how these five steps integrate with the Western States Pact.

It is unclear how much will fully be disclosed, or when, but with an increased amount of briefings, hopefully more information will be coming to Oregon residents shortly.

Washington County Mask Drop-Off

Currently the use of face masks are not required when going out, though it has been heavily recommended in recent days. Many people across the state have taken to looking for patterns online in order to sew their own masks, or watch online tutorials on what may be used to create a no-sew mask. For myself, I was able to obtain a face mask from a member of my HOA who was graciously making masks and offering them up to people who live in our neighborhood. Yet what of the residents or health care workers in Washington County who don’t have access to either fabric, a sewing machine, or a friendly neighbor making them?

It was announced today that Sonrise Church, located off of Campus Way in Hillsboro, will be serving as Washington County’s mask distribution center.

For anyone looking to make and donate masks, you may drop them off Monday through Thursdays between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM in the Sonrise Lobby. Sonrise will then be able to give out the masks as requests come in. For any questions regarding mask donations, you can reach Sonrise at 503-640-2449.

 

Market (2)

March 2020 Market Action: Portland Metro

The Regional Multiple Listing System (RMLS) released the latest Market Action Report for the Portland Metro Area on April 9, 2020, but there are not too many surprises at this point in time.

While new listings decreased compared to last year by 1%, they were up over last month’s numbers, 3,504 vs February 2020’s 2,759, a 25.7% increase.

Where the mid-month quarantine began to affect the market, and where we may continue to see fluctuation in April’s numbers is when it comes to pending sales. March 2020 had a total of 2,347 pending sales, which ended up being not only a decrease from March 2019’s 2,738 (a decrease of 14.3%), but also a 9.7% decrease from the 2, 598 pending sales the Portland Metro Area saw in February 2020. Governor Brown’s shelter in place order threw a brief wrench in the market, first for lacking clarity in whether real estate was considered an essential business, and then during the scrambling realtors, lenders, and title companies experienced as they rushed to figure out what the new operation expectations would be when it came to showings, open houses, increased disclosures, lending, and how to provide a safe signing experience for Sellers and Buyers. March 2020 Market ActionWhile pending sales took a hit this March, closed sales increased over March 2019 by 7.9% and by 24.2% compared to those in February 2020. The amount of inventory available in March decreased compared to February going from 1.9 months to 1.8 months. What this means is that if every home on the market was to be gobbled up, it would take all of the current Buyers slightly under 2 months to do that. Considering 3 or 4 month’s worth is considered “healthy”, this indicates that there are either quite a bit of Buyers out there looking (which is normal around this time of year) or that more Sellers were pulling their homes off of the market as the quarantine orders were issued. Most likely it is a mixture of these two things. The average price of homes has not suffered despite the new normal, with the average price of homes up 4.1% at $461,600 compared to 2019’s $443,500 (looking at average year to date).

In March, homes were spending an average of 61 days on market, down from the 68 days in February and March 2019. So while inventory is lower, Buyer’s are still taking some time to make a decision when it comes to which home they would like to purchase. Keep in mind that a traditional escrow runs about 30 days in length, 45 days with the use of certain loans.

When comparing 2020 to where we were at during this time in 2019 it is notable that the amount of new listings has been steady, while both pending and closed sales have increased by 1.1% and 10.5% respectively. Things are looking good, but we have yet to see what April’s numbers will be. I think that once we see those we will have a better idea of what type of market we will be emerging into after the stay at home order is lifted. Despite this wait, people are still touring homes by appointment or virtual showing, listings are still being taken, and Buyers are still making offers. The housing market has not stood still, continuing to move forward despite some uncertainty.

What questions do you have about the current housing market in the Portland Metro Area?

 

 

Food 2 You

Hillsboro Launches Food 2 You Program

Grocery shopping for Hillsboro’s medically fragile and older citizens just got a little bit easier. On April 7, 2020 the City of Hillsboro launched it’s Food 2 You program, in partnership with St. Vincent De Paul and The Salvation Army of Hillsboro.

