Monday, January 23, 2017

Albany Optimist Club 2016 Veterans Day Breakfast

On November 11th at 6:30 am the doors to the West Albany High School Gym opened for the Albany Optimist Club 2016 Veterans Day Breakfast. Staffed by volunteers from the Albany Sheriff''s Department, LBCC, West Albany High, the Optimist Club and many others, breakfast before the Veterans Day Parade was a success. The money raised will benefit organizations in our community that serve children and families.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Albany Downtown Association

On November 1, 2016 Peggy Burris, Executive Director of the Albany Downtown Association spoke about Downtown Albany. Albany Downtown Association, a nonprofit, 501 c 6, follows the proven National Main Street program. The four points of Main Street are:
Organization—Budgets, bylaws and policy and procedures
Promotion—Events in the Downtown to draw people to the downtown area
Design-Beautification of the downtown-hanging baskets, parklets, Christmas lights on trees, downtown cleanup.
Economic Vitality-Assisting small businesses, keeping the businesses informed, building up the economic development in the downtown area.

Albany Downtown Association also handles parking through the parking program called Parkwise.

Great things are happening in Downtown. We have very low open vacancy right now. Businesses are doing well. When a dollar is spent with a local merchant, 60 cents stays in the community as opposed to six cents with big box retailers and 20 cents with chain stores: Let keep profits in town with our locally owned businesses. Peggy encourages everyone to Shop Small on Shop Small Saturday November 26th.

For event information, please visit our website:


Executive Director
Albany Downtown Association
126 SW Ferry Street
Albany, OR 97321

PH: 541-928-2469
CELL: 541-401-1326

Monday, October 31, 2016

Albany, Oregon's Veterans Day Organizer Patty Louisiana

The presentation on October 18, 2016 was given by Patty Louisiana from the Albany Veterans Day Parade Organization. 

Presenting Patty with a check from the Albany Optimist Club in support of the Veterans Day Parade was Bruce Beilke, past president of our Optimist Club, standing in for Jim Stom, who was not available. Here is a link to the Veterans Day Parade Face Book page, or check the Albany Visitors Association web site.

We should also mention that the day of the parade, the Albany Optimist Club sponsors an all you can eat breakfast at West Albany High School, with the support of the West Albany High, Linn Benton Community College, the Linn County Sheriff's Dept and many more. Money from this event goes to support the community programs for children, families and others in need. Please come and join us for breakfast and then enjoy the largest Veterans Day Parade West of the Mississippi.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Realestate market in our area and current mortage rates

The presentation on October 4, 2016 was given by Bill Higby of PRMG (Paramount Residential Mortage Group) in regards to the realestate market in our area and the current mortage rates. The following is information from Bill's presentation.

Mortgage Rates

Pretty consistent throughout 2016 & 2015. Mortgage rates track 10 year treasury reasonably well. Economic insecurity pushes investors into bonds, bond rates fall as do mortgage rates. When real or perceived economic "wellness" happens investors move into equities, bond prices drop, yields increase and mortgage rates rise.

Rate guestimators.... 16.3% think they will rise, 25% think they will fall and the rest say they will remain unchanged. When is the best time to buy a house? When you can afford to and when you want to.

The enemy of home affordability.... Supply, inflation, economic downturns

Home sales are up 12% YTD over 2015 and nearly at the volume as 2007 & 2008. Home prices are up about 30% over two years ago. New listings are down 19% from 2015. Why? New inventory is down, land availability is limited, homes are becoming seriously affordable for the average Linn County family. The increase in home prices has made cash-out refinancing extremely popular and created a huge uptick in remodeling projects.

Predicting the Oregon economy is difficult if not impossible. Economists list an 8 month recession in 1980 followed by an almost 18 month long recession in 1981 & 1982, it felt like a recession clear into 1991. The 1990's were the longest period of economic growth in American History and got a lot of us used to the prosperity. 2001 had a short recession, 2007 to 2009 was the "Great Recession". We have been in a pretty good boom-let for the past two years. Opinions of whether we are facing another recession are all over the board. Disturbing news items include "big bank" issues such as regulatory fines, Brexit, the continuing economic issues in the European community and the ongoing issues in the Mid-East and Africa.

Back to Home Affordability....

The median income for a family of four in Linn County is $58,700. In August the average price of a home was $241,500 with a median of $225,000. Most homes were selling between 150 and 220. An FHA home loan for a $241,500 home price will likely end up with a monthly PITI payment of $1500 and require $15,000 in cash from the home buyers. Home prices are being driven by scarcity, loan interest rates and big increases in rental prices. HUD lists the fair market rent for a three bedroom home as $1278, who wouldn't buy if it costs the same as renting. If I had to guess as to what will happen in the housing market I would say that the scarcity of new homes is going to keep home prices increasing, renovation of used homes is going to continue at an increased pace and the relative affordability of Albany as compared to Portland will continue to attract home owners. Just an observation, at the Rotary Craft Brew Smack Down I talked to 4 families that had just moved to Albany from California.

