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Print Page - Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics

I.V. Community Forum

Community Topics => Community Awareness Issues => Topic started by: Kokopelli on October 05, 2007, 10:15:20 AM

Title: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on October 05, 2007, 10:15:20 AM
I'm a local RE Broker. I have been in the business here in the valley for over 20 years.

If any one has any issues that they want information on, leave me a message and I will see if I can answer them for you. No personal or company related discussions please. I have access to lots of information and lots of knowledge, so ask away. General questions though because the law says that if I get into substantive discussions of price or ability to purchase or reasons to sell, there are disclosures that need to be made. Then our discussion would need to be more formal and personal.

Sales have been slowing down in the valley for a few years now. Mid 2005 was the peak and it has been a gradual decline since then. The biggest decline in sales has been within the city limits, the sale of vacant lots have virtually stopped. Sales of unimproved parcels outside the city have also been extremely slow. The least affected has been moderately priced residential properties out of the city but even those are slow and inventories are rising.

Inventories of all properties have been rising for well over a year now. So are foreclosures, which are and have been slow to reach the market. But this will change and that will add to our rising inventories and price declines unless for some miracle the buying activity picked up dramatically.

I think this trend will continue and will accelerate for the foreseeable future.

Below I discuss the reasons for the trend reversal from when prices were still rising in 2005 and why I believe the downward price trend will continue. 

For over 50 years there was a rather stable home ownership rate in this country, about 64%. Starting in about 1995 there was a conscious effort by the government to increase this percentage. Let's just say they succeeded. Now over 70% of households own real property. That is more than a 9% increase over what was a 50 year trend.

At first it was programs to assist. But after 911 there was a concerted effort to increase the economic activity in the US so at first interest rates went down. When the effect of that started slowing down the government allowed the banks to lower the qualifications for loans. All of this was possible due to financial engineering. Another discussion if anyone would like it. Any at the peak I would say that if you could walk and chew gum, you could get a loan. 

Well to shorten this, the practice of lending to people with poor credit or no credit, lots of money on interest only or teaser rate loans has already started to collapse. Add to this that the push for more home ownership also caused a shortage in housing inventories so the builders went to work. These projects do not happen over night so many of them are still going on well after the need has collapsed. Thus the rising delinquencies, increasing inventories and slowing sales are depressing current prices.

The depressed sales are affecting the refinancing of all the creative loans used to bring in that additional 9% of buyers too, which under more normal circumstances would not have been owners. 

There is a current push to refinance many of these toxic loans due to these option ARM and interest only ARM and other ARM loans having an initial period of low low payments. Why is another story. But this resetting is causing a flurry of activity. Not only to refinance but to sell and get out from under a loan they can’t afford.

To much inventory and to few buyers means that as the home values decline. The amount of money a lender can lend also declines. Then because of increasing losses from a variety of these toxic loans going bad, this has caused lenders to tighten standards for lending just at a bad time for all those people who need to refinance. They are now being asked in many cases for a down payment on a house that is worth less than they originally paid. So they can’t get a new loan and they can’t meet the payments of the old loan and in mass they are defaulting and in mass going into foreclosure.  Many can’t even sell because they owe much more than the house could be sold for today.

This of course causes lender to tighten the standards even tighter. This is the opposite of the looser and looser standards that came into effect starting in late 2001 and ending in 2006 which ended up with the high prices we see on homes today. This is the opposite of 10% to 25% or more per year increases in home prices (appreciation?). This will be the 10% or more per year decrease in home values. Could be worse. I don’t know. My crystal ball got dropped a while back and is just fuzzy haze now.

The resetting of the creative option ARM and other toxic loans has really just begun. This process goes on for another year and then after a break of a year starts again for another 18 months or so. This puts more than just additional downward pressure on real estate sales and values. As the “Buy now before prices go up” becomes “the longer I wait the cheaper the house will be” scenario.

So the issues affecting the current real estate market are large and growing inventories along with slowing sales.   Any slack there was in people who wanted to be home owners is gone. Losses on loans are causing lenders to tighten standards and that will only get worse. All of which causes further rising inventories and prices to go lower. 

Theoretically this will continue until a balance is achieved between sales and inventory and lending. This balance has to be where a willing buyer under normal circumstances can purchase a home using the income they have. All these hokus pokus flim flam toxic mortgages will have to be worked thru as will the excesses in inventories will have to be used up with increased population. We may even go back to a minimum of 20% down again. I don’t really know what the outcome will be, just that there are consequences for greed and stupidity and we have just started to deal with them.

My best guess is another 3 years but that is just a guess. What happens locally could be different. It could be longer or shorter. Even if people wanted to move here, they have to sell where they are and then either have enough left to buy here or have enough income to get a loan. I have no guess what any of that will be like going forward. Lending could get back to local money only or much tighter standards or it could loosen up again. I do know that since late 2005 real estate sales have been declining in the valley, inventories of unsold homes have been rising and prices have started to decline.

There are some big demographics in play too with the soon to be retiring Boomers. There are also issues like the HUGE unfounded federal deficits and how that affects incomes and lending. What happens when the Boomers stop paying into the SS Trust Fund and start asking for their payments.  All are interesting topics if anyone is interested.

Kopopelli, the flute playing hunch backed trickster

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: billy-bob on November 20, 2007, 04:54:23 PM
One thing that I have been wondering about is; who can afford to buy/and or rent all of the houses being built around here?  Is there a secret that the developers know that I don't? I once owned too but paid over half my income for payment and the lender thought it was a well and proper thing to do.  I wonder whose wisdom that was?  Sure, I was foolish to do it, but they said ",Come on you cam do it; live the American Dream."  Well'once burned; twice shy."

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on November 24, 2007, 04:42:44 PM
Good question!

Affordability is really dependent upon a lot of factors. One of course is income vs. the cost of owning and another is the cost of the money you need to borrow to own. There are other factors like how much of your income the lender thinks can be spent on servicing the debts you have. 

For years there were few new homes built in our valley because the cost of land, development costs, material and labor and the cost of the money made the cost of the finished home way to expensive for the average incomes that could be earned. Then came along engineered financing and deregulation of standards like no down payment but also income to debt ratios were allowed to raise from around 30% of gross income to around 50% of gross incomes and all of a sudden families were able to borrow a lot more money than before.

In a short period of time there was then a shortage of houses because  many families who previously couldn't qualify for a loan now could. Builders got busy and started projects to fill the need. And the first houses sold so they made more and more. Now we have to many.

Today we have run the course on loans. Many of those who were allowed to borrow were not only allowed to borrow more than was prudent but many were lent money with adjustable rate loans which after a few years adjust up. There were many versions of loans where some only paid interest for the first couple of years and others who didn't even pay the interest.. Many of these borrowers are no longer able to make their payments and are defaulting so the lenders have stopped allowing the more risky kinds of loans slowing down sales. 

As to who the newest homes were being built for, well it wasn't for people who already live and work in the valley as we generally don't make enough to afford to borrow $250K or more. Especially if you have to have a down payment and pay the entire costs of a fully amortized loan. 

I have had many conversations with the builders and they all believed that the houses would be bought by Boomers retiring. They cite the new medical facility and the 18 hole golf course that is they think is going in and the new shopping center and .... They thought that the Boomers would be selling in California for half a million plus and then come here and buy a house for half that much or more and live off the remainder. 

I don't know where they got these ideas but it wasn't from me.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 17, 2008, 11:43:19 AM
I am buying a home in Cave Junction as I write these lines. The choice of Cave Junction was based on the small size of the town, healthy environment, long distance from any major cities, good climate and slow pace of the community. I am actually pleased to see that there is no economic boom in the area. From my experience it always means degradation of the environment, pollution, crime and high cost. I do not understand why most people desire growth.  I realize that the real estate business does best when there is a demand for property, but it is not without cost and detriment to other qualities of life. I do not wish to see lot of retirees from wherever buying up properties in CJ. If they need golf courses they can move to Florida. Florida is oversaturated with golf courses and it is pitiful. Save CJ as it is, do not desire any more growth, because with time it only brings misery. Sustainability means quality.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 17, 2008, 02:37:11 PM

Change is the only constant. Things change. You can either plan for change or change happens to you. The most recent changes with the new housing and the big project on the north end of town happened to us. It was not a plan by the local people. But then there was no plan by the locals, so outsiders came in with their plans. And that was to use our infrastructure to make a lot of money for themselves at the expense of our quality of life. Don't blame this on the local Realtors.

If you have no growth and an incredibly poor economic base, how do people support themselves? If you do not want growth then the change is towards a lower standard of living. At one time in the past the City of Cave Junction had some police and the county had a library and a functioning swimming pool. Not now!