Mayor Steve Callaway noted, “People need to eat, and if there’s no way for people to get to the food, then we have to get the food to the people. How our community has traditionally provided food to those in need works for some, but during this COVID-19 public health crisis, it doesn’t work for everyone. We are bringing creative solutions to an unprecedented situation. We want people to stay home and stay healthy, to not risk their lives.”

City of Hillsboro employees are at the forefront of this project. From spreading the word, to taking orders on the phone, to delivering boxes of food, they are stepping up to help the City disperse food to those in need.

Contact information

The Food 2 You program is intended to serve Hillsboro residents that are medically fragile, or older individuals unable to leave their home due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Food recipients must live in the city of Hillsboro, but the only qualifications or questions they will be asked is their name, address, and phone number.

Orders for the Food 2 You program are taken over the phone every Tuesday and Wednesday, with deliveries taking place the day after the order is placed, on either Wednesday or Thursday. The phones are not active any other time. Orders or requests can be made by calling 503-681-5090.

The requested food, depending on availability, may be enough to last for several days for a smaller family. The food boxes will be left outside of the door in order to maintain social distancing. Due to some items being perishable, part of the requirement is that the recipient is at home to receive the box. Families are encouraged to share any items that may be leftover.

According to the City Council update video, there has been good response to the program since it launched a few days ago. How is your community helping those who need help accessing food and other items during this season?

Graduation

Standing with Oregon’s Class of 2020

Twenty years ago I was two months away from graduating high school. I had enough credits to where I had late arrival and early dismissal, was enrolled in advanced classes, was set to graduate with honors, and had quit my fast food job the summer before senior year so I could take part in everything there was that I hadn’t before my time was done. And take part I did. I spent my senior year as a captain on our high school’s colorguard team, was a part of key club and national honor society, sang in the concert choir, and had passed up my last year of lacrosse to try my hand at acting in our school’s one act plays and spring musical, something I had not participated in yet. I had amazing friends, fun teachers, and truly enjoyed all of those moments that make senior year special: Senior Projects, Prom, Graduation, and Grad Night.

Class of 2000

 

On April 8, 2020 Governor Kate Brown announced that due to the Corona virus Oregon students would not be physically returning to their classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I would be lying if I said that this move was unexpected, in fact, I believe many Oregon residents had a feeling that it was coming. Yet it did not stem the outrage that some have felt in what they consider to be a poor move on the Governor’s part. Myself? While it is not the preferred outcome, I understand it. Even if by the end of April cases were to slow down, there is still a risk of resurgence. With many of our schools overcrowded, it does not make sense to risk the health of students and their families, even if we were looking forward to watching our kids finish out their year.

Personally, I am a mom to an 8th grader and a 7th grader. I admit, I was looking forward to watching him walk at his 8th grade promotion, to have that moment where the finality of middle school sets in and the unknown of high school feels that much closer. Instead, he just completed his forecasting for his Freshman year online, and is working to adjust to the new distance learning program that is being put in place. My boys have laptops to work on, and the students who do not have had the opportunity over the last week to pick up chromebooks issued by the schools. Teachers are getting students connected to their Google classrooms and Google meets for daily calls. Beginning next week, assignments and grading will resume, though in a different format than anticipated.

While I am sad for my 8th grader, I can admit that it is nothing like what the parents of the Class of 2020 as well as the students themselves must be feeling. I have seen posts with seniors posing in their caps and gowns, parents questioning if perhaps the walk may be postponed, and people noting that this cut off is a strange transition into college. What must be going through the minds of the seniors who haven’t received their college acceptance letters yet?Glencoe

I  wanted to take this moment to stand in solidarity with the class of 2020. To mourn with them the activities and celebrations that they have earned through their hard work over the years that they no longer get to experience. To worry with them about the uncertainty of what to expect in the summer or fall. I want to stand with the parents who were ordering invites to gather family and friends together to celebrate their child’s achievements, but instead find themselves looking around for what happens next.

I believe that there are still good things ahead for the Class of 2020, that there are still ways to make this time and this year fulfilling and meaningful. It just may not look like originally anticipated.  How will you make this season special for your senior, 8th grader, or 6th grader this Spring?