Commercial Real Estate For Sale! Milarkey Building in Pendleton, Oregon

For Sale!

The Historic Milarkey Building

Commercial Real Estate

Apartment and multi-use offices generate good cash flow!

Milarkey building on the corner of main and court st.

Milarkey building on the corner of main and court st.

Pendleton to become a test range for commercial drones. 

The commercial drone industry is expected to create 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic activity in its first decade. 

Link to test drone article Pendleton Drone Program




On the corner of two of the busiest streets in Pendleton!

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In the heart of downtown Pendleton,Oregon  Home of the “World famous Pendleton Round-Up.   This 5300 square ft multi-use office/apartment building has potential for many uses.

Located across from the completely remodeled Hamleys Western Store and Steak House, and down the street from the Pendleton Underground Tours.  This classic brick building is in the heart of the action in Pendleton, Oregon.

On the ground floor are four rented offices and owner uses fifth.  Second floor is large apartment currently rented out.
Also on ground floor is a workout room, sauna, lobby and  conference room. Basement is a large storage area.


Call for details and showing (541)-215-2274

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide

Finding Your Home

Finding the perfect home in Pendleton, Or can have a lot to do with finding a compatible real estate agent, especially in today’s evolving mortgage landscape.  It’s crucial to be in contact with an agent before starting the home search, because you might be looking at x when all you can afford is y. First-time home buyers in Pendleton should make it clear what features they’re looking for and how much they’re willing to spend.

Fix Your Credit

The first step toward buying a home in Pendleton takes place months before walking into your lender’s office. It’s crucial to check your credit score at least three to six months ahead of your mortgage application.  You can request a free copy of the report from each of the three credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Even if you don’t have great credit (720 or above) the most important thing to do is to take stock of what the figure means.  It’s more about why the number is than what the number is.”

Prepare for Down Payment and Closing Costs

A generation ago, it used to be the norm to put 20 percent down, but with the market in its current state of flux, many first-time home buyers in Pendleton are finding ways to pay just 3 to 5 percent of the total cost upfront. Federal Housing Act (FHA) loans increasingly have become a popular option for first-time buyers.  These competitively low-interest loans are ideal for buyers with less than perfect credit, and because the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimizes the risk of default for lenders on these loans, borrowers are only required to put down 3.5 percent of the cost–a far cry from the traditional 20 percent down payment.


Paying More at the Start

There are advantages to paying more at the start. A larger down payment ultimately means smaller monthly bills down the line. Also, if you purchase a conventional loan (i.e.: one that is not backed by a federal agency), paying 20 percent or more upfront will eliminate the need to pay Private Mortgage Insurance charges.  While it’s important to note that FHA loans also carry mortgage insurance with a down payment of under 20 percent, their low barriers to own still make them a good choice for first-time buyers.

Figure How Much House You Can Afford

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of your gross monthly income set aside for paying debts. While some loans may qualify you for up to 50 percent of your monthly gross income, it’s advisable that you use no more than 30 percent. Be realistic about how much you can pay, because an unexpected event could tear a hole in a tight budget.  So when calculating your budget, be completely honest about your spending habits, even if lenders say you qualify for more.

Make an Offer

Sellers in Pendleton can price a property however they see fit, but that doesn’t mean homebuyers should pay a ridiculous cost. “Get your agent to pull all the comparable sold properties that occurred in the last six months,” says Adamaitis. “How many were short-sales? How many were foreclosures? Then gauge by square foot the comparable cost.”

Get Your Money’s Worth

At signing, the buyer should demand that the contract be contingent on an objective appraisal of the house. Look into the history of the home and make sure there aren’t any liens against the property. You should be able to negotiate with the seller to make any necessary repairs to the house before closing on the deal.

Stay on Course

Beginning to end, you can expect the entire process to last  months. Of course, with as much great inventory on the market as there is, it’s not unusual for homebuyers to find something within two to four weeks.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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Some information gathered from aol real estate

The Pendleton Round-Up Gets Brighter at Night!

When do you know you had a fun time with a great friend at the Pendleton Round-Up?

I was sitting at home on the last night of the Pendleton Round-Up when I got a call from Ryan, a long time friend and fellow Star Wars fan.  As soon as I saw his number I knew I was headed downtown to check out the happenings on main street.  I was a little tired, but I couldn’t pass this up.  I wanted to explore main street and take pictures anyhow.  Twenty minutes later Ryan picked me up and we were headed for a night filled with a lot of laughs and a lot of food.  I wish all of you could meet Ryan, he is one of the funniest people I have ever known and would always be there if I needed help.  Going anywhere with Ryan always ends the same way.  When we say goodbye, I  have the feeling  like I  had done 1,000 stomach crunches and my jaw hurts.  Laughing to hard and eating too much.  It’s always the same.

This wasn’t our first round-up, but this was one of  the times we weren’t swinging from the chandeliers or pushing our way to the front of the bar in the crowded Rainbow Cafe.  The rodeo is the main attraction of the round-up, but you always need something to do after the Let’er Buck Room has closed.  Pendleton’s main street is the place to be.  Ryan and I walked around downtown Pendleton taking in all the sights and sounds.

After the rodeo you always need a drink and a bite to eat!

Sometimes I can take a cool pic!

The party rolls on outside Hamley’s Steak House

You would be surprised to see how many people get on and ride .

Everything on Main street

Cool metal work and art vendors

Downtown Pendleton

 Now for the Food!

We are finally going to eat and I’m happy for him

Chic tacos anyone?


Barbeque on main street!

I’ll have to ask Ryan if he was posing for the camera or if he liked the ribs.

Ryan is a home BBQ expert and helps put on the Buckaroo Barbeque Challenge for Cattle Barrons Weekend in May

Last year I had the horrible experience 😉 of judging all the delicious tri-tip and ribs during the Buckaroo Barbeque Challenge. Hopefully they ask me back 🙂

It’s dessert time!

I’ve eaten a lot of  elephant ears in my day, but never knew how they were made.

Elephant ear, funnel cake and whipped cream cheese with raspberry. So Good!

Now you get to watch us eat

It tastes as good as it looks.  I wish someone would invent Smell-a-Vision so you could use the most important sense when watching food on a TV or computer screen.

Jake’s Cakes is a new bakery on main street Pendleton Oregon.

I found their website

Jake’s Cakes website

Customers waiting on-line outside of Jake’s Cakes, a new bakery on main street

I think Ryan is negotiating a price on an Oakland Raiders wedding cake

  Check out Jake’s Cakes website and look at sample cakes in their photo book.

Round 2

Gotta have leftovers

 I had a great time and I hope you enjoyed reading my blog, looking at the pictures and watching the videos.  Pendleton’s main street is only one part of the Pendleton Round-Up, but it can be the best part if you have a good friend to share it with.

Thanks Ryan and goodnight!

If you are moving to Pendleton or just want to browse cool homes in Pendleton  Visit my site

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For my pictures, videos and updates of Pendleton RoundUp follow on Twitter @PendRoundUp

Westward Ho! Parade

The WestWard Ho Parade!

I wanted to share one part of the World Famous Pendleton Round-Up with those of you who couldn’t make it.  I would like to warn you, I am not a professional photographer and I don’t have a lens that can see lifeforms on mars.  I did enjoy this experience and I hope you will too.  Be sure to click on the pictures for a larger view.

Here we go!

Westward Ho! Parade, Friday morning 9/16/2011

Westward Ho! Parade

Main street before parade

Happy Canyon Princesses before parade

Start of Parade

Westward Ho!

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation2

Oregon State Participants

Stage Coach

Uninversity of Oregon

Westward Ho! Parade Participants

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho!

And finally, my favorite two pictures of the parade

Two buds taking it all in!

Great View!

Thanks for letting me share the Westward Ho! Parade.  I will have more posts on my experiences of the Pendleton Round-Up to come.

Moving to Pendleton? Browse homes in Pendleton. Check out my site!

Follow me on Twitter for Pendleton news and information @PendPropertys

Or for Pendleton RoundUp news, pictures and videos @PendRoundUp

Winds of the Pendleton Round-Up are Whipping!

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Are you ready for the hurricane that is

The Pendleton Round-Up!

There are only a few weeks left until the big show. The Pendleton Round-Up winds are gaining energy, the barometric pressure is dropping, the locals are starting  to leave town and only bravest of souls are left.  A storm surge is building in the small town of Pendleton, Oregon and when this storm hits mainland, you want to be here to see it.  I have to decided to ride out this hurricane I call, The World Famous Pendleton Round-Up!

When a storm of this magnitude is so close to mainland, most sane Americans  hit the road, but not in this case.  Everyday, more and more locals are stopping by my office to share stories of relatives picking up their camp wagons to start their  long journey out west to take part in the 101st annual Pendleton Round-Up Sept. 14-17 2011. I had a customer come in today and tell me about his relatives wanting to stay in an Indian teepee and he’s going to make it happen. The town is battening down the hatches to make sure rodeo fans will be blown away.