No such thing as having your cake and eating it too.

You must have outside income, you are lucky or you are lucky to have a job that pays enough to fund buying a home. The average family living here is barely surviving. Median Household Income: $21,539 (2000 census) Not much improved as far as I can tell either.

I know what you mean about growth and retirees. But now that all these lots are developed and there is no work for families, who do you think will fill up these lots and empty houses? You must be a member of the Ostrich Society if you think there is much choice at this point without some positive changes that I don't know about. Most of the retirees will be of low incomes not high incomes with out something being done for them in services, entertainment opportunities and security. 

Who knows about the expanded golf course. I still haven't figured out where they are going to get enough water to keep the greens green. If they buy it from the city, the fees will be to high for most locals to use it. So I have no idea if that will end up as an attraction or a distraction.

But I can't imagine any wealthy family wanting to live here with no law enforcement. Call 911 and get told that there is no one available till next week to even look into their complaint wouldn't go over with most. If the Realtors don't tell them about this drawback then they aren't living up to their fiduciary responsibility to their clients.

This area is easily exploited because of the low paying jobs and the high cost of living.  Get your head out of the sand hole!  It is a beautiful place to live on one hand and a terrible place to live on the other. Not good if you have to much and extremely difficult if you have to little. 

Good luck and welcome aboard!

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 23, 2008, 09:36:00 AM
There is no zoning and land use plan in place? Most counties can limit undesirable development by zoning restrictions, like lot sizes, etc.

As far as the change argument, it is only a philosophical argument. Naturally everything changes, the problem is when it changes for the worst. This usually the case when there is no plan in place, then exploitation is allowed. That often happens when there is no local functional government or when the local politicians are in pockets of wealthy developers and investors, when people are intimidated by police and political corruption, and when people have limited access to their elected government. Politicians in pockets of developers do not listen to ordinary people. Is it not obvious from all the recent bad news? I also do not see a reason for a strong police force. They often harass law abiding citizens for traffic violations and concentrate on areas where to extract easy fines and tickets, often avoiding the real problems like corruption, drugs, violent crime. If there was a community awareness that every citizen owns a gun, potential thieves would think twice before breaking into someones home. Even a pepper spray will prevent rape.

As far as the economic situation: Does every community have to wait for some investor to build them a Walmart? Where is the American spirit of entrepreneurship? Small businesses are superior in community value to any large corporations. They build character, responsibility, they have a human face and they leave the money circulating locally vs. corporations who are without face, anonymous, sucking only local resources for someone making outrages profits, dividends and bonuses.

And yes, if you cannot govern yourself, somebody will be happy to govern you, like the outsiders that you complain about.


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 23, 2008, 12:35:16 PM

Nice hearing back from you.

I didn't say there wasn't any zoning. That was mandated by the state. The north end project isn't even in the city, it is in the county.  It is in the city UGB. The zoning was/is county zoning, not city. There certainly was no development plan by the city that I am aware of. If there had been, then any development would have had to follow that plan. There is little real planning in the city much less the UGB. The UGB is under the county control until brought into the city which makes planning difficult anyway.

There was a basic plan submitted to the city council some years ago by the City's own committee to update the Comprehensive Plan that included that area and delivery of water and sewer to Kerby but it was rejected. My belief was that it was just to much for them to think about. Planning requires lots of thought and maybe even some studies and what unpaid city council member wants to spend their time planning.  So the development waited until someone from outside the area took an interest. Because the city didn't have a plan, their only option was to accept the developer's plan. There wasn't even an option at that point to reject it.

Of course the city does not have the brightest people who volunteer for public office. First they allowed the Limited Improvement District to go forward with out knowing the rules. Which was stopped by the Versteeg family. Now the latest is the city is being denied a $442,000 Community Block Grant..  "THE OECDD IS WITHDRAWING A $441,666 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT GIVEN TO THE CITY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE EXTENSIONS TO THE SISKIYOU COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINIC.





I have no idea what this will do to the city or Siskiyou Community Health Center. Neither of them have the money to pay for the infrastructure. And the road is already done. Can't go back now.

As for law enforcement. IF you had a strong city council, you could control a small police force to make them do what was right rather than act like pigs. I have been in towns where the police were friendly and courteous and in towns when I was young where they weren't. I understand your concerns.  They don't have to be what you experienced or fear. It is better to have competent police than vigilante rule or wild wild west shoot outs. I would prefer not to carry a gun or be fearful.

The change argument may be philosophical for you but I believe that you either plan for change or change happens to you. It is like the decision about going to school to learn to have a career of your choice. You either plan and get what you want OR don't plan for your future and hope you are lucky.  Or for retirement, you either plan to have enough income or you just hope.  You either plan for change or it live with the consequences.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 24, 2008, 03:54:27 AM
Now I tend to agree with you more than before. Looks like there is a strong need for functional government in CJ to protect the community from political cronies outside the area. The first think to curb unchecked development or development without local influence is to establish a subdivision ordinance for the area. If retired people are moving into CJ, they could provide a volunteer force of resource to run the daily business. Many can have good experience from previous jobs. If some of the locals are not too bright, they can be educated and everybody should get involved in the local discussion forums. The more views are confronted the better and more solid decision can be made. Yes planning is essential and that should be the first goal for the CJ governing body. The community just needs to make sure it is based on everybody's input and not hijacked by wealthy profiteers. A strong LOCAL government will deter outside speculations!

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 24, 2008, 06:44:56 AM
All I can say is good luck.

Even the Chamber has difficulty attracting competent willing volunteers and there have been many competing organizations over the years. Every one thinks that everyone else is not doing the right thing. The current one is the IV Merchants Association. But there have been many. The Hwy 199 Committee., IV Economic Development Committee, the 2010 Committee and others. Volunteers get burnt out. And get trashed by their fellow citizens as consensus is extremely difficult anywhere. Every one has their own ideas and often defends them vigorously.  I think it is a lot of the biggest fish in a little pond syndrome.  It is also, survival of the fittest.  When all are struggling to survive giving ground to a competitor is a difficult concept, even if it benefits all parties in the end.

Few people with means or education want to live in a small town such as Cave Junction. If they want to live in a town, it has to have something to do. Some reason to attract them. CJ can't even keep its park in good order or the swimming pool. When given the chance some years ago, they rejected the idea of preserving the paths thru what is now developed as bike and walking trails. They didn’t want the trouble of fighting with private property rights for the benefit of the city. Most people with means that want to live in the valley want to live outside of town where they can afford to have a garden and some animals and have some privacy and park what ever they want for as long as they want.  What is the incentive to live in town? High water and sewer bills and higher taxes for no service!

When you look at the demographics of CJ there are a lot of renters and the next largest group is low income.  Many houses are government subsidized and even the retirees are mostly of low incomes. Very few really nice houses in the city because it just doesn't attract those kinds of people.

Those of us that live outside the city have no say. In New England they have a concept of townships where the town is just a part of the area. That way people of the area are a part of the town and every one pays some tax towards it and everyone in the township gets a vote. That way the town represents the area, not just those living inside the city limits. That concept would be great for our valley but is not legal under the Oregon Constitution.

I don't know what the answers are but so far I have not heard of any practical solution to what you write about.  Without the outside developers, you get nothing. With them, you get what they want to provide us.  I just can't imagine that you can get a city made up of low income folks to get up off their butts and work hard to change the city for the better. If they had been ambitious they probably wouldn't be in such poverty.  I know it is possible as I came here with virtually nothing and now own my own home outright and have other assets. It takes hard work and strict management of the dollars and I see few others willing to do that.

