Oregon foreclosure spike: worrisome or just hype?

foreclosed houseThe Federal Reserve recently warned that Oregon was facing a delayed reaction to the recession, with foreclosures tipping upward while housing values fell dramatically during the third quarter of 2009. The findings caused an Internet buzz about whether Oregon is becoming the next California. Horrors!

WalletPop talked to two local experts and came away with dramatically different takes on the depth and longevity of the problem.

Loan broker Ken Osborne thinks the worst is over. Former headhunter and author Elizabeth Lions thinks continued high unemployment in Oregon will lead more to abandon their homes.

"If you make over $100,000 and lost your job, you need to relocate," said Lions, author of "Recession Proof Yourself." "There is no room at the inn called Portland. It's the perfect storm here with too many people and not enough jobs."

"We won't see it get much worse," Osborne said. "Bend and the metro areas are the ones hit the hardest because those areas relied on bubble income from stocks and real estate. They have the highest foreclosure rates because they were the areas where values shot up the quickest. People purchased out of greed and fear without regard to ability to repay."

Told that the latest numbers from RealtyTrac show Oregon at No. 11 on a list dominated by Western states -- including Nevada, California and Utah -- Osborne conceded that things may continue to be tough for another year.

He feels a bit powerless as he watches the trends wash over Oregon, he said.

"I could have prevented this whole mess if the President had called me three years ago," he said. "But I'm just a little guy on Main Street, not Wall Street."
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