Thank you Bill

Monday, October 3, 2016

Neighbor to Neighbor Mediation

The presentation on September 27 was given by Kevin Grant (Middle), of Neighbor to Neighbor Mediation (N2N) and Laurie Mason (Right), of Mason Mediation and an N2N volunteer. Kevin is an Albany native living in Corvallis, with Laurie's background being the converse.

Mediators assist people in a dispute to talk through the issues, understand the underlying goals to achieve, and find a mutually-agreeable resolution to the conflict.

Laurie, in her private practice, provides mediation in workplaces, among other types of disputes. She also contracts with N2N in the Foreclosure Avoidance program and volunteers in small claims court mediations. In addition to small claims court, Kevin also coordinates community mediation (which includes neighbors, landlord/tenant, and manufactured home parks) at N2N.

Two N2N programs that directly serve youth include:

  •     Juvenile Victim-Offender Mediation, where youth referred by the juvenile departments meet with their crime victims to take responsibility for their actions and their impacts, provide a chance for victims to understand why it happened, and for both to reconcile and move forward.
  •     Youth & Family Mediation, where kids and their parents are provided a space to safely communicate their concerns, express what's most important to them, and make an action plan to minimize future misunderstandings and conflicts.
You can help Neighbor to Neighbor Mediation by:
  •     Inviting us to provide a free 1-3 hour "Communicating Through Conflict" workshop for your group
  •     Referring people in a dispute to our free services
  •     Becoming a volunteer mediator (which includes training and mentorship by N2N staff and volunteers)

Neighbor to Neighbor Mediation can be reached at our Albany office at and 541-223-4189. More information on N2N at:

Laurie Mason can be reached at <> and 541-752-0979.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CARDV Presentation

CARDV Presentation by Jennifer Morris September 20th 201

The Optimist Club's presentation this week was given by Jennifer Morris from the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV). Here is some of the information that she provided and how to contact her to offer your support.

The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV) is celebrating 35 years of service in Linn and Benton Counties! CARDV provides services and support to those affected by sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as education and leadership within the community to change the societal conditions that cultivate these forms of violence.

In the last year CARDV:
  • Responded to 5,686 calls received on the 24-hour crisis and support line
  • Provided emergency and confidential shelter to 102 adults and 88 children, for a total of 3,037 bed nights. 
  • Increased legal advocacy services by 25% and helped 1,182 adults and 13 teens navigate the legal system
  • Advocated for 147 adults and 24 teens who experienced domestic and sexual assault at the Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon hospitals
  • Logged over 35,500 miles responding and transporting survivors
CARDV is pleased to announce that they have hired a Community Educator to continue meeting the needs and requests of schools, churches, and other community groups who seek education about healthy relationships.

For more information on how to support CARDV please contact, Jennifer Morris at or (541) 758-0219 ext 302.  

Our thanks to Jennifer for sharing this information on such an important topic for our communities.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Medicare and Medicaid Presentation

Medicare and Medicaid Presentation Summary Becky Lippmann, September 6, 2016

Our presenter for the week of September 6th was Becky Lippmann. Some of us or maybe a spouse are going through these life changes and this information is critical. Here is some of Becky's presentation with additional information provided.

It is important to know the services that are available to Medicare and Medicaid members.  These services can change as the member’s resources and needs change over time.  Check eligibility often as criteria can change from year to year.  Medicare members may be eligible for specific programs in coordination with Medicaid and I encourage members to call Medicaid to check for eligibility.  There are various levels of financial assistance through the different programs.

Medicare members need to understand the four parts of Medicare, Parts A, B, C, and D.  Each part covers different healthcare services and may or may not include a monthly premium.  It is necessary to evaluate the various Medicare options to determine which option fits the individual’s specific needs.   Medicare options include Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plan, or a Supplemental Plan.  Original Medicare and Supplemental Plans do not include Part C or Part D.  A Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) can be purchased separately if it is not included.  The different Medicare options can have drastically different costs for the Medicare member.

The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans is October 15-December 7 every year.  For Supplemental Plans the enrollment period to change Supplemental Plans occurs the month prior, month of and the month after the birthday month.

Please schedule a consultation to evaluate a current plan or evaluate plan options for initial enrollment.  Consultations are free.  I am available year-round to give consultations, answer questions, and assist Medicare members with enrollment.  Please call 541-914-6263, or email at .

Bio for Becky Lippmann, Optimist Club Member

I grew up in Salem and have lived and worked in and around the Salem area.  I have now lived in Albany for 8 years.  My initial career as a secondary science teacher and athletic coach has driven me over 20 years.  I currently substitute teach in Albany and Salem.  Three years ago I ventured into insurance and found that I very much enjoy working with Medicare and Medicare members.  I believe that I can help my Medicare members as I have helped my students.  I am also a certified Personal Fitness Trainer and own my own business called Fit Fix.  At Fit Fix I work with all age groups from kids to seniors and on an individual basis or in a group setting.  At home I enjoy my two yellow labs, who actively compete in agility.