I hope you succeed where other have failed.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: lookinglass on January 25, 2008, 06:24:25 AM
WOW- I just spent an hour replying to this chain and as I a was proof reading,I hit a button and it all disapeared. :angry:
Basically what I was saying was that preserving the small town feel of a town can be its biggest selling point. I have been thinking about the fate of CJ for quite a while(see my post from last August-town vision) I am now aware of how hard it is to work within the current political restraints concerning voting districts("out of the district folks") and voter apathy("in district voters with little political interest) This is a situation ripe for corporate bulldozzing. Many developers would see the whole town as a potential gas station-quickie mart for the rich passing through with a built in minimum wage work force. CJ has the potential to be the kind of place where folks linger and live the good life.  There is a growing trend in among Americans who want to have an urban lifestyle. They want to work, shop, and eat within walking/biking/public transporting distance from their home. They are wiling to do this in order to control urban sprawl. Protecting the green spaces is becoming increasingly popular. And, not every one wants to live 10,20+ miles from the nearest store. With a little foresight and urban planning, Cj could be this American dream. Urban dwellers want to have access to safe sidewalks, post offices, cafes, drug stores, markets, trees, flowers, public art, restaurants, book shops, farm/garden and animal supply stores coffee houses and FREE wireless internet!! I propose: slowing down the traffic on 199 in town, improving sidewalks, installing planters, encouraging shop owners to plant flowers, new paint and signage on stores and public areas, public art and murals, reopening a Hammers type of cafe/store, outdoor seating, reasonable pricing on purchased good, improving safety, bringing in cell towers for improved wireless communications, free wireless in town; to name a few urban improvements that would encourage compassionate voters that care to move to town!  When I lived there, I lived in the city and in the woods. I remember loving the fact that everthing was in walking distance. On days when i would come to town from Takilma picking friends up on the way, it was like an urban adventure and we would all carpool in and make the day of it catching up with friends and buying our supplies. It is hard for me to make the above long distance suggestions because I havn't lived in CJ since the early 90's when the downtown seemed to have a vibe(b4 Hammers closed?!?) Infact, i once lived above the book store in the building next door and I loved living in the humm of town and the escape to the woods just down the road!  Both lifestyles have merits and both depend an a centralized and vital downtown arena. What I can talk about long distance are  the kinds of things that have been working in other towns all across America. I have lived in and around AnnArbor Mi (near Detroit) and currently live in southeaster PA. Urban living and the granola-eco friendly lifestyle really go hand in hand in these places! And these people are working from home using their laptops to reach the global work place.  They also start small local buisinesses and stimulate the economy in small town friendly ways. These are the folks you want to lure to Cave Junction. This is my 2cents!!!

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 25, 2008, 07:56:53 AM
All I can say is that I hope you are successful where others have failed.

You should run for mayor to start with or at least council. You have to use the system to change it.

I agree with what you say but not sure how that can happen in CJ. If you attract business for the jobs for these urbanites, you have to deal with their demands. Besides there really is no land available where you can put a bunch of people to work. We had Fire Mountain Gems who wanted to expand here and no one with the land would sell or sell at a reasonable price so they went to GP.

When you look at business development models you will discover that it takes a lot to attract business and in most cases, businesses grow where it is profitable and there is the least resistance. At this point our city or valley has little to offer the kinds of businesses you would like to see here. It is the old chicken and the egg problem. You can't provide the amenities to attract the people and or business without money and you can't get the money until you've attracted the business.

We had our chance with the Federal Enterprise Designation and the money that came with it but the locals were totally ineffective, except for the paid staff of the social service organizations who were quite use to government grants. So we got a wonderful Family Coalition complex and a few studies and the beginnings of this and that like the Wayside, Forks Park Plan  and the Howell Memorial Drive and a wasted IMHO effort at the airport when we could have moved a long way towards what you envision. Part of what you want is/was in the plan too. It was the city and the county that kept those parts from fruition IMO. Ignorance and a stead fast vision of the past and no willingness to work towards a quality future.

My grandmother use to say that poor people have poor ways. I think that is very appropriate. People who have no vision for themselves end up going no where.

So luck to you and our valley and city and I wish you well in your endeavors.

I hope you have the time and skills to make a lot of friends as moving people forward takes cooperation as much as it takes a skillful leader. Become a member of every organization and get to know everyone before you try and implement a plan. Get people to like you and want to help you before you try and get them to change.

Don't let them get you down if you can.  The valley needs people like you.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 25, 2008, 11:04:28 AM
check this common sense economics...

One question: How do you keep a small town charm from becoming a big town missery, while you attract business, tourism and investment?

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: thruthelookinglass on January 26, 2008, 06:04:04 AM
I am having some technical difficulty with my profile. I attempted to update my email and for some reason the site will not let me log in to re activate my original one  because it wont recognize my new address and it will not send m a new activation code. Bummer! In the meantime. . . I have started a new profile with a similar name but I will keep trying to reopen my previous one.

If I were in Cj  I would do exactly what you said. Get to know the business people and the town folks and work my plans through the inside. Etc.etc. However, I live in Pennsylvania. I used to live in CJ and still have family there and like to keep up to date on the happinins'. I also care about the place and have very good memories of my time spent there. I would like come back one day but for now i am locked into my world here. By the way, Here is a very cool place. And, small towns do quite well and dont seem to have major issues with losing charm and attracting misery. Alot of the people who live in these towns actually do ,work in bigger near by cities. Many are self employed or run small "laptop" business. Ebay, mail order, writers, editors, "laptop commuters" Some are artist,musicians or antique dealers. Agritainmentfarmers, organic farmers, farm marketers, coffee shop owners as well owners of restaurants,art galleries, book/gift stores. Touresty places. Charming places. They are places that draw paying customers in from other towns. Like a playhouse run by a the actor Jeff Daniels in Chelsea Mich(he grew up there), a wonderful restaurants and an up scale pub to eat in before catching the show. An art gallery to peruse as you stroll from one to the other. What I am saying is ... draw on the things unique to your town and build tourism up around that. Offer lots of variety of things to do. Good places to stay the night, good places to eat in and good places to shop for souvenirs. People will want to live in a town like this. t
They will need wireless internet. CJ is so small that a few shops downtown offering this could cover most of the town. Internet cafes could draw in those woods dwellers! There are alot of people who want to live there because it has a "hippy" vibe. Draw on that. Give up the fight between the tree huggers and the tree loggers. That was that was last years argument. Join together and save the town! Oh, and tourist and young families and urbanites like trees (and clean water)! So keep them! 
Most off these towns also have a strong merchants asscoc. who get together and plan ways to strengthen and support each other. They plan events  like street parties and extended hours on say one friday a month. Even set up an out door band or two to set the mood.  Look Cj has some big draws. The caves, the Out and About Treesort, the vinyards the rivers, the trees and rivers, the artist and musicians, the laid back lifestyle. The society from creative acranisms used to come to the forks. Plenty of park space for events. The two blocks of large sidewalks across from the old Select mart(now the bank?) and the parking lot  are great places to host a outdoor summer event once a month.( the bank could and should help pay for this!) Slow down the traffic on 199 and add some public planters and art and music( and not to much booze...maybe lean to micro brew and wine tasting Is the pizza brew pub on the north end still in business?)  ... It gives the people something to do and be proud of. It unites. And when its advertised well it gives surrounding cities an opportunity to come down for a look see.
Granted this is a pretty crappy economy for such changes and towns like Ashland are better at this summer street party sort of thing. But, there are alot of people in the woods of the Illionios River Valley and they all need to come to somebodies town to shop and hang out. I see them begging for another store to shop at in this web site. Cj will have to offer tax incentives to lure business. Philly is offering the film industry in Hollywood huge tax breaks to set up here. It will bring tons of jobs and money to the area. Philly can offer urban glam and urban ghetto, countryfarmlands , water, hills, flat lands, historic settings,etc as backdrops. Philly is building on one of its strengths. Philly is set to become the Hollywood of the east coast. I know this because I read about it. We have a lot of publications-again small business- that circulate the local news and make money  advertising places to eat and shop,, calender of events, things to do etc. Small things like this help to bring the sense of town charm and pride and unity and  growth .
There isnt big town misery because the town planning commission requires the new businesses to "play by the rules " set up by the town for the good of the town.i.e.maintaining the small town charm and keeping the town centralized so that it stays a thriving small town. A place where you can park and walk to all of your errands.  Or park and partake in many shops on your way to a dinner and a show -a night out!   Meet up with friends, etc.
I know of a  small (growing!) town that threatened to out grow its downtown post office and library. Plans were made to rebuild outside of downtown by 10 miles. The people said NO WAY. They did what it took to rebuild a bigger library in town and are building a mail handling PO outside of town while keeping the original office in town. They did this because the young families that were moving to the town came there because it is q real Small Town American Dream to live there. Its its own selling point. The old timers welcomed the big business because they saw it as a sign of success after being a "sleepy" town for so long. The new families saw it as what they wanted to get away from. The compromise...All big box stores are built ast the far end of the town, out by the highway, and the downtown keeps its charm and continues to draw folks in for its charm. Incidentally, this town has a major road running through it as does Cj.
California is coming north. Slow economies pick back up. The question is, what will they make of Cave Junction when they get there? Or, will Cave Junction have already laid down the plans to make something of its self?
Since you live there, why dont You run for office?

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 28, 2008, 01:02:36 PM
This is just my opinion and I do not expect that people would buy into it, but I disagree with inviting any big business (or rich investors) into town. When they invest, they need to keep their investment under their control - naturally, and they will use their money to buy them first place in the decision making process. So instead of having a whole community equally sharing the government, one entity will start dominating the stage.