Twitter is buzzing (Follow @pendroundup) with stories and praise from bull riders, bull fighters, team ropers, cowboys, cowgirls and rodeo fans all over these great United States.  The charge on Facebook is being led by Pendleton Round-Up on Facebook and all of their 15,241 fans: read the stories, share the photos and most importantly the friends.

By the time the Round-Up Hurricane touches down, the town of Pendleton will have grown 3-4 times its original size of 15,000 for the four-day event.  If you only come to see the rodeo you will miss all the other great people and events.  Here are my recommendation when visiting Pendleton during Round-Up. Click the links below for more information.

The 2011Pendleton Round-Up court

The 2011 court represents the Round-Up and the entire community as they set the stage for this year’s event. Round-Up Royalty is always looked upon as the benchmark for rodeo courts and these young women promote the Pendleton Round-Up with the same quality and class as previous court members have done.    One of my dear friends was Round-Up Royalty,  Hi Annie!


Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West

Get a ticket today. Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West show “…depicts the settling of the American West, beginning with a portrayal of the Native American way of life prior to the arrival of the white man, continuing with the arrival of Lewis and Clark, followed by the prairie schooners of the pioneers of the Oregon Trail and concluding with a reenactment of a frontier town’s rollicking main street mishaps.” The show run September 14th-17th 2011. Show begins promptly at 7:45 p.m. Price: $10.00-$17.00.


Ronnie Dunn Will Take The Stage!

Ronnie Dunn photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

The concert kicks off the week-long Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon celebration on the Saturday before Round-Up in The Happy Canyon Arena. Ticket information.

Ronnie Dunn, a familiar voice in country music will take the stage at the Round-Up & Happy Canyon Concert on September 10. Ronnie Dunn made his mark as half of the duo Brooks & Dunn. Ronnie Dunn will be the starring act at the concert that kicks off a week of festivities.

Bull Riding Anyone?


Happy Canyon Arena hosts the world’s best cowboys mounted on the meanest bulls the Monday and Tuesday before Round-Up begins. Ticket information. Welcome to the PBR….The toughest sport on dirt.


Pendleton Underground Tours!

Take a Tour of Pendleton’s mysterious and historic underground!  Pendleton Underground Tours ( P.U.T.) is a non-profit corporation that started in 1989, giving tours of Pendleton’s red light district. The tour was very controversial because part of the subject matter is about gambling, the Chinese, bootlegging and prostitution. In 1990, after opening the “Cozy Rooms” bordello, Chinese jails and the Opium Den, the tour became even more questionable. The history of legal and illegal businesses operating in the same area for over 100 years makes the tour unique and like no other tour anywhere. The history of the Chinese in Eastern Oregon and their role in building the west is also unique. The tour is entertaining and interesting to all ages from 6 years old to 95 years old there is something for every member of the family.  Brooke will take care of you and don’t be afraid to tell her your best joke.  Make sure you call ahead to schedule your tour!  Follow on Twitter  @pendunderground


Rugged Country Chic

Rugged Country Chic is a local Pendleton, Oregon operated business.  They specialize in western jewelry, but they can make any kind of handmade jewelry.  They also have Dog collars, Rhinestones, Sunglasses, Flip Flops, Key chains.  “We Love our work and strive to make our customers Happy.”  Check out their website and get your custom made authentic western jewelery!   Katie will get you looking hot for the Pendleton Round-Up call (541) 310-7876 or email: also Rugged Country Chic on Facebook

Marla June’s Clothing Company

Marla Junes Store Front Photo Courtesy Marla Junes

Marla June’s features Brighton Jewelry along with unique jewelry made by local artists.Handbags by Brighton, Hobo, Jessica SimpsonRian, The Sak and Latico.Marla June’s specializes in women’s fashions for casual, business or fun.  Marla will help you find what you need.

Hamleys Store

Beautiful Saddles Photo Courtesy Hamleys & Company

The Hamley family moved to Pendleton 106 years ago and brought their saddle-making talents with them. Hamley & Co. of Pendleton has since become synonymous with top quality leatherwork and western goods. The store is the epitome of a Western store with clothing, tack, saddles, along with amazing bronze statues and historic merchandise cases and furniture. Watch the saddle makers crafting saddles to fit both cowboy and horse and carving the leather by hand, and visit the western art gallery on the mezzanine.


Rainbow Cafe

Rainbow Cafe Photo Courtesy Pendleton Chamber

I know you need a cold drink! A business on Main Street called the “State Saloon and Banquet” first opened its doors in 1883. Now, 127 years later, it is known as The Rainbow Café, and is the oldest business in town in its original location and still doing the same kind of business.  You’ll enjoy the historic photographs of past Pendleton Round-Up All Around Champions that line the walls.   I Play for the Rainbow  9 ball pool team and we were champs last year!  When ordering a drink ask for Jeff say Chris sent ya.

