Homeowners Can Put Equity to Work with a HELOC

As any savvy homeowner will tell you, protecting the investment in your home is a crucial part of ownership.

After all, a home is likely the largest investment many of us will make. While upgrades, renovations, and additions often help maintain or even boost a home’s value, these undertakings can be costly. 

Thankfully, homeowners have an effective tool at their disposal—their home’s equity. By leveraging the equity in their home, homeowners can secure the funds needed to tackle delayed projects or even prepare for surprises down the road. SELCO Community Credit Union, serving 27 Oregon and 8 Washington counties, offers an array of products designed to put your home’s equity to work. Given the current market, it’s no surprise that SELCO has seen an increase in interest for its home equity lines of credit, known as HELOCs

What exactly is a SELCO HELOC?

Using the equity in a borrower’s home as collateral, borrowers and lenders agree to a maximum loan amount and term. SELCO adds flexibility by issuing the approved homeowner a Home Equity Visa card, which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted to access HELOC funds as needed throughout the draw period (typically between five and 15 years). This gives borrowers convenient access to their line of credit at each step in the process.

“Very few home-improvement projects come with a fixed price tag and a perfectly defined timeline,” said Michael Sauley, SELCO’s Vice President of Consumer Lending and Senior Consumer Credit Officer. “So our HELOCs were designed for the way most homeowners complete their projects.”

Once the original project is complete, borrowers get continued access to their line of credit, and they pay only for the credit they actually use.

Other benefits

Another advantage of a HELOC is that most borrowers receive a tax break, since interest paid on the loan is often tax deductible. But it’s wise to consult a tax adviser before getting started.

“HELOCs unlock an array of benefits that will actually lower the overall cost of a home-improvement project and let homeowners save resources for the project itself, optimizing the return on investment,” Sauley said.

SELCO’s HELOCs are indeed useful tools to help cover the costs of home improvements, but cost isn’t the only consideration when committing to a project.

Before tapping into the equity of your home for upgrades, renovations, or improvements, homeowners should make sure the project is worth the cost and that the right form of credit is being used. As with any financial decision, due diligence is key. Not all home improvement projects are created equal, and every homeowner should first consider a project’s return on investment.

Modernizing a kitchen, projects that increase living space, energy-efficient upgrades, fixes to existing critical systems (such as electrical, heating, or plumbing), and improvements to the landscaping or outdoor living spaces can help preserve, or even increase, a home’s value.

SELCO’s expertise and personalized, local service—which has fueled the credit union for more than 85 years—only adds to the value of a HELOC.

“For most of us, home equity is our most valuable financial asset, and homeowners should never treat their home’s equity frivolously,” Sauley said. “SELCO’s lending team works directly with our members to help guide them through the entire process and help maximize their investment.”

Ready to start your home improvement project? Schedule an appointment with a SELCO representative, stop by your local branch, or call 800-445-4483 to see if a HELOC is right for your needs.

Despite above average snow, Kotek declares drought emergency for Deschutes Co.

Gov. Tina Kotek declared a drought emergency for Deschutes County Friday, joining previously announced emergencies for Crook and Jefferson counties.

The order directs state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region, the governor’s office said. Other tools include assistance to local water users and allows the Water Resources Department to expedite review processes and reduce fee schedules.

Friday’s declaration is for both Deschutes and Grant counties.

“Both counties have portions of extreme drought (D3) and are experiencing well below average water year precipitation,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Streamflow has also been well below average in both counties over the water year, with Deschutes at 78% and Grant at 44% of its average streamflow. Likewise, streamflow at their respective basins have been below average, with Deschutes at 71% and John Day at 39%.”‘

RELATED: Deschutes County board declares drought emergency

RELATED: Kotek declares Jefferson, Crook County drought emergencies

The governor’s office says reservoir conditions in the Deschutes Basin are approaching historic lows. They also say the soil moisture conditions across surface, root zone and shallow groundwater profiles are extremely dry.

While the snowpack in Deschutes County is above average (117%), the governor’s office says it will provide limited drought relief in some parts of the county.

RESOURCE: Current US Drought Monitor Map for Oregon

RESOURCE: US Drought comparison to two weeks ago


▶️ Dogs try out for goose hazing patrol in Bend

Visit any park along the Deschutes River and you’ll see people plenty of folks walking and kayaking. But there’s one kind of visitor leaving a mess on the sidewalks and they are not always welcome.

This week, Bend Park and Recreation District invited people and their four legged companions to see if they have the right stuff to help with clearing out Canada Geese.

Central Oregon Daily’s Gustavo Bautista reports.

RELATED: Leash your dog: Bend Park and Rec cracking down in awareness campaign

▶️ Little Did I Know: The Ale Apothecary founder Paul Arney

In Part 2 of Little Did I Know’s four-part series of Craft Beer Pioneers of Central Oregon, Meteorologist Scott Elnes meets an early employee of Deschutes Brewing that went on to establish his own business that is different from traditional breweries.

Meet Paul Arney of The Ale Apothecary.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish

▶️ Redmond woman makes Easter baskets for children in need

A Redmond woman is filling in for the Easter Bunny for some families.

Lindsay Fetcho has been making Easter baskets for children in need for five years.

“Each year,  I tried to do one or two families just to help. It’s just kinda gotten a lot bigger than expected. I chose to take a waiting list to see how many I could get,” Fetcho said.

That list is currently at 30, but it can still take more. She makes them for kids of all ages and takes in donations from the community and sponsors to help with supplies. 

Easter is not the only holiday she helps families with, either.

“We do it for Christmas, Thanksgiving. We’ll provide a meal for a family that can’t afford one,” Fetcho said.

Fetcho says she helped with over 60 meals for Thanksgiving and over 80 meals and gifts for Christmas this year.

As many know, experiencing the holidays after losing a loved one can be difficult. For Fetcho, this is a way to alleviate that pain.

“I lost my dad five years ago, so this just kind of helps keep me busy. It makes me feel good to help people, especially those in need,” Fetcho said.

Fetcho will deliver her baskets the day before Easter, which is April 9. She mostly delivers in Redmond and Bend, but can deliver to Madras and Prineville.

If interested in donating, you can contact Fetcho at (541) 283-5354 or her Facebook page.

Geothermal power plant developer wants to delist endangered Nevada toad

RENO, Nev. (AP) — In an unusual move that could pit two Biden administration agencies against each other, the developer of a planned Nevada geothermal power plant says it intends to sue U.S wildlife officials to overturn the endangered species listing of a toad in adjacent wetlands.

Ormat Technologies said in a 60-day notice of its intent to sue the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service that the listing of the Dixie Valley toad in December was illegal.

“The toad does not meet the definitional standard for a threatened — let alone endangered — species, and the service failed to base its decision on the best scientific and commercial data available,” Reno-based Ormat said.

RELATED: Wolverine spotted near Portland in rare sighting outside Wallowa Mountains

It’s the latest legal maneuver in a series of conflicts underscoring challenges President Joe Biden faces in vowing to protect fish and wildlife while also pushing development of so-called green energy projects on U.S. lands to help combat climate change.

A court battle over the toad’s listing would put the administration in the precarious position of using its Justice Department lawyers to defend the wildlife service’s decision to list the toad, while continuing to defend the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the geothermal project in a lawsuit brought by conservationists and a tribe.

The Interior Department, which oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service and the BLM, had no comment, spokesman Tyler Cherry said.

The project planned about 100 miles (161 kilometer) east of Reno is among three in Nevada at the forefront of Biden’s push to speed the transition from greenhouse-emitting fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.

The other two, which also face opposition from environmentalists and/or Native American tribes, are lithium mines intended to produce a key element in electric vehicle batteries.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe first sued the BLM in federal court in Reno in January 2022 seeking to block construction of the geothermal plant — a case that’s already made one trip to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ormat is a formal intervenor in that case, with its own lawyers arguing alongside the Justice Department lawyers representing the BLM.

The opponents say pumping hot water from beneath the earth’s surface to generate carbon-free power would adversely affect levels and temperatures of surface water critical to the survival of the toad, which is sacred to the tribe.

The service concluded in its listing decision that the geothermal project posed the single biggest threat to the toad and that “threatened species status is not appropriate because the threat of extinction is imminent.”

The decision came after the agency temporarily listed the speckled, quarter-sized amphibian on an emergency basis in April 2022, which marked only the second time in 20 years it had taken such emergency action.

The notice gives the wildlife service 60 days to “come into compliance” with the Endangered Species Act or face a lawsuit seeking to rescind the listing.

“The species is not currently in danger of extinction,” Jessica Woelfel, Ormat’s general counsel, wrote Wednesday.

The listing was “based on an outdated project design, inflated possible harms and disregard for Ormat’s mitigation plan,” Woelfel wrote. She said it doesn’t reflect a scaled back plan to initially build a much smaller 12 megawatt power plant, instead of two capable to producing 60MW.