If you have Netflix or anything similar, order a documentary DVDs:

1. The Corporation
2. The Future of Food

that should give you a new perspective on big business and who is its victims...

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 28, 2008, 04:34:44 PM

I tend to agree with you about big business.  When you look at the statistics, few businesses relocate anyway. You have to give them big incentives to attract them and then they own you instead of you having any control.

It is best to home grow your business anyway. That was why the community did all those studies thru the end of the last decade and into the beginning of this one. Unfortunately it was a huge waste of time because all the cards are stacked against us. The resistance is set up by both the county and the state.  It is to bad that our county has worked so hard to keep us from being anything other than poor. It is really the city of GP that controls the county and they want all the jobs and control. They can do that by keeping the IV as a poor step child.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: lookinglass on January 29, 2008, 03:12:39 AM
I hope that many of the citizens share your thoughts about bringing in the big guys. I am not advocating it myself. I am just saying that they will come, and it sounds like some developers have come, and when that happens it would be important to have some clear guidlines in place for them to follow so that they dont own the town.
The nice thing about being a poor step child is that someday you can grow up and move out-move beyond the family limitations.

I was looking at the pictures  of the town posted on the cj web site. It really is a beautiful spot on the planet with some great "bones" and resources. In the pictures of the town parades it seems as though there is a lot of life flowing! And their are some good base business-hopefully all still thriving. Is uncle Bills dinner still for sale? I hope someone reopens it! I loved the bisquits and gravey! Got me through 2 pregnancies during the winter!

I am quite aware of the problems with big business that is discused in the corporation and the future of food. Both are great docs and well viewed among the good folks of AnnArbor Mi where I recently lived. They take quality of life very seriously and have firm standards set around new growth in their town. They have a town vision.

What do you envision Cave Junction to be in 6mo 1yr 5yr 20 yr etc?

I would hope for very little "change" but some minor tweaking of whats already there. And maybe an improved attitude of hopefullness and joy among the " doom and gloom" attitude that so many have. When you live in paradise, you might have to open your eyes to see it.


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 29, 2008, 12:29:17 PM

few questions,
what is UGB?
Does the city have general plan for future land use/development (a study sort of)?
Is there a city manager or who is running the city? council?
Any economic development plan?

I am all for local business, local development, local decision making process. For stimulating self dependency in services or resources and for controlling this locally. No outsiders feel the same attachment and responsibility for these things as the local people that depend on it. Dependence on distant governments breeds welfare dependency, irresponsibility, cynicism and lack of enthusiasm.

Big business bullies local communities, local small business serves them!


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 29, 2008, 12:56:36 PM
Looking glass,

What do you envision Cave Junction to be in 6mo 1yr 5yr 20 yr etc?

... that the people in the CJ area will have dependable solid and firm local government and that they will be in charge of their own community, and that they will set rules for anybody who wants to live there or do business there or invest any capital there! that I would envision for the next 6mo, 1yr, 5yr, 20 yr, and further into the future.

... they will not allow anybody to exploit them, that they will protect their rights, justice and democracy by ANY means available, while living under the Constitution as it was meant by the founding fathers. This sounds like a cliche, but it really comes down to this. To me that is the foundation for anything else that makes us all happy.

I believe, that if people become self reliant, they also become more happy and more energetic and feel like they have control and powers of their lives. It provides hope for the future and a meaning for the presence. And I do not mean going back to any primitive society. I mean do not wait for someone else to tell you what to do. Become inventive, explore, read, educate yourself, change your attitudes.

Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 29, 2008, 05:34:24 PM
UGB = Urban Growth Boundry

The city has a comprehensive plan that includes the city limits and the UGB.

Go to city hall and ask for a copy. It is unimpressive IMO.

No city manager, only a recorder who knows more than anyone on the council or the mayor and has a lot of influence.

Not enough money in the city for a manager.
Now with big FUs there will probably be less money.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 30, 2008, 11:31:34 AM
This is what I see as basic strategy for the future of any community:

Growing evidence suggests that the global economy, rooted in ideas and assumptions that were progressive two hundred years ago, is now destroying its own ecological base and offering little to billions of impoverished people. In response, pioneers are creating the architecture of sustainable economies, one innovation at a time. State of the World 2008 describes these innovations—from microfinance to closed-loop manufacturing and the use of trusts to protect common resources—as well as identifying the obstacles that prevent a critical mass of people and organizations from moving toward sustainability, and rallying coalitions of stakeholders that can produce win-win solutions and strategies for achieving specific sustainability goals.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 30, 2008, 02:22:40 PM

I personally believe that any rapid change of directions in this area will take a major shake up of the underlying economics before enough people are willing to look towards alternatives. This will have to be serious enough to affect the social and political order to have any affect what so ever. I don't know if this will be enough for them to be progressive innovators of change or rather to hunker down and defend indefensible positions. My guess after living here for a long time is that it will be the hunkering down.

Rural people are generally fiercely independent and that makes them highly self sufficient and innovative. This also makes them untrusting of government and most organizations.

You may be right about the global economy but it has been sold to the American public. Unfortunately, people defend what they own, whether it is an object or an idea. Americans really bought into the idea of spreading democracy, even though what we had was a republic, not what we are selling to the world. Then when foreign interests elect a person we don't like, we don't blame the problems on democracy, Iran has an elected leader, so does Venezuela. Yet at the same time we partner up with dictators who support our military adventurism.

We allowed our banks and corporations to fund the expansion of industry in China, which is a Communist country. Didn't we just hate communism? We did this with no regards to our lost jobs/industry or the environmental degradation that our new relationship has caused. Somehow this is right or was right because it made the upper class wealthier.  Loads of inconsistencies in our thinking but most Americans defend it or ignore it.

Unfortunately the local stake holders are mostly unconscious. Yet they own or control the assets and vehicles of rebirth. Good luck forming coalitions of stakeholders here.

Change starts on the margins and grows inward. Change yourself and your ways to be a guiding light to others and interact with them in a positive way and hopefully some will follow and the change might spread. Otherwise it is just a clash of ideology. You can't come to a small town and rural area and tell people what to do or think. It just doesn't work that way.  They will fight you even if you are right and they are wrong.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: lookinglass on January 31, 2008, 04:04:09 AM
Hi Guys,

I love that last paragraph on the thread! So true. There is a saying, " the best teachers dont teach, they they ask good questions". ...something like this.  I think the idea is to provide nurturing ground for good thoughts, ideas and actions to grow and happen. My brother in law believes in a similar theory were you apply actions that set people up for successes.

Any one is talking about forcing any changes here. The changes need to come about organically to be truely "of the people", and something they will embrace and can live with.

If a town government sets up the standards, they run the risk of the rural folks and innovators distrusting them! The trick might be to give them changes that they cant argue with. I.E. Who wouldnt want spruced up store fronts? Some public art? Slower traffic on main st, More flowers and trees in town, another grocery store, and a wireless internet cafe or two?

The city council and merchants society should know as much as the city recorder. Are these records and decisions ever made easily available to the town people. In some towns the council meetings are broadcast on local tv. Usually very boring and problably not possible in cj. Still, available to the public. Another way... I own property up north mich in a large co-op community and our board meetings as well as all upcoming elections, and their associated debates, are published in the community news that is mailed out to every land owner by-monthly. Even though I am so far away I always feel like i know what is going on and feel like i am part of it. I also feel like I could get involved at any time if i wanted to because I know what is happening. Not an us/them vibe at all. What i am saying is that if the people of a community can be part of these conversations then it is easier for the dialogs to open, the ideas to flow, the people to talk about what they want and dont want, and then for them to take ownership of the changes or lack of them if that what is decided.

 Do the cj citizens retain a vote for things like business tax breaks for facade improvements to local store fronts?  Is there a youth group that could sponsor a mural? Is there a store that would be willing to set up a wireless router for personal laptops and maybe a computer or two for the public to use? Is there a garden society or church group etc that would be willing to fill some city planters and water them? How about a donated planter drive? Our town recently had a contest were planters were built as a donation and various groups or people decorated them and then they were auctioned off. Many business bought them to put out front and it showed town support. Some folks bought them and donated them to parks. Some are proudly displayed in private yards...
Is there any interest in a spring clean up day?

Is there even a local city news paper?

Ideas worth repeating:

...pioneers are creating the architecture of sustainable economies, one innovation at a time. State of the World 2008 describes these innovations—from microfinance to closed-loop manufacturing and the use of trusts to protect common resources—as well as identifying the obstacles that prevent a critical mass of people and organizations from moving toward sustainability, and rallying coalitions of stakeholders that can produce win-win solutions and strategies for achieving specific sustainability goals.-sharloch

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 31, 2008, 04:37:07 AM
Well described! I have no doubts that what you say is the norm for the average American value system. I also believe that you can educate people by engaging them into idea exchange with well informed individuals. You seem to be one, but I sense your little disappointment with the community in CJ.