Hamley’s Steak House

Hamleys Steak House Photo Courtesy Hamleys & Company

It is difficult to understand what a unique tribute to the West the Hamley’s store and adjacent Steak House are. Historic back bars have been sought out from all over the west to put in the event rooms. The bank counter from Belle Fourche that was robbed by Jesse James and a rack of buffalo coats among numerous antiques and art add to the warm ambiance and experience. Looking for stiff drink? Ask Kristen to make you her special.
The legend rides on!

The Prodigal Son Brewery and Pub

Another Round! Photo Courtesy

Welcome to Pendleton’s First Craft Brewery!  Pendleton, Oregon. A small agricultural town located at the foothills of the beautiful Blue Mountains. And now home to some of the best beers in the state. We’re passionate about fermentation and it shows in our brews. Whether it’s a dry-hopped Northwest IPA or a malt-heavy Porter, the Prodigal Son Brewry is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of grain, hops and yeast. Creativity is something we value in our Ales and it’s our goal to incorporate regional ingredients into beers that go beyond convention. Brewing to style is not our objective; we prefer to focus our explorations on the potential of beer. Try my favorite adult beverage A Beer Named Sue!

That should get you started!

Image Courtesy of

I wish I could name all the places I love to hang during The Pendleton Round-Up, but I wouldn’t get any sleep tonight and seeing The Pendleton Round-Up is way better in person. 🙂

 Are you ready for the Round-Up Hurricane? I am!  I’m ready for a cat 7 to blow my roof off and make my windows shake!

With all this hurricane talk, wind blowing and rocking your world, you can experience the little things too.  Personally, I’ve been anticipating the smell of corn dogs and horse crap for way to long. If you haven’t had that aromatic concoction  invade you  nostrils, it’s a beautiful thing and there ain’t nothing like it.   See you at The Pendleton Round-Up and Let’er Buck

Check out Home for sale in Pendleton call Chris 541-215-2274. or visit

Follow me on Twitter @pendpropertys

Traffic jams! How do you deal with them?

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Does your commute to work ruin your day?

I visit Portland  a few times a year and I really like that beautiful city, but the traffic is just, UGH!  When I visit Portland I feel as if I have a little more patience, but I couldn’t imagine waiting in traffic more the 15 minutes, let alone 1-2 hours every day. I don’t know how residents of the Portland metro area, population 2.2 million deal with traffic stress.

Traffic View Southgate Pendleton, Oregon 8/18/2011

I live in Pendleton, Oregon where the streets are smooth sailing and traffic jams, well… I don’t’ think they have a definition for traffic jams out here.  Now, before you get on me about small towns, we have a STARBUCKS.  Pendleton’s population is around 16,500 people and I understand, more people = more traffic.

What is your experience with traffic jams, how do you deal with them?    

I have read studies on traffic congestion, traffic jams, ROAD RAGE and I was wondering how you deal with traffic.  It’s an experience I really don’t know anything about.

Isn’t that Crappie?

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Crappie fishing can’t be any better!

Another evening living in Pendleton, Oregon what to do?  How about some  crappie fishing at McKay Reservoir? 

When I’m not working as a broker for Sykes Real Estate or running Rapid Print, my printing business, I’m fishing! Catching crappie isn’t tough if you know what to do.

To catch a  lot of crappie you don’t need to be professional fisherman,  have a $20,000 boat,  or a $300 fishing pole and reel.  I’ll give you the run down of supplies.  I will also give you some pointers to catch crappie in Pendleton’s McKay Reservoir.  The fishing tackle and technique will work for most crappie fishing in Oregon.  Let’s get going!

Here’s what you need!

5ft Light Rod & Reel Combo I Got at Wal-Mart for $30

4-6 lb test line is all you are going to need for most lake fishing.

So you have a rod and reel now for the good stuff!

The most inportant thing you are going to need is bait and I find crappie jigs are the way to go.
The picture below is of my own crappie jigs. I used an Oregon quarter to show the relative size.   I’ve seen people fish with line wrapped around a beer can, but they always had a jig attached to the hook.

Jig Bodies $2-$4 for 25 at Bi-Mart

Crappie jigs come in different colors and sizes, but these are the jigs that I have had the most luck on.  The ultimate jig color is a white glow in the dark, but I haven’t used those in a while since the local mini-mart stopped carrying them.  If you can find those, snatch them up!  If  you notice the jigs are not that big and the simple answer to that is, crappie aren’t that big.  If I’m looking for a meal, I will catch five, 10-12 inch crappie, but there is no limit on size or quantity, so it’s up to you.  Here is a link to ODFW fishing website for fishing regulation!

