07-24-2024  2:32 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

Wildfires Threaten Communities in the West as Oregon Fire Closes Interstate, Creates Its Own Weather

Firefighters in the West are scrambling as wildfires threaten communities in Oregon, California and Washington. A stretch of Interstate 84 connecting Oregon and Idaho in the area of one of the fires was closed indefinitely Tuesday. New lightning-sparked wildfires in the Sierra near the California-Nevada border forced the evacuation of a recreation area, closed a state highway and were threatening structures Tuesday.

In Washington State, Inslee's Final Months Aimed at Staving off Repeal of Landmark Climate Law

Voters in Washington state will decide this fall whether to keep one of the country's more aggressive laws aimed at stemming carbon pollution. The repeal vote imperils the most significant climate policy passed during outgoing Gov. Jay Inslee's three terms, and Inslee — who made climate action a centerpiece of his short-lived presidential campaign in the 2020 cycle — is fighting hard against it. 

SneakerWeek 2024 Launches in Pioneer Courthouse Square July 26

The event brings together industry experts, BIPOC designers and sneaker enthusiasts.

Money From Washington's Landmark Climate Law Will Help Tribes Face Rising Seas, Climate Change

Tens of millions of dollars raised by a landmark climate law in Washington state will go to Native American tribes that are at risk from climate change and rising sea levels to help them move to higher ground, install solar panels, buy electric vehicles and restore wetlands. The Quinault Indian Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula is getting million to help relocate its two main villages to higher ground, away from the tsunami zone and persistent flooding.

NEWS BRIEFS

Dr. Vinson Eugene Allen and Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care Make a Historical Mark as the First African American Owned Chain of Urgent Care Facilities in the United States

Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care validated as the First African American Owned Urgent Care in the nation with chain locations ...

Washington State Black Legislators Endorse Kamala Harris for President

Members of the Washington State Legislative Black Caucus (LBC) are proud to announce their enthusiastic endorsement of Vice President...

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awarded More Than $11 Million to Increase Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing

Part of a nearly 0 million Climate Pollution Reduction Grant awarded to Oregon ...

Merkley, Senators Urge VA to Expand Access to Medical Cannabis for America’s Veterans

Senators’ letter follows DEA’s recommended rescheduling of cannabis from earlier this year ...

Federal Appeals Court Declines to Restore Voting Rights in Mississippi

Thousands of Mississippians Face “Especially Cruel” Disenfranchisement Scheme ...

Oregon fire is the largest burning in the US. Officials warn an impending storm could exacerbate it

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A wildfire burning in Oregon that's kicking smoke into neighboring states is now the largest active blaze in the U.S., authorities said, and fire crews are bracing for a storm late Wednesday that's expected to bring lightning, strong winds and the risk of flash floods. ...

Wildfires threaten communities in the West as Oregon fire closes interstate, creates its own weather

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Firefighters in the West are scrambling as wildfires threaten communities in Oregon, California and Washington, with at least one Oregon fire so large that it is creating its own weather. Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon was closed in both directions Tuesday...

Chiefs set deadline of 6 months to decide whether to renovate Arrowhead or build new — and where

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs have set a deadline of six months from now to decide on a plan for the future of Arrowhead Stadium, whether that means renovating their iconic home or building an entirely new stadium in Kansas or Missouri. After a joint ballot initiative with the...

Missouri governor says new public aid plan in the works for Chiefs, Royals stadiums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he expects the state to put together an aid plan by the end of the year to try to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals from being lured across state lines to new stadiums in Kansas. Missouri's renewed efforts...

OPINION

The 900-Page Guide to Snuffing Out American Democracy

What if there was a blueprint for a future presidential administration to unilaterally lay waste to our constitutional order and turn America from a democracy into an autocracy in one fell swoop? That is what one far-right think tank and its contributors...

SCOTUS Decision Seizes Power to Decide Federal Regulations: Hard-Fought Consumer Victories Now at Risk

For Black and Latino Americans, this power-grab by the court throws into doubt and potentially weakens current agency rules that sought to bring us closer to the nation’s promises of freedom and justice for all. In two particular areas – fair housing and...

Minding the Debate: What’s Happening to Our Brains During Election Season

The June 27 presidential debate is the real start of the election season, when more Americans start to pay attention. It’s when partisan rhetoric runs hot and emotions run high. It’s also a chance for us, as members of a democratic republic. How? By...

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024: The Cost of the American Dream Jumped 47 Percent Since 2020

Only 1 in 7 renters can afford homeownership, homelessness at an all-time high ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Body camera video focused national attention on an Illinois deputy's fatal shooting of Sonya Massey

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A riveted nation watched video released this week of a sheriff's deputy fatally shooting Sonya Massey, a 36-year-old Black woman who called 911 for assistance, in her Illinois home. Sean Grayson, 14 months into his career as a deputy sheriff for Sangamon...

Puerto Rico bans discrimination against those who wear Afros and other hairstyles on diverse island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday signed a law that prohibits discrimination against people wearing Afros, curls, locs, twists, braids and other hairstyles in the racially diverse U.S. territory. The move was celebrated by those who had long demanded...

Harris asks for 2024 support from women of color during an address at a historically Black sorority

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris told members of the historically Black sorority Zeta Phi Beta on Wednesday that “we are not playing around” and asked for their help in electing her president in November. “In this moment, I believe we face a choice between two...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: East Texas P.I. turns vigilante in funny and savage 'Sugar on the Bones'

Minnie Polson was in some sort of trouble, so a friend recommended the private eye firm of Hap Collins, his wife Brett, and their pal Leonard Pine. But when they meet, Minnie doesn’t like their attitude, and they don’t like hers. Hours after they agree to part company, Minnie’s...

Book Review: The Knights of Camelot search for a new king in Lev Grossman’s 'The Bright Sword'

A rudderless nation, lost in uncertainty, searches for its next commander in chief. There’s an uneasy sense that the country’s glory days have passed, and that a monumental turn in history is coming — for good or for ill. How do you find a leader to unite such a fractured, polarized land? ...

Music Review: Glass Animals weave heartstring-tugging vignettes on new album

Love songs have existed for millennia but leave it to Glass Animals to give them a refreshing spin, where love isn't always a honeymoon phase or heartbreak — it's much, much more. The British indie-pop band, known for hits like 2014's “Gooey” or 2020's viral “Heat Waves," has...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

This is one of the oldest games in North America. You've likely never heard of it

CHOCTAW, Miss. (AP) — As the drummers walk onto the field, the players behind them smack their hickory sticks to...

Can you guess Olympians' warmup songs? World's top athletes share their favorite tunes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Curious about which songs are fueling the Olympians competing in Paris starting this month?...

Republican leaders urge colleagues to steer clear of racist and sexist attacks on Harris

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders are warning party members against using overtly racist and sexist attacks...

Meta takes down thousands of Facebook, