Where the MONEY ISN’T – and why Molalla better wise up

The headline “10 Places where sellers slashed prices in June” caught my eye this morning (see below for text). With the end to the artificial stimulus of the federal tax credits, June was an ugly month for home values in America. Many of the cities on the “top 10” list cut asking prices up to FORTY PERCENT!

The article leads to a link to Trulia for Molalla area price slashing, trends and foreclosures. Molalla sure isn’t the place to hang your hat these days! The Molalla price slash site showed may current listings had cut prices from 5% to over 10% in June, with an overall year to year decline in property values of almost 9%.

The current median price for a Molalla property is $195,000, putting Molalla below Canby ($215,000), Colton ($218,000) and Mulino ($313,000). It’s hard without a lot of research to get an accurate foreclosure picture but Trulia lists almost 130 Molalla foreclosures as well.

You might say “I’m not selling so why should I care?”. You should care because the lower the prices go and the more the foreclosures pile up, eventually the tax revenues will follow the trend, leading to far lower revenues for the County and for the City of Molalla. The County assessor has already told me that real estate is selling in some cases for below tax assessed values, which means that when enough facts about comparable properties can be collected, even those who aren’t selling can demand a decrease in property tax.

Have houses next to you sold for below tax value? Keep close watch because you can demand a tax reduction. And city “leaders” should keep close watch, because unlike the County the City appears to be in total denial about the ugly downward trend. Too bad Molalla was too stupid to put quality above quantity – now there are acres of cheaper than cheap stuffed in houses to choose from and buyers can go to well run, transparent cities like Canby and find bargains.

Let’s see: live in Canby with professional planning, SDCs and legal periodic review, a great library, real businesses like Fred Meyer and Wilco, closer links to the Metro area, sidewalks! OR: live in Molalla miles from good roads, with no local jobs, no good stores, pay for a nepotism based City Hall with a “guy” off the street doin’ legally indefensible plannin’, suffer a bunch of “leaders” who only care about helping developers, “enjoy” ditches instead of sidewalks, pay taxes through the nose to cover the sins of years of no SDCs, and support good old boy business “leaders” (TEAM!) who don’t give a crap about quality of life for residents and only want to get into everyone’s wallets? Not too hard a choice for the home shoppers, I’d say!

Molalla better wise up and see the DEPRESSION stamped on downtown. Molalla better wake up and see the mass exodus of the middle class and deal with the reality of the what the lowest of the low property values means for future demographics.

Molalla better wise up and realize who the future voters will be: people who move to Molalla because it is the CHEAPEST PLACE are likely to be CHEAP when it comes to taxes and bonds. And the VOTERS already here are DISGUSTED.

And Molalla better wise up and know that less means less in all areas: less for schools, less for roads, less for fire, less for parks, less public dole grants and handouts from County and State – and less to pay the bloated city staff.

So I’ll sit back and watch the City Council, as usual, do exceeding dumb things with the limited public funds. Other cities have citizen oversight committees to ensure that DIVERSE groups of residents have the deciding say on important money matters like what projects receive urban renewal money.

I can hardly wait to see what kind of bullshit goes on here with the “play” urban renewal money that Atkins has stolen from the schools and fire district. I hear he wants to build a road in the worthless industrial park – that would fit with his disrespect for the quality of life needs like parks and sidewalks – god forbid that Molalla ever spend anything for the GOOD OF THE RESIDENTS! Can’t you just see the good old boy developers huddling behind the scenes with their greedy hands out to Atkins and plannin’ dude, while Atkins encourages the Council to be the rubber stamp for the urban renewal give-away fiasco to come? It should turn the stomach of every tax payer!

Let’s have that vote on money for schools, it will come at a PERFECT TIME – when Atkins will have squandered urban renewal money and hordes of people will vote NO to further abuse of taxes.

Urban renewal should NEVER have been allowed here and the cry will be horrific if anyone tries to ask people to vote yes for more money for anything as long as Atkins and the Council keep building the urban renewal slush fund which SHIFTS THE TAX BURDEN TO THE AREAS THAT AREN’T IN THE FROZEN URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICT.