Other supplies that I use!

A jig head with hook attached, swivel and bobber.  Again, I wanted to show the relative size of the fishing supplies.

Jig Head $2-$3 for 10 Swivel $2-$3 for 15 and Bobber $2-$3 for 10

The jig head with hook goes into the body of the jig. A swivel is used to keep your line from twisting and the bobber is used to keep your bait off the lake bottom.  I usually attach a bobber on the fishing line  1-2 feet above my jig or bait, right in the sweet spot.   I let the fishing tools do all the work.  I like to to relax when I fish for crappie.

How to apply jig head to body of the jig then tie to fishing line!

How to insert jig head in to the body of the jig

Push the pointy end of the hook through the end of the jig body, keep pushing until the hook comes out near the end of the skirt “the wavy pink arms in these pictures.”   Make sure you secure the jig into the body all the way or it will come off.  I’ve had that happen and wondered why I wasn’t catching anything.  After you have inserted the jig head into the body of the jig, next is tying your line to the jig.  For this I use one of the most common sport fishing knots.

The Clinch Knot

The Clinch Knot

This knot is used by most sport fishermen to attach a swivel or jig to their line.  This knot is strong and won’t slip, but it does take some practice.  I have tied this knot 1,000’s of times and if done right, you wont have to worry about your knot coming undone.   Here is step by step instruction to The Clinch Knot hit play and try it out for yourself.  There are many knots you can learn that will help you fish, but will help in everyday life also.

So, you have learned what to use, now you need some technique!

If you are unfamiliar of how to cast, learning how to cast is best done by learning from someone else, but if you’re the independent type, try your backyard.  If you want to get ready for your upcoming crappie fishing event, but don’t know how to cast, get familiar with casting in your back yard.  You can practice alone and you also get the benefit of straightening your line.  Most fishing line is coiled around a spool which bends the line.  When fishing line is bent for a long period of time it forms a memory of the spool it was coiled around.  The line will come off the spool in coils.  Some fishermen straighten their line by stretching it all the way out and pulling on it to get the bends out.

Fishing Line

So, you have all your gear, you know how to tie a fishing knot and learned how to cast.  Now it’s time to hit the lake!

Crappie fishing is best done in the morning or in the evening, and because I am a night owl, I prefer the evening.  During the summer months at McKay reservoir and I assume most places, there is a time of the evening between 7-9 that the fish start to feed, you will know this because  THE BITE IS ON!  This could last a 1/2 hour or go two full hours depending on water temp, how much food the fish are already eating, but they will hit your jig over and over.

Finding a good spot and going for it!

You will need to find a spot that looks good.  Look for a tree near by for shade and make sure the water is deep enough for fish to swim down out of the sunlight.  I fish two different ways.  One way is to use a bobber. Set the bobber 1-2 feet above your jig, throw it in and let it sit.  Once you see that bobber go under, FISH ON!  The other way is to jig the bottom.  This doesn’t require a bobber, but you will have to be more active.  The technique is to let the jig sink to the bottom of the lake and when it hits, pull your pole up, then let is sink back to the bottom again.  Up down, up down, this simulates a swimming food source.  This takes some practice and a touch to know when to set the hook. You should try it in a shallow part of the lake to see what it looks like.  Those are the only two I use and I have great success, easy huh?

Whelp, that’s it! I think it’s your turn, now that you know what to do!

As you can see I just started!

Good luck and maybe I’ll do another post on filleting your crappie.  They are so good battered and fried in a little oil.

I live in Pendleton, Oregon and this is what I do for fun!

Visit my website Looking for a home in Pendleton or Oregon in general.  Call me and I will email you all the information on the house you are interested in.  Chris Sykes, Sykes Real Estate (541)215-2274

Pendleton Oregon and History

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Pendleton Oregon and History

Pendleton, Oregon a city of 16,354 in the 2000 census, sits in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The city center is built on the south bank of the Umatilla River, which runs roughly east and west through town. Pendleton’s motto is “The Real West,” and it prides itself on its agricultural and ranching past. It is home to the Pendleton Woolen Mills, which originally made blankets for trade with nearby Native Americans, and the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the ten largest rodeos in the world.