Patrick Donnelly, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Great Basin director, said the organization is confident the listing will hold up in court.

’“There’s widespread consensus among government and independent scientists that this geothermal project puts the Dixie Valley toad at risk of extinction,” Donnelly said. “The only ones who disagree are those on Ormat’s payroll or at the Bureau of Land Management.”

Last summer, the San Francisco-based appellate court refused to grant a temporary injunction blocking construction of the power plant the bureau approved in December 2021.

But just hours after that ruling, Ormat announced that it had agreed to temporarily suspend all work on the project until this year. Then, in late October, the company asked for the case to be put on hold while it developed a smaller plan in anticipation of the endangered species listing.

Ormat said in its notice of intent to sue that the wildlife service knew the company was in the process of scaling back the size of the initial project when the agency issued the listing decision.

“As a result of Ormat’s proposal, BLM rescinded the 60 MW project approval and issued a new one for 12 MW … just days after the final listing rule,” the letter said.

“Any assessment of risk associated with a project five times larger than the approved project capacity is completely irrelevant,” it said. “A 60 MW project cannot currently threaten the (toad) because it literally does not exist.”

Portland’s Darcelle, world’s oldest working drag queen, dies at 92

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Walter C. Cole, better known as the iconic drag queen who performed for decades as Darcelle XV, has died of natural causes in Portland. Cole was 92.

Darcelle, who died Thursday, was crowned the world’s oldest working drag performer in 2016 by the Guinness Book of World Records and was regaling audiences until the very end.

As a performer, Darcelle was known for hosting the longest-running drag show on the U.S. West Coast. Off stage, Cole championed LGBTQ+ rights and charitable work in the Portland community.

The nightclub that Darcelle opened more than 50 years ago in downtown Portland, Darcelle XV Showplace, said it was heartbroken in a Facebook post.

“We ask for privacy and patience as everyone processes and grieves in their own way and at their own pace,” the club said.

They also said that details of a public memorial will be announced and all shows at the Showplace will go on as scheduled, per Darcelle’s wishes.

“Please join us and celebrate her legacy and memory, thank you in advance for your continued support,” it concluded.

The club, which had become a Portland cultural institution by the 1970s, was listed in 2020 on the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the first site in Oregon to be nominated specifically for its significance in LGBTQ+ history.

Fans mourned the death on social media, including Portland’s mayor and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who said “Darcelle carved out an unforgettable chapter in Portland’s history” with her “pioneering courage.”

Central Oregon Agriculture Show in Redmond this weekend

The Central Oregon Agriculture Show is happening in Redmond this weekend.

In addition to seminars and workshops on all things agriculture, there will be an antique tractor display and a working dog demonstration.

There’s also a kid zone to keep the little ones entertained.

The show happens Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

RELATED: Sisters farm among 11 in Oregon receiving federal grants

RELATED: Old Powell Butte Grange Hall gets new life as irrigation supply business

Three Rivers Elementary receiving grant from Trail Blazers Foundation

Three Rivers Elementary near Sunriver is one of several schools and organizations in Oregon receiving $101,000 in grants from the Portland Trail Blazers Foundation.

Money from the “Take It To The Court For Education” program directly supports academics, arts, athletics and community programs.

“There are schools, educators, and administrators across the state working tirelessly to create much needed opportunities for students and they deserve to be celebrated. We hope our contributions help them continue to have important positive impacts,” Trail Blazers Foundation Executive Director Annie Klug said in a statement.

Three Rivers will be using the money toward their skateboarding club.

And do you remember the Wheeler County Rattlers? That’s the 6-man football team we profiled last fall on its way to a second-straight state championship. They’re also receiving grant money to pay for uniforms.

An all, 19 schools and programs will benefit.

RELATED: Wheeler County Rattlers repeat in 6-player football state championship

RELATED: Behind the scenes: Wheeler County Rattlers 6-player football title repeat

BBQ, Blues and Whiskey Festival coming to Redmond in June

Mark your calendars for the Columbia Basin Exteriors BBQ, Blues and Whiskey Festival, coming up in June.

The promoter says the event will include live blues music, a hot wing challenge, a cornhole tournament, BBQ vendors, outdoor adventure vendors and a pig roast.

The festival is Friday, June 2, from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday, June 3 from 11am-10pm at the Deschutes County Expo Center in Redmond.

Tickets are now on sale at this link. Tickets for individual activities, including the Blazing Hot Wing Challenge, will be released soon.

RELATED: How did promoter pick Redmond for FairWell Festival