Here’s an excellent message I got from the leaders of Cascade Policy Institute about urban renewal (quote):

“Urban renewal takes money that would otherwise flow to special districts, and allows UR governing boards to then treat the UR districts as their own little “Monopoly” boards where they get to spend funny money on hotels, houses, utilities, etc., with no risk to themselves from making bad decisions. I think the entire concept of urban renewal makes no sense and I’d like to see UR agencies eliminated. Central planning does not trump market forces, it just re-distributes wealth and usually destroys wealth in the process.

Recently when the Tualatin mayor tried to expand his UR district, the idea was killed due to opposition from the local fire district and school district. They saw it as a direct cost to them – I never heard anyone talking about Salem making up the difference.” (end quote)

John Charles
President & CEO
Cascade Policy Institute

I am especially enamored about the “no risk to themselves for making bad decisions” part! Isn’t that EXACTLY the definition of “leadership” in Molalla: a huge list of failures and bad decisions that created a crumbling, shuttered city, yet the “leaders” want to pretend they can play with the “big guys” and not drive this hicksville further into the abyss  – and they can’t even see or admit how big the pit already is? Are they blind and deaf? Or maybe they just listen to the endless “can’t see reality if it clubbed us”  prattle from TEAM.

TEAM and city “leaders” can’t admit that “market forces” killed Molalla and “market forces” can’t be changed with goofy “want” surveys or people dragging themselves to the sad downtown for a corny event like “Second Friday”.

Fry bread and a free movie won’t change the direction of the demographics or the downward spiral of local property values – and fry bread and a free movie aren’t going to convince business to troop down the junky suicide run roads to locate here.

Get ready for REALLY tough sledding. I hope that sleazy urban renewal fund is worth it when we get to VOTE ON ANY MONEY MEASURES HERE. I hope Atkins (remember: West Linn celebrated when Molalla hired him as third choice for city manager – guess that made “mayor” Clarke at least the fourth place loser in that race, no wonder he wants a 4 year term!) saved a TON of money for a PR campaign if the fire or schools try to ask for money!

And hey, has anyone checked to see how big the Molalla plannin’ deficit is? Every SANE city, county and state agency has cut staff to the bone but Molalla plannin’ swells the deficit just by keeping the doors open (remember that cheap professional way to good planning: County contract planning?).Hey Atkins, did you get a cute new assistant to help you drive Molalla into the dark ages? Cheaper is cheaper unless it is the “funding” for Molalla city staff, then the sky is the limit –  what a rip-off!

Below is the link to the price SLASH list for Molalla homes (how does YOUR property compare? Is it time for a reassessment?). Don’t miss the haunted brand new unfinished mansion at 11512 S Barnards Rd on this list, it is a symbol for me of how doomed the market is. Be sure to write the real estate agent and ask why there aren’t any INTERIOR pictures of that house – that’s because, after a couple of different defaults over several years it STILL ISN’T FINISHED INSIDE! Or don’t waste your time – the agent is too bummed to respond, I already tried.

http://www.trulia.com/for_sale/Molalla,OR/365_pr/

10 CITIES WHERE SELLERS SLASHED HOME PRICES IN JUNE (quote Huffington Post):

If you’re looking for a home in Boston, Phoenix Baltimore, Dallas or Minneapolis, we have some good news. For the second month in a row, home sellers are cutting prices in droves in these cities, according to Trulia, which maintains one of the most comprehensive real estate sites on the web.

“Buyers definitely have the upper hand in negotiations this season,” said Trulia’s co-founder and CEO Pete Flint, in a statement announcing this month’s price reduction report.

As of July 1, 24 percent of listings on the market have experienced at least one price reduction, a nine percent increase from the previous month.

On the whole, price reductions have become more frequent during the past few months, fueled by the expiration of the federal first-time home buyer tax credit. This July, 22 out of 50 of the largest U.S. cities had at least 30 percent of homes reduced in price, compared to 10 cities last month, Trulia reports. Nationally, the average price reduction was 10 percent.

Check out the U.S. cities in which the largest percentage of home sellers are cutting prices — and visit Trulia for more information.

(Katerina Stamatiou contributed to this report)

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