The earliest commercial business in Pendleton dates to 1851, when Dr. William C. McKay (pronounced mack-EYE) established a trading post at the confluence of McKay Creek and the Umatilla River. A post office, Marshall Station, was established in 1865. The community was later renamed Pendleton after George H. Pendleton, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate of 1864, and was incorporated on October 25, 1880.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Pendleton was home to a large population of Chinese laborers who had come to work on the railroads. An underground tour is a popular tourist attraction, where visitors are led into basements of downtown businesses where opium dens, illegal gaming parlors, and a Chinese laundry were purported to have existed during the 1890s. Take the Pendleton Underground Tours and see it for yourself!

From its early beginnings, Pendleton was a railhead that served as a shipping point for the wool industry, which included the many sheep ranches in the area and the Pendleton Woolen Mills, originally a wool-scouring plant. Early on, the company began producing blankets for trade with Native Americans, and it eventually expanded its offerings to include clothing. Pendleton blankets are now prized for their quality and distinctive designs.

The Pendleton Round-Up  Sept. 14-17  2011 is an annual event that can quadruple the town’s population. Occurring in the second full week in September, the Round-Up features four days of rodeo; two parades, including one that prohibits motorized vehicles or rubber tires; a concert; and the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant, which bills itself as the “Epic Drama of the West.” The Round-Up is known for including Native American participants in a powwow dance competition, the Indian Village, Happy Canyon princesses, and the American Indian Beauty Pageant. One of the larger-than-life figures from Pendleton’s colorful history is Sheriff Tillman “Til” Taylor, one of the founders of the Round-Up. He was shot to death in a jailbreak in 1920, and a park in downtown Pendleton bears his name.

Pendleton also has its place in Oregon literature, providing the setting for Craig Lesley’s Winterkill and likely the setting for H.L Davis’s short story, “Old Man Isbell’s Wife.” Last Go Round: A Real Western, by Ken Kesey and Ken Babb, is a fictionalized account of the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up and its legendary ending in which three cowboys—Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce; George Fletcher, an African American; and John Spain, a Caucasian—tied for the all-around championship. When Spain won the tie-breaker, there was a general uproar from the crowd, which believed the results were skewed. Reportedly, Sheriff Taylor took up a collection from the crowd by tearing up pieces of Fletcher’s hat and selling them. He then awarded the money to Fletcher as the people’s champion.

Pendleton benefits from its proximity to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. CTUIR operates the Wild Horse Casino and golf course; the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, an interpretive center that tells the story of the effects of the Oregon Trail from the Native American perspective (the only one of its kind); and Nixya’awii, a charter school that is focused on Native American culture, native languages, and the tribal community. Nixya’awii was the Oregon charter school of the year in 2006-2007. Crow’s Shadow, an institute for the arts, was co-founded by painter James Lavadour (Walla Walla/Chinook), a Pendleton native. CTUIR also administers Wildhorse Foundation, a philanthropic agency that supports projects in northeast Oregon. While the city of Pendleton shares a border with the reservation, CTUIR has its own government and laws.

Pendleton serves as a cultural center for eastern Oregon, with two symphony orchestras, a strings program in the public schools (the only one in eastern Oregon), a thriving arts center, and Blue Mountain Community College. Many touring bands (mostly alternative and bluegrass) stop on their way from Portland to Boise to play at the Great Pacific in downtown Pendleton. Pendleton is also home to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Facility, a medium security adult-male correctional facility. The business district has undergone recent revitalization, anchored by the Hamley Building, an award-winning restoration of one of Pendleton’s earliest saddle-making establishments, and The Prodigal Son Brewery, which has resurrected Pendleton’s early brewing tradition.


Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon part 5

Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon


If you want to get maximum value out of the home you buy, whether it’s brand new or used, make sure it’s properly landscaped. Good landscaping can enhance the appearance of  a new home in Pendleton and make it look “established.” It can compliment the architecture and provide a pleasant environment for outdoor living. Landscaping can also help create privacy and reduce noise. Landscaping can act as a windbreak and can also keep the home cooler in hot weather.

Good landscaping can often increase by 10 or 15 percent the price you can get when you sell the property in Pendleton.

But do remember that a good landscaping job can cost a lot of money. If you want a lot more than the minimum that builders usually provide, think about having the builder coordinate with a landscape architect to install it when you buy a home in Pendleton, add it to the cost of the home and then you can pay it off over the length of the mortgage rather than parting with a lot of cash at the outset. 


You own a rental property in Pendleton that has appreciated over double in value. Now, you want to buy another property in Pendleton that has about the same current value. Would it make more sense to sell the first property and then buy the second?

Not really unless you want to pay unneeded capital gains tax. It would be wiser to consider a tax-free swap. In this way, you would not have to pay any gains tax on the big profit you’ll make on the original property. In fact, you could keep the excess cash you receive over the deposit you’ll need for the second Pendleton property as a tax-free gift from Uncle Sam. A swap is a swap and not a sale.

