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This Week in Portland, Jan 17 - 24, 2009

Hello, Portland! I tried to sleep in this morning, but my puppy Buddha started licking my face at about 5am, trying to get me out of bed to feed him breakfast. He kept coming back every five or ten minutes for another lick fest, just in case I was thinking of dropping back to sleep. Who needs an alarm clock when you have a hungry puppy? Oh well, I needed to get up and write the blog anyway, so here I am, grouchy, with cup of coffee in hand and a (now satisfied) puppy sleeping and draped over my feet.

What crazy, awesome weather we are having this winter. I seriously enjoyed the sunshine this week, although I was trapped indoors working and didn't get to get outside long enough to soak up some vitamin D. At least I enjoyed the view out the window from the office. If you've been trapped indoors or have a touch of winter cabin fever, get out and enjoy some Portland fun with one of the great events posted on the Portland events calendar. There are several free Portland events worth a look, too!

Portland Event Picks of the Week

Classical Bass at the Schnitz Jan 17-19, 7:30pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. "Double bassist Edgar Meyer, who recently performed in town with mandolin master Chris Thile from Nickel Creek, sits in with the symphony in a program that features Charles Ives’s moody, meandering tone poem “Central Park in the Dark” and Bass Concerto no. 1, a composition by the versatile Meyer himself."

Excellent Gentlemen Soul R&B Party at the Crystal Jan 17th at 8pm, the Crystal Ballroom. "Come get your groove on with Excellent Gentlemen,the Everyday Prophets, and DJ Sir Round!"

Obama Inaguration Celebration at Roseland Jan 20th at 7pm at The Roseland. "Featuring Shock, Marlon McClain,Lilla D'Mone and The Brazilian Lions, Devin Phillips, Cool Nutz, Animal Farm, Mic Crenshaw ft. Gen. Erik, Serge Severe, Slicksidedown, Linda Hornbuckle and Janice Scroggins."

Living the Legacy - A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jan 22 at7pm, PSU. "The marquee event of the MLK tribute, this year’s evening lecture will feature civil rights icon, Ambassador Andrew Young. There will also be a special musical performance by E.D. Mondane & Belief."

Single Parent Night OutJan 23 at 6pm, Barracuda. "IHeartSingleParents.com and Single Parent magazine are launching a series of monthly events called Single Parent Night Out that will begin on January 23rd and continue the 3rd Friday of every month at Barracuda Portland. Single Parent Night Out events are designed to give the single parent community and entertaining way to meet in person and enjoy some adult social time"

There are LOTS more events on the events calendar, so come check it out. Plus, check out the new feed of FREE Portland events, courtesy of AroundTheSunBlog.com, posted on the lower right side of the website. This week's free Portland events can be found here.

Have a Portland Event you want to share? Load it up on our Portland Event Calendar! If it catches our eye, you'll see it featured in our weekly Portland blog. Want to feature an event? Contact us for more details!


Portland Photo of the Week

Snowy Reflections by KurtR



Welcome, New Members
We blew past 430 members this week, and it is exciting to see the membership continue to grow. This is a great site to ask questions, join a Portland interest group (or start your own) and make connections with other Portlanders. We hope you enjoy it and we're happy you're here! If you have suggestions to improve the site, let us know! Say hello to this week's new members:


Corni7 - West Linn

Kenichi Hillis - Southeast

Christy

Lynn Barnes

Christine Hager - St. Johns

Wendy

OHSU- Pill Hill

Active Culture Frozen Yogurt - Southeast

Barbara

John Noel - Sunnyside

You've helped make this Portland community the very best in Portland! If you love this site as much as we do, please invite your friends!

Portland Neighborhood Spotlight On: The Pearl District
The Pearl District offers urban living at its finest. If you work downtown and enjoy city living, this is the place to be for an easy commute (walk or take the Portland Streetcar, light rail MAX train, or Tri Met bus to work and play). Located along the Willamette River downtown in an old warehouse district, the neighborhood offers a feeling of urban historic charm. With a seemingly constant array of new loft-style development underway, the neighborhood is alive with a sense of growth and change. Lofts and Townhomes are the norm for residential living. The bustling streets are lined with upscale shopping boutiques, art galleries, unique antique and home interior stores, and the requisite coffee shops and restaurants. There are urban parks and green spaces tucked amidst all this city bustle, and you'll see children playing in the fountains, and little city dogs scampering through their concrete jungle. The neighborhood is certainly thriving. Every time I come into the Pearl District, I see something new. The urban landscape is ever changing. Nearby of course, is Portland Downtown, Old Town and Chinatown, just over the river from the Broadway bridge is the Eliot neighborhood, Lloyd District and Rose Garden arena, and the Pearl is only minutes from the popular Northwest Nob Hill neighborhood and the lush green Forest Park.
Learn more about the Pearl District, here.


Blog, Forum, and Group Action
Come check the discussions and news on the community discussion forum, blog, and groups.
Biking in these dreary winter days...
Portland Wine Events and Tastings
Portland Friends of Trees
Information on Portland Area Hospitals
Turkey Crockpot Chili Recipe
Belly Timber Review
Growing Baby Green


Portland Real Estate Snapshot
How To Figure Out What Price Range You Can Afford For A New Home, by Ross Seligman

With the market in the buyer’s favor, people are scouring internet listings and visiting open houses all over Portland. But, before you fall in love with that $400,000 1912 bungalow, you better figure out what your price range is. The single best thing you can do before you start your search is to contact a mortgage broker. This is a volatile market and rates are changing daily, mostly in your favor. Even a slight rate change can greatly affect your buying power. A mortgage broker will be able to help you determine what your price range will be based on the market and your individual situation. But what are the determining factors?

Your debt to income ratio is a percentage figure that, using your income verses expenses, determines how much of a loan you can handle. This will directly relate to how much of a loan you will be offered. Anything above a 36% debt to income ratio is considered risky for a lender and can result in a higher interest rate. If it is too high, the loan may be denied. A general rule is that no more than 25% of your income should be used for housing expenses. With much higher priced homes, it is sometimes difficult to be under the 36% mark. There are different programs that allow for ratios above 36% such as VA or FHA loans.

Let’s figure this out in a real world scenario so that you can get a basic idea before talking to your mortgage broker. First, figure out all of your fixed expenses. You can leave out groceries, etc. What you are looking for are car payments, credit card payments, child support, etc. Keep that figure aside for the moment. Now take your monthly income which, for this experiment, we will say is $4500/month. 36% of 4500 is $1620. This is what your ideal monthly debt for home payments will be from a mortgage loan. Now subtract your expenses that you figured out earlier. For an easy figure, let’s say that your monthly fixed expenses are $620. After downpayment, your loan payments should be $1000/month. Depending on how much you will put down and the current interest rate, this will determine your buying power. To get a concrete figure, your smartest move is to consult with a mortgage broker. As always, I have many great ones that I am happy to refer. I hope this was helpful!

Visit my website where you can contact me and search all Portland Metro Area listings from the RMLS: www.propertiesofportland.com


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Have a great weekend, Portland!

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