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Biz Beat 11-19-2015

Downtown merchants in Eugene are getting a head start on the holidays with a number of events before Thanksgiving, including a tree-lighting ceremony and entertainment from 5:15 to 6:30 pm Friday, Nov. 20, on the east Park Blocks. Many downtown shops will remain open until 8 pm. 

Saturday Market is closed for the season and Holiday Market starts this weekend at the Fairgrounds. The popular shopping, food and music extravaganza runs from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday with hundreds of booths offering hand-crafted items from jewelry to fiber arts to musical instruments. Find a list of vendors and a schedule of performers at holidaymarket.org.  

How’s the newspaper business doing in Oregon in 2015? We track newspaper circulation numbers provided by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and other sources. New numbers are out this month from recent reports. The Register-Guard appears to have lost 2,383 weekday subscribers and single-copy sales compared to last year. Weekday R-G copy sales are down to 41,280 and weekend distribution has also sagged. Bucking the trend, The Oregonian reports a growth in weekday subscriptions by 6,478 over last year (despite shrinking content). The Statesman-Journal in Salem has also picked up readers, boosting its weekday subscriptions by 1,070. The weekly papers in Cottage Grove, Florence and Springfield are holding steady and Eugene Weekly is growing a bit. Our average print run in 2014 was 39,415 and so far this year we are averaging 39,803. 

Lane County had 69 foreclosure filings in October, down from 77 in September, according to Gorilla Capital, a real estate company that tracks both judicial and non-judicial filings. The numbers go up and down but currently foreclosures are up 31 percent year-to-date over last year. The rise can be attributed to new legislation that “pushes borrowers and lenders into court,” says John Helmick of Gorrilla. 

Local real estate people tell us there are many reasons why houses and commercial properties go into foreclosure beyond health crises, job loss, divorce, etc. In some cases the owners could easily make payments, but choose foreclosure as a strategic move if the timing is right. If a property has too high a mortgage debt, too little equity or can’t be sold at a profit, owners might calculate that they would come out ahead by simply not making payments or paying taxes and letting the foreclosure process drag out for a year or two. That would trash their credit and make it hard to finance another house, but for people downsizing or who have other property, that might not be a big concern. Times have changed since the days when the sheriff would come kick you out if you were late on your mortgage payments. Banks today fear litigation and are very cautious. 

The Healthy Moves nonprofit is holding its annual benefit, youth fashion show and auction beginning at 6 pm Friday, Nov. 20, at the Oregon Wine Lab, 488 Lincoln Street. The organization is “dedicated to bringing movement, fitness and fun to a generation of kids that is the least active in history.” Tickets are $65. Call 632-2541 or email Maggie@hm4kids.org.