"Rural people are generally fiercely independent and that makes them highly self sufficient and innovative. This also makes them untrusted of government and most organizations."

This is actually very positive trade and a real hope. This is what is Washington afraid of (and maybe even the Josephine County government), because they wish to control people, herd them and exploit them in the long run through centralized government. And they can do it to any group of people that do not organize and speak with one voice. My wish would be to see that people are willing to organize themselves to stand up to outside interests that would run against the well being of the local people, which I feel is often the case. I also believe that without people organizing themselves, they stand a little chance as individuals to resist the outside undesirable influence. This is where the education has to start. And the only legal form of organization that has legal jurisdiction is through a representative governmet. Any other type of organization falls often victim to smear and propaganda. It is much harder to invalidate legitimate government.
What I see as a very difficult task is to break through the common habit of going with the flow and acting like a sheep (the sheeple) and not exercising ones own judgement and independent thought. Typical example is the current presidential election campaign, when most vote for somebody who is the most electable instead of who has real answers for real problems. Even though the election of 2000 was stolen, many people voted for Bush because they thought that he is the guy that they can have beer with. They did not bother to learn about his connections to the most wealthy people in this country, they did not bother to learn that he was a failure during his college years, and that he never cared about ordinary people. His record was terrible even before the 2000 election. And from the same point of view, Clinton was pretty slimy too. A typical corporate democrat that did little for common people but a lot for big business. It is amazing that the good candidates get ousted first and than we chose from the lesser evil. I contribute this to the fact that we are often conveniently lazy and unless we feel immediately threatened, we tend to postpone it for "manana". Manana is then too late to fix it.

Something else to consider that is coming:
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming." The peacemaking value of this scientific finding, according to the committee, is that human-induced changes in climate may cause "large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the Earth's resources" and an "increased danger of violent conflicts and wars."
Why should this be taken seriously? Because of the consensus of the verified facts: Satellite measurements have revealed fundamental changes in Earth’s climate, including temperatures and rainfall, ice extent and properties, and sea levels as well as physical, chemical, and ecological impacts of climate change. NASA satellite measurements contributed immeasurably to enable the IPCC’s strongest conclusions thus far. "But the toughest part of the entire effort was the last step: reviewing our final draft with government officials. Before each IPCC report is published, the lead authors sit down with diplomats, lawyers and environmental officials from around the world to review their findings, page by page. "These week-long meetings are very challenging as you respond to all sorts of concerns and questions. But this process is the real beauty of the IPCC. The final documents that emerge represent a consensus view of the world’s scientific community and government delegates."
The Nobel-winning IPCC reports have no parallel as the most authoritative source of climate science, says Wielicki. "When I give public lectures on climate, I tell my audience that there are three laws of solid information on climate change: IPCC, IPCC and IPCC.
Some people may not accept these facts or might argue that it is God's will and that we cannot do anything about it. They need not to participate, it is their right as long as they are willing to accept their fate and not ask for help later when their survival instinct kicks in.

When disaster strikes, the last thing to rely on is a government in Washington (viz. Katrina in New Orleans) and I would hope that by now it is evident that with these climate extremes will come new problems to be faced.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 31, 2008, 08:32:26 AM

"If a town government sets up the standards, they run the risk of the rural folks and innovators distrusting them! The trick might be to give them changes that they cant argue with. I.E. Who wouldnt want spruced up store fronts? Some public art? Slower traffic on main st, More flowers and trees in town, another grocery store, and a wireless internet cafe or two?"

To many entities have authority in CJ and the IV. The state mandates the zoning and the conditions under which it can be altered. Not favorable to the locals. When it was originally established in the early 1970's it was rammed down our throats with the help of the county of which all three commissioners lived in Grants Pass and 2 were affiliated with the timber industry. Then you have a major interstate highway running thru town which is the main corridor for most all goods and services for Crescent City, the large Pelican Bay Prison, Smith River, Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford. So Ore Dept of Transportation has a mandate from the state and federal governments to maintain traffic flow. This puts more restrictions on what could be done. Then there are still the large timber interests who do not believe that man and timber co-exist who have lots of money to influence local, state and even federal politics. Of course there is the county which has the majority of its population along the I5 corridor. So the county is influenced or controlled by its majority population so very little money is invested out here. Most all of the county parks are in the north end of the county. At one time this wasn't so but they have closed down the south parks and sold off the property to the timber interests. Even including a very nice state park at the border that had tall timber and a very active creek.

This leaves Cave Junction with little money and less influence and the valley residents with even less.


I agree about the election process. Consider the consolidation of the media as a possible cause? Even NPR is currently run by a Bush appointee/crony.
Of the possibles, I currently favor O'Bama but worry he will go the way of the Kennedy brothers. If the choice comes to McCain and Hillary, I will not vote for another Clinton. The last one did enough damage. Remember Enron and WorldCom and Tico and others were all under his watch as was the GAAT with out reasonable controls or NAFTA still without any reasonable controls for slave labor or environmental degradation or ..........

Again, Good Luck in trying to educate! If you look at the local demographics  you will find that the average person here is not interested in education. The average education level here is some of the lowest in the state along with their incomes. Which statistically go hand in hand.

It is a beautiful area with lots of potential. Maybe you are the person who is able to help move the area forward towards the beautiful possibilities we have.

I hope so and wish you all the luck and fortitude in the world.


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 31, 2008, 10:19:35 AM
I used to like John McCain, specially after hearing him on the documentary DVD "Why We Fight", but he spoiled everything when he went to the Baghdad market and presented a false image supporting Bush's lies. After that point, I totally disregarded him as a honest person with any integrity. I too would not trust Hillary - just another corporate crook. Here is the Clinton's account as compiled by Ralph Nader:

"The 1990’s were the first decade without the spectre of the Soviet
 Union. There was supposed to be a “peace dividend” that would reduce
 the vast, bloated military budget and redirect public funds to repair
 or expand our public works or infrastructure.

Inaugurated in January 1993, with a Congress controlled by the
 Democratic Party, Bill Clinton sent a small job-creating proposal to upgrade
 public facilities. He also made some motions for campaign finance reform
 which he promised during his campaign when running against incumbent
 George H.W. Bush and candidate Ross Perot.

A double withdrawal followed when the Congressional Republicans started
 roaring about big spending Democrats and after House Speaker Tom Foley
 and Senate Majority Leader, George Mitchell, told Clinton at a White
 House meeting to forget about legislation to diminish the power of
 organized money in elections.

That set the stage for how Washington politicians sized up Clinton. He
 was seen as devoid of modest political courage, a blurrer of
 differences with the Republican opposition party and anything but the decisive
 transforming leader he promised to be was he to win the election.
He proceeded, instead, to take credit for developments with which he
 had very little to do with such as the economic growth propelled by the
 huge technology boom.

Bragging about millions of jobs his Administration created, he
 neglected to note that incomes stagnated for 80% of the workers in the country
 and ended in 2000, under the level of 1973, adjusted for inflation.

A brainy White House assistant to Mr. Clinton told me in 1997 that the
 only real achievement his boss could take credit for was passage of
 legislation allowing 12 weeks family leave, without pay.

There are changes both the Clinton Administration actively championed
 that further entrenched corporate power over our economy and government
 during the decade. He pushed through Congress the NAFTA and the World
 Trade Organization (WTO) agreements that represented the greatest
 surrender in our history of local, state and national sovereignty to an
 autocratic, secretive system of transnational governance. This system
 subordinated workers, consumers and the environment to the supremacy of
 globalized commerce.

That was just for starters. Between 1996 and 2000, he drove legislation
 through Congress that concentrated more power in the hands of giant
 agribusiness, large telecommunications companies and the biggest
 jackpot—opening the doors to gigantic mergers in the financial industry. The
 latter so-called “financial modernization law” sowed the permissive
 seeds for taking vast financial risks with other peoples’ money (ie.
 pensioners and investors) that is now shaking the economy to

The man who pulled off this demolition of regulatory experience from
 the lessons of the Great Depression was Clinton’s Treasury Secretary,
 Robert Rubin, who went to work for Citigroup—the main pusher of this
 oligopolistic coup—just before the bill passed and made himself $40
 million for a few months of consulting in that same year.

Bill Clinton’s presidential resume was full of favors for the rich
 and powerful. Corporate welfare subsidies, handouts and giveaways
 flourished, including subsidizing the Big Three Auto companies for a phony
 research partnership while indicating there would be no new fuel
 efficiency regulations while he was President.