You can only exchange like properties (like rental property for rental property) not an apartment house for a yacht or a private residence. Also, you must find a new property in Pendleton within 45 days and buy it within 180 days. Make sure you have professional real estate and legal help. An exchange is not for amateurs.


Some first-time Pendleton home buyers (actually 20 percent) are fortunate enough to buy their first homes in Pendleton with help from their parents. In these cases, parents typically provide half the down payment for would-be homeowners who otherwise would not have savings and incomes large enough to qualify for a mortgage.

Parents tend to make a gift rather than a loan in such cases because too much debt can count against prospective borrowers when qualifying for a Pendleton home loan. As long as the buyers ante up a fourth of the down payment, lenders don’t care if family generosity makes up the difference. However, they WILL ask for a gift letter, a simple document acknowledging that parents do not expect repayment.

On the other hand, if there is an actual LOAN being made from parent to child, it should be secured with the same sort of paperwork that a bank would use. That way, the interest repaid will be fully deductible as a home acquisition loan.


QUESTION: What effect does the present tax law have on capital gains tax when I sell my home in Pendleton?

ANSWER: It has a tremendous effect and it could not be better for the Pendleton homeowner. The latest tax law now allows homeowners to avoid paying taxes on the first $500,000 of profits in a home for joint filers, or on the first $250,000 of profits for single filers at the time they sell the home.

To make matters even better, a homeowner can use this $500,000 tax exemption repeatedly, as long as he or she lives in each house for at least two years.

If you are one of the few whose profit is over $500,000, there’s more good news. The top tax rate on capital gains has dropped from 28 percent to 20 percent. For those in the lowest tax bracket, it falls from 15 percent to 10 percent. The new tax look is here and it is great for Pendleton home sellers. 


Once you get a loan commitment, don’t take it for granted that you will get the loan. Since lenders take a risk when committing to a fixed-rate loan, they often put in conditions.

For example: a commitment can become null and void if the borrower fails to qualify, the appraisal falls short of the contract price, the loan isn’t closed before the commitment expires or a third party fails to provide necessary documents. To protect themselves against wide swings in interest rates, some lenders will insert a clause which releases them if rates change more than a certain amount. Often, fine print clauses allow the lender to back out should the original terms no longer be advantageous.

This is why it is extremely important that the buyer utilize the services of a real estate professional. Knowing what to look for, understanding the terminology and being able to explain every minor detail to clients is a valuable service Realtors can provide. 


Most first-time Pendleton home buyers are renters. As such, the best time to close on a home in Pendleton is when your current lease ends. Don’t sign another year-long lease if you expect to buy a home before the lease period expires. Doing so will end up with a dent in your pocketbook from writing rent and mortgage checks. If you can’t time your closing correctly, approach your landlord about a shorter lease – say, three to six months in length. One alternative is a month-to-month lease. You  may be able to ask your landlord to include an escape clause in your new lease that will allow you to get out of  your lease with 30 or 60 days’ notice.

Coming from a cramped rental, almost any home in Pendleotn will look good. Try to avoid jumping at the first house you see. Look at many to see what’s on the market. Inspect different types of homes in Pendleton including condos, duplexes, townhouses and single-family homes. Some objectivity should have returned. Now make your choice.


There are two truths about Pendleton home renovation: Every project costs more and takes longer than expected. So, before you start, keep your cost estimate high and remember the words, “Return on investment.” Whether you hire professionals or do the renovation yourself, be aware that your investment will not always result in dollar-for-dollar increase in the value of your Pendleton home. Although some homeowners do make a profit on their remodeling, history tells us that some Pendleton homeowners won’t even recover their costs.

Do your homework. Get estimates on the costs. Study the local real estate market to be sure you’re making improvements that Pendleton home buyers want and will pay for.

Don’t go overboard. Getting your money out of a house priced well above neighboring houses will be difficult. As a general rule, the value of the home AFTER renovation should not exceed the value of any house in your neighborhood by more than 20 percent.


Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon part 4

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Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon


Do you know what’s in your credit file? Your local credit bureau may have detailed information on your financial status which they sell to interested parties. When you apply for a mortgage loan, the bank will review your bill paying history as reflected in your credit file. Negative information, even if it’s wrong, can cause your application to be rejected – or at least questioned. Don’t wait until you NEED credit before checking out your credit history. Ask your bank how to find your credit bureau.

Under the Fair Credit reporting Act, you have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. There is normally a small charge ($5 to $15) unless you’ve been turned down within the last 30 days (in which case you can review your file for free.)

You can require the bureau to investigate any item which you think is incorrect or incomplete. It must correct all mistakes and notify anyone who recently looked at your file of any correction.


Buying a home in Pendleton has never been an easy task and it’s not getting any easier. Pendleton home values continue to increase faster than the cost of living. I see would-be buyers who have searched for months to find a “dream home” only to find out they could not qualify for a loan for that price house.

Ironically, it’s a heartache most buyers can avoid simply by doing a bit of arithmetic and talking with their Realtor or Lender BEFORE they start hunting for a new home. If you know how much the bank will lend you PRIOR to your Pendleton home hunting, you won’t waste time looking for a house you may not be able to afford.

I am familiar with the local bank and can recommend a loan officer to visit with. Bring your financial numbers along (assets, debits, gross income, expenses, etc.). You’ll get an estimate of how much the bank will lend you and have something solid to work with to look for a home that fits your budget.


If you think a 5 or 10-year auto loan is a long time to pay off a car, get ready for the 40-year mortgage. It’s just popping its head over the horizon now. Climbing real estate values are forcing some borrowers to stretch home loan payments beyond the conventional 15 or 30-year periods.

So far, these 40-year mortgages have caught on only in such high-priced real estate markets such as California, New York and Washington, D.C. However, if home prices continue upward, longer term mortgages may spread.

If the 40-year mortgage becomes more popular, it should be treated gingerly – as a last resort for folks anxious to own a home in Pendleton at any price. That crucially lower monthly payment may sometimes make the difference for certain buyers to qualify for a loan. However, you’ll pay for the opportunity with a decade of extra interest. This could be a lot – like $60,000 on a $100,000 loan.


All lenders must now meet disclosure requirements for adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS). Among these are: an historical example of how the requested loan would have worked during the last 15 years; how to convert that example to the borrower’s own situation, and a worst-case illustration of how the loan could perform if rates go up through the roof.

To show how the loan will perform under the worst possible circumstances, the example starts at the initial rate and moves rapidly up to the top interest rate and payment possible. Lenders must also explain how the index is adjusted and how future interest rates and payments will be determined.

As you know, interest rates can change either upward or downward with an adjustable loan. It’s nice to know how these rate changes (in either direction) will affect your future monthly payments. That’s what the disclosure will tell you.


What can you do when you have serious damage to your home in Pendleton but not enough insurance to cover the loss? If the damage was not fully paid for from insurance proceeds, you can take a deduction on your federal income tax. What kind of losses qualify for this deduction?

Generally, to qualify for the federal casualty loss tax deduction, the cause must occur quickly and unexpectedly and not be a routine event. Examples include a fire, flood, theft, accident, earthquake, vandalism, tornado, broken water pipes, hurricane or earth slide. You should be prepared to prove such losses in case of an audit. To prove your losses, you should have before-and-after photos, professional appraisals, repair bills, police reports, purchase receipts and insurance settlement appraisals.

The amount you may deduct on a casualty loss is the decline in the property’s market value, less insurance payments and a $100 deduction. Frankly, you’re better off having enough insurance.


First impressions are important, but don’t let them keep you from missing a real gem of a home. Stop and consider the possibilities.

Does the place need just a few cosmetic improvements to feel right? Would new carpeting, appliances, contemporary hardware, different light fixtures or fresh paint and paper make the place feel like home? These are fairly minor changes and are relatively easy alterations to make.

Check your storage needs against the possibilities for expansion. How about bathrooms? If the addition of a first floor powder room would make this house perfect, is there room for one? Look at all the nooks and crannies as having potential “growing room.” Remember interior spaces can be reworked, walls removed, spaces reoriented and traffic redirected to make a chopped-up floor plan flow like magic. Built-in bookcases can be added and windows and doors can be replaced with a style and decor which feels more like “home” to you.


Cars have emission standards – now, wood stoves do too. The EPA has set strict standards on how much soot, gas and pollution can go up the chimneys of all wood-burning products. Some units now on the market already meet or exceed these standards. New technology has allowed wood stoves to clean up their pollutants and operate at new levels of efficiency.

Most of the new wood stoves are using a catalytic combustor to meet the EPA requirements. Placed on the baffle or damper inside the exhaust vent, a catalytic combustor burns the gases that otherwise would escape up the chimney. The result is 80 to 90 percent less emission and increased heat output.

Catalytic combustors can be retrofitted to existing wood stoves, although these are less efficient than built-ins. The combustor will need replacement after two to five years, but by burning only well-seasoned hardwoods, you can reduce this problem.

My next blog post will cover: First Time Home Buyer, Landscaping Can Raise Value and Like for Like Exchange.  See you then!