His regulatory agencies were anesthetized. The veteran watchdog for
 Public Citizen of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, said
 that safety was the worst under Clinton in his twenty nine years of

The auto safety agency (NHTSA) abandoned its regulatory oath of office
 and became a consulting firm to the auto industry. Other agencies were
 similarly asleep—in job safety (OSHA) railroads, household product
 safety, antitrust, and corporate crime law enforcement.

By reappointing avid Republican Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal
 Reserve, Mr. Clinton assured no attention would be paid to the visible
 precursors of what is now the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Mr.
 Greenspan, declined to use his regulatory authority and repeatedly showed that
 he almost never saw a risky financial instrument he couldn’t justify.

Mr. Clinton was so fearful of taking on Orrin Hatch, the Republican
 Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that he cleared most judicial
 appointments with the Utah Senator. He even failed to put forth the
 nomination of sub-cabinet level official, Peter Edelman, whose credentials
 were superb to the federal appeals court.

Mr. Edelman resigned on September 12th, 1996. In a memo to his staff,
 he said, “I have devoted the last 30-plus years to doing whatever I
 could to help in reducing poverty in America. I believe the recently
 enacted welfare bill goes in the opposite direction.”

Excoriated by the noted author and columnist, Anthony Lewis, for his
 dismal record on civil liberties, the man from Hope set the stage for the
 Bush demolition of this pillar of our democracy.

To justify his invasion of Iraq, Bush regularly referred in 2002-2003
 to Clinton’s bombing of Iraq and making “regime change” explicit
 U.S. policy.

But it was Clinton’s insistence on UN-backed economic sanctions in
 contrast to just military embargos, against Iraq, during his term in
 office. These sanctions on civilians, a task force of leading American
 physicians estimated, took half a million Iraqi children’s lives.

Who can forget CBS’s Sixty Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl’s
 tour through Baghdad’s denuded hospitals filled with crying, dying
 children? She then interviewed Mr. Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline
 Albright and asked whether these sanctions were worth it. Secretary
 Albright answered in the affirmative.

Bill Clinton is generally viewed as one smart politician, having been
 twice elected the President, helped by lackluster Robert Dole, having
 survived the Lewinsky sex scandal, lying under oath about sex, and
 impeachment. When is it all about himself, he is cunningly smart.

But during his two-term triangulating Presidency, he wasn’t smart
 enough to avoid losing his Party’s control over Congress, or many state
 legislatures and Governorships.

It has always been all about him, Now he sees another admission ticket
 to the White House through his wife, Hillary Clinton. EIGHT MORE YEARS
 without a mobilized, demanding participating citizenry is just
 that—EIGHT MORE YEARS. It’s small wonder that the editors of Fortune
 Magazine headlined an article last June with the title, “Who Business is
 Betting On?” Their answer, of course, was Hillary Clinton."

There is no authority vested in the county to set their own zoning and subdivision ordinances?

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 31, 2008, 12:09:18 PM
There is no authority vested in the county to set their own zoning and subdivision ordinances?

Senate Bill 100 passed in 1973 gave the ultimate authority of land use to the state.

History of land use in Oregon:

1969    Senate Bill 10 was adopted in 1969 by the Oregon State Legislature. SB 10 required every city and county in the state to have a comprehensive land-use plan that met state standards. SB 10 sowed the seeds for Senate Bill 100. The law was weak, however, and failed to establish an effective enforcement mechanism or a program of technical assistance from the state. So most cities and counties refused to develop plans.

1973    Governor Tom McCall made his now famous speech to the legislature castigating "sagebrush subdivisions, coastal condomania, and the ravenous rampages of suburbia." He requested legislation establishing a statewide program for land-use planning. Hector MacPherson, a farmer from Linn County, and Ted Hallock, a liberal Democrat from Portland, were the chief Senate sponsors of the measure. McCall campaigned across the state, gaining public and media support to counter the opposition. Senate Bill 100 was approved after much negotiation and compromise, and was signed by Gov. McCall on May 29, 1973. SB 100 created the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). Senate Bill 101 created statewide protections for farmland. LCDC´s first major task was to adopt 14 statewide planning goals to govern local land use plans.

1975    1000 Friends of Oregon was founded by Tom McCall and Henry Richmond to monitor implementation of SB 100. In 1975 the Commission adopted the Willamette Rivewr Greenway Goal.

1976    An initiative to repeal SB 100 was defeated. Later that year, four more goals were adopted to protect coastal resources.

1978    An initiative to eliminate state oversight of local land use plans was again defeated.

1979    The Portland-area voters created Metro, the first U.S. elective metropolitan council. Once again, Oregon was leading the nation in progressive policies that look towards intelligent future development.

1982    Despite a deep recession that was blamed on planning, the third effort to repeal the SB 100 was defeated. The following year, the Legislature created a process for the periodic review and update of local use plans.

1986    On August 7, the LCDC approved the last local government plan for Granite City and Grant County.

1991    The DLCD adopted a new rule to integrate land use and transportation planning in order to increase transportation choice in cities.

1993    The Legislature passed a complex and controversial bill (HB 3661) affecting how farm and forest lands are to be protected.
1995    The Legislature considered more than 70 bills to weaken SB 100. Most were defeated and Governor John Kitzhaber vetoed the rest.

1997    The Legislature again rejected bills to weaken SB 100.

1998    The 25th anniversary of Senate Bill 100 (pdf).

2000    Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 7 (54% to 46%), which was designed to compensate property owners when a government land-use regulation caused a devaluation of private property. However, the measure was overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court because it would have changed more than one part of the Constitution.
2003    The 30th anniversary of Senate Bill 100.

2004    On Nov. 2, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 37  by 1,054,589 (61%) to 685,079 (39%). The measure provides that the owner of private real property is entitled to receive just compensation when a land use regulation is enacted after the owner or a family member became the owner of the property if the regulation restricts the use of the property and reduces its fair market value. In lieu of compensation, the measure also provides that the government responsible for the regulation may choose to "remove, modify or not apply" the regulation.

2005    On Oct. 14, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mertens James issued an Opinion and Order on Motions for Summary Judgment in "MacPherson, et al vs. Department of Administrative Services, et al," in which she found Measure 37 to be unconstitutional on several grounds.
2006    On Feb. 21, the Oregon Supreme Court overturned Judge James' decision and reinstated Measure 37. The decision will take effect once a final judgment has been entered.

 2007    On Nov. 6, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 49  by 718,023 (62%) to 437,351 (38%). Measure 49 modifies Measure 37 (2004) to give landowners with Measure 37 claims the right to build homes as compensation for land use restrictions imposed after they acquired their properties. Claimants may build up to three homes if previously allowed when they acquired their properties, four to 10 homes if they can document reductions in property values that justify additional homes, but may not build more than three homes on high-value farmlands, forestlands and groundwater-restricted lands. Allows claimants to transfer homebuilding rights upon sale or transfer of properties; extends rights to surviving spouses. Authorizes future claims based on regulations that restrict residential uses of property or farm, forest practices. Disallows claims for strip malls, mines, other commercial, industrial uses.

So today the locals, even if they wanted to change anything, would have a major process that would take years. The criteria for change is so onerous and complex that it is virtually impossible to do with out land use consultants, studies and lawyers.

As for Clinton, I always felt he was a plant by the ruling class and all the shenanigans were theater to distract the masses.

I'm not convinced that our current economic issues, including changing the bankruptcy laws and then 100% no down stated loans to the citizens has not been planned to create economic serfdom of the working majority.  Those with the responsibility to protect the public certainly have forgotten their fiduciary duties. This includes Realtors, Appraisers, Mortgage Brokers, lending institutions, regulators and Congress. Greed and Ego are an amazing in their power to convince people who were once basically honorable people to sell their grandma's farm out from under her. For a commission. For a little more joy juice. For a new big screen TV. Amazing! And Sad.   


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 31, 2008, 01:13:23 PM

thank you for the education on the Oregon land use legislature! Sounds like a bad law that gives lot of powers to centralized government. Here is some thoughtful editorial I enjoyed reading on the true state of the union (not the recycled old and empty rhetoric we heard the other day):

By Sara Robinson

January 31st, 2008 - 9:47am ET


In one of the comments threads that discussed last week's first Stealing Our Future post, an astute commenter named Ohio Mom did a telling bit of class analysis:

I was reminded of the aphorism that the wealthy look to the past and the legacy they've inherited ("our family came over on the Mayflower"), the poor live in the present, but the middle class's orientation is the future, for which they work, scrimp and save. There may be a relationship between our giving up planning and our giving up on having a robust and large middle class. Just a thought...
Ohio Mom

It's a great thought, and one that deserves some further discussion.

Most government investment in planning, foresight, and creating new infrastructure is made with one of three goals in mind: to improve future quality of life, expand future economic opportunity, or minimize future exposure to risk. Peace, prosperity, and good order follow when everybody has clean water, nutritious food, and safe housing. Business thrives when workers have a basic education, goods arrive on reliable transportation networks, currency is stable, and contracts and property rights are consistently enforced. Our national well-being is secured by a sane defense and strong relationships with other nations; and our foresight in preventing or mitigating famine, blight, epidemics, and natural disasters.

On fronts large and small, Americans have always used government as an instrument to gather necessary information, make long-range plans, detect and respond to possible threats, explore new opportunities, and create the conditions that would allow as many of us to prosper as possible.

For most of the 20th century, all of these goals were pursued out of the common conviction that (as Jim Hightower puts it) everybody does better when everybody does better. But the ones who've done the very best, invariably, have been the middle class — the business and tradespeople, employees and professionals whose jobs depended on the scores of government ventures that were set up to shelter them from all the unthinkable mishaps that can kill a thriving business overnight.

It's not an accident that the rise of America's culture of foresight and planning went hand-in-hand with the rise of the greatest middle class the world has ever seen. In fact, it was a necessary precondition for that class's emergence. Furthermore, political philosophers since Plato have understood that democracy, in turn, depends on a healthy middle class. As long as we kept investing in the common good, the American middle class returned the investment over and over by looking ahead, pushing toward the future -- and also providing the economic, cultural, and political ballast for the entire country.

Not In Their Best Interest
But, somewhere back in the 1970s, a few rich conservatives decided that, even though they'd built their own vast fortunes on the sturdy ground of this same solid commons, they had no further obligation to pay for it. In fact, they realized that sustaining it was no longer in their own best interest, for a number of what looked like sound (if short-sighted) "business reasons:"

1. They didn't need the infrastructure. If you're one of that privileged 0.5 percent, you don't need the government to ensure a stable business or social environment any more. You can afford to send your kids to private schools; live in a gated community with its own private roads, utilities, and police; get the strategic information you need from expensive private sources; and hire your very own army, if it comes to that. If things turn unpleasant where you are, you hop in a private jet and go somewhere else. Whatever you or your business needs, you've got the cash to buy it outright — without having to inveigle the government to cough it up. There came a point where they were simply so rich that paying for the government to perform most of these services for them no longer made sense.

2. They didn't need the middle class. Industrial barons back to Henry Ford extolled the virtues of a strong consumerist middle class as the foundation of the American economy. They viewed it as a rich resource that could funnel staggering wealth into the pockets of anyone willing to feed its voracious appetite. For a century, the American upper classes were well aware that the great middle was their main money tree; and for a few generations in there, they took pains to ensure its continued prosperity.

But those days are long gone now. About the only use the upper classes have for the shrinking middle now is as debt-laden borrowers and consumers — and now that the housing bubble is popping, there's no more money to be made there, either. Since the struggling middle has been bled dry, and is of no further value to them, it makes no sense at all to invest a single dime in its future.

3. They didn't want the competition. In the face of that glorious economic isolation, investing in the public infrastructure that might pave the way for some innovative middle-class upstart to move into your business space doesn't make any sense. They've got theirs — and keeping hold of it depends on raising the barriers to entry, and cutting all the potential competition off at the knees. And one of the best ways to do that is to either capture these public resources and divert them to their own exclusive use — or to eliminate them entirely for everybody.

4. They really, really didn't want the regulation — let alone the costs that went with it. In the Culture of Planning's postwar heyday, the task of planning, building, staffing, and maintaining America's vast infrastructure occupied tens of millions of skilled experts and technicians. In fact, it ultimately subsidized — directly or indirectly — a vast chunk of the country's professional and intellectual classes, as well as its skilled trades, by providing stable upper-middle-class careers for architects, planners, contractors, and engineers of every shade and hue; not to mention agronomists, public health inspectors, meteorologists, geologists, biologists, nutritionists, librarians...the list is longer than the height of the Washington Monument. If these experts didn't work directly for the government, they worked for businesses that depended on government contracts; or taught in universities that provided both necessary research and the next generation of experts and builders. The list of jobs they performed on our behalf is endless, and it once included a very wide swath of the country's most educated people — the original knowledge worker class.

For the past few generations, many of these people were children of the lower classes who'd been educated under the GI Bill and the many other public grant programs that succeeded it. And so the culture of planning also became the major route of ascent for the nation's smart, poor, and upwardly mobile. Furthermore, as that tide flowed out of the working-class and rural areas, some of it also flowed back. These government jobs brought even small, isolated towns — like my own remote hometown in the rural West — an educated professional class that could provide social and civic leadership, set the intellectual tone, widen the sense of possibilities, and encourage the ambitions of their talented children. These people were a liberalizing force in many parts of the country where the only other cultural voices came from conservative churches, newspapers, and political groups.

For the rich, having to answer to a credentialed expert class that was armed with its own data, an obligation to act in the public good, and the legal clout to stop any activity that didn't measure up to that standard was simply intolerable. They'd use every trick in the book to get around them. They'd befriend them, buy them off, argue against their data, get them fired, re-write their job descriptions, or simply sue them into compliance. But, in the end, the only way to get rid of those tens of millions of watching eyes for good was to defund their offices, tear up their contracts, hand their university departments over to the private sector, and ultimately put them out of work forever. It took 30 years -- but as well survey the wreckage that surrounds us, it's clear that they've succeeded beyond their wildest dreams...and our worst nightmares.

5. They learned to profit from fear and mistrust. The Constitution laid out the core purposes of democratic government: "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." The vast efforts we've made through the centuries to foresee our future needs and plan constructively to meet them represent the most essential and tangible expression of these goals. Looking back on the record, we've done this stunningly well.

And our collective success at accomplishing all this has fed our democratic instincts in return. When we've planned for every contingency, are ready to meet every challenge, and have solid support systems in place to detect trouble and respond to it effectively — when everything we've built works dependably and well — we can let go of fear and face the future with optimism. Likewise: when we've got clean markets, functioning and fair courts, and a history of successful collective action behind us, the overall level of mutual trust and confidence within a society soars. There's a feeling that together, we can do anything. Whatever comes, we can handle it. Whatever we dream, we can make it happen. We're going to take care of each other. Democracy is an unstoppable force as long as we believe in our bones that that government can be a potent tool for positive change.

However: it's no secret to anybody now that the right wing simply, fundamentally does not believe in democratic government. It seeks to rule — to re-establish a hereditary aristocracy by undermining Americans' once-invincible mutual trust and instilling isolation and fear in its place. As "The Shock Doctrine" showed us, fear-mongering is not only their preferred political tool; it's now a favorite business strategy as well. They want our infrastructure to fail. It creates profit opportunities. It affirms their world view. It undermines collective confidence, and thus discredits democracy. See? We told you not to trust government, or anyone else. We told you to be afraid.

When this rock-steady belief in our collective competence collapses under the onslaught of a badly-managed disaster, our ability to trust our government and each other vanishes under the rubble. Devastating failures like 9/11 and Katrina and all the other disasters we're seeing on the GOP's watch have the power to shake our democratic faith to its core. The inability of the Democratic majority in Congress to step up and restore our confidence with a strong show of government-for-the-common-good has only added to our sense of despair.

This sense of failure is, more than any other goal, exactly what the conservatives set out to achieve when they dismantled our physical infrastructure and our culture of planning. Where there is fear, there is no vision. Where there is despair, there is no democracy. Where there is chaos, the strong can sweep in and take over, seizing everything including the future.

Look at it this way, and it becomes clear that the conservatives' 30-year "war on big government" was, at heart, a war on engines of prosperity that drove the rise of the middle class — and on the very heart of democracy itself. When we can no longer even trust the processes that count our votes, it's obvious that their triumph is nearly complete — and that our republic is in mortal danger. The loss of our physical and planning infrastructure is a core reason — perhaps the core reason — that America's great middle is now in free-fall. And it happened because the rich fooled themselves into believing the lie that they were powerful enough to decouple their own fortunes and futures from our own, and were thus relieved of any duty at all to the other 99.5% of the country.

Ironically, though: the conservatives' disdain for planning, foresight, and infrastructure investment has now come around full circle to bite them firmly on their backsides. To their surprise, it turns out that some some of that spilled blood will be their own, after all. It turns out that even the invincible rich were more dependent on this silly bureaucratic technical ephemera than they thought they were. It turns out that really bad #$!% happens when you ignore it. And worst of all: it turns out that people will hold you accountable for these disasters, because they happened on your watch. That government-is -evil thing? Wasn't that your Big Idea?

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on January 31, 2008, 01:14:53 PM
continued (due to the 2000 word limit)

Reinvesting In Ourselves
So, how do we shape things up and make it work again?

First, we need to bust down that old conservative trope that tax money is always wasted. The conservatives originally sold themselves as the party of prudent, business-like management of the public purse, contrasting themselves to "tax-and-spend liberals" (an accusation that finally seems to be dying a painful and ironic death). But if they actually were running this country as you'd run a business, they'd be taking that revenue and looking for the best possible investment. And, since the beginning of the nation, the best investments we've ever made have been those made directly in the American people themselves.

Invest in a school, and over the course of the next several decades, you'll get tens of thousands of literate, creative workers — a few of whom will go forth and transform the world, and the rest of whom will do well, pay taxes, obey the law and contribute to the life of their communities. Invest in housing, and you put more families on the road to accumulating middle-class wealth, which will make a difference for generations. Invest in transportation and communication, and you streamline commerce for the next 50 years. Invest in new technologies, and you seed new industries that will create jobs and generate tax revenue — which can be invested again for even further prosperity. Invest in a GI Bill, and you get the Greatest Generation, and the postwar boom they created.

Bombs and bullets and "homeland security," on the other hand, are money down the rathole from an investment perspective. The bombs and bullets are made once, used, and contribute nothing of value ever again. Too many of our security "investments" are in things that don't actually make us safer — but they do make us distrusting and suspicious of each other and our government, and promote a low-grade but pervasive sense of fear. Mostly, what this kind of spending buys us is a world full of well-armed enemies; and a powerful class of defense millionaires who now run both our economy and our government. Military and security spending doesn't make us economically or politically healthier; in fact, on both fronts, they're an open wound that's bleeding us white.

Likewise, the one-time-only "stimulus" package now before Congress makes about as much investment sense as writing a check to an unemployed 35-year-old son who's still living in your basement. The average family will get a few hundred dollars, most of which will immediately go to pay off credit card and mortgage companies. It's a subsidy, and not even a very good one.

Especially when you consider the opportunity cost — the things of truly enduring value that same $150 billion could do if it were invested in the long-term common good. It could fully insure every child and disabled person in the country. Or rebuild several thousand bridges and tunnels. Or blanket every major downtown core in the country with free wireless internet. Or endow 50 large cities with full mass transit. It could put 1.5 million talented students through four years of college; or 1.5 million families into new low-cost homes. These are changes that would echo throughout our economy for the rest of the century, creating wealth far beyond the original investment.

But instead, we're sending it all to Countrywide and Citibank, in a one-shot deal that won't matter to anyone three months from now.

Second, we need to seriously reckon with the ways in which our sagging physical and intellectual infrastructure is eroding our national competitiveness. To take just one example: we used to have the world's best research universities, which turned out the world's best research, which put us at the head of almost every industry you can name. Over the past 25 years or so, these institutions have been largely handed over to the private sector — and, not coincidentally, we're seeing other countries overtake us in important new areas like biotech research, communications and sustainable technologies.

At the same time, fewer of our own talented students can afford to go to college at all — a shortsighted investment failure in the most important national resource of all. And we're not making this one up with imports: due to fear-based security policies, the world's best and brightest grad students are now bypassing American colleges and heading to countries that make them feel more welcome. We are already falling behind, and this is no way to stay competitive. And it's not just education and research; this happening in almost every domain you can name.

Third, we need to make the strong argument that letting this infrastructure fall apart is a waste of resources — a cardinal sin in an age when resources are growing scarcer. Dealing with looming changes in our supplies of oil, water, topsoil, and food — not to mention the ecological and political disruptions of continued climate change — will require a new generation of experts, a fresh wave of planning and foresight, and massive investments in new infrastructure. (The private sector will not do this on its own; in fact, these industries are already telling us that they're simply waiting around for some government direction to get started.) Our ultimate survival — as a nation, a culture, or perhaps even a species — depends utterly on how much and how well we invest in securing and sustaining the necessary resources. We cannot invade our way out of this one. But we may be able to invent our way around it — if we start now.

And finally, we need to stand firmly for the middle class. As Ohio Mom pointed out, a middle-class nation will instinctively look ahead to its future, because that's where its fortune lies. A poor one lives in the moment, paycheck to paycheck, scraping to get by, assuming that the future will be no better than the present. As the engines of our middle-class prosperity have ground into obsolescence, we've started living like an underclass nation. We're spending our home equity on high living, giving our children inferior educations, failing to plan, planning to fail.

We are here because the conservative movement has spent 30 years deliberately, systematically stealing away from us our confidence in each other, our belief in the common good, and our faith in the collective national future. Of all the things they've looted from us, this is the most important one to seize back for ourselves. When we rebuild the democratic social, moral, and cultural infrastructure that empowers us to act out of our own collective interests, the reconstruction of a new physical infrastructure and all the rest of it will follow on naturally — and our future will once again be our own.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Kokopelli on January 31, 2008, 02:53:17 PM

I will be glad when the current administration is gone. I can't argue with the piece you posted. I am not convinced that the conservative think tank agenda will be as easy to be rid of as that piece hopes. Many people swallowed that BS rhetoric hook line and sinker, even to their own detriment and like I said previously, people fiercely defend what they own, even bad ideas and BS rhetoric.

It is like today, people have no clue what is causing them so much financial pain. Some think it is the big oil companies and some swear it is the environmentalists who won't let us have our own oil that is conveniently available off shore in Florida, California and in the wilds of Alaska. Most do not understand that cheap credit is inflationary and the fact that when a house goes up in price, it really isn't asset appreciation, it is inflation of the currency. More money chasing the same amount of goods,,, Price appreciation, No real gain in real value. Just inflation. And what is demanded to fix the *loss in value* of housing is to create more inflation.

One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. How can inflation help solve insolvency? It can't, but it is being touted as the answer, again.

Part of history that has been forgotten is why Americans revolted against their overlords in England. The wealthy in England treated Americans as serfs and taxed the hell out of them. Inflation is an insidious tax yet people do not seem to equate it with taxes. It is the worst most insidious tax there is and it transfers wealth from the lower and middle class up to the wealthier class. Who owns the assets and the banking cartel? Who benefited the most from our most recent run up in asset prices? Not the poor, the lower income earner and to a very small extent the middle class. Unreported inflation is why there has been a growing gap between the 90% majority and the 10% top income earners. It isn't that those at the top work harder, or are smarter, it is that they own the assets that are inflating and the rest are stuck paying more and more for the same.


Thanks for the conversation, I have enjoyed it.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: lookinglass on February 01, 2008, 11:29:36 AM
You guys have been really busy!

 If you are not currently in "seats of power" then you should be! Few understand the extent of politics or have the patience that it requires. You two have clearly demonstrated both! Ohio mom was right about the masses just trying to survive on a daily basis.

Oregon is unique onto its self and could use some good leaders!

By the way, I havnt ment to suggest big city style changes. Just some healthy "maintainance" style ones. You know, keep the place from falling into unhealthy hands, etc., and, preserving the lifestyle that makes it such a unique place and all.


Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on February 02, 2008, 06:20:18 PM

you nailed it on the head, the inflation. I could not explain it this good. Bravo!
The wealthy use their power and wealth to secure even more of it. There is no way out of it. That is why mankind periodically has revolutions - the American one is only one of many, but they are all similar in nature, e.i. get rid of the oppressors.
Here is a great explanation of the monetary en-slavery on YouTube:
Watch all 5 parts


it is great that you participate in this exchange of opinions and ideas. I wish more people would join in with their ideas too. It is a demonstration of freedom of speech, democracy, social responsibility, and everything else that makes functional community.
I enjoy other people's views, it always broadens my horizon and offers hope that there can be some common good.

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Sharloch on February 07, 2008, 09:14:57 AM
Since this is a community awareness forum, I am recommending another educational reading:

On Sunday, December 23, 1913, two days before Christmas, while most of Congress was on vacation, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. Wilson would later express profound regret over his tragic decision, stating: "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world - no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

...these events changed our lives and freedoms, and as long as you feel that this is your country, you should strive to maintain justice... (else accept perpetual economic slavery)

read more here:

Title: Re: Local Real Estate and/or underlying economics
Post by: Buster on July 16, 2008, 01:22:37 PM
While down here in the "big city" of the SF Bay Area, I have for years been running my own business.  The government does everything they can to discourage you from being self employed.  They want you to be a wage slaving drone.  $800 a year for running a LLC.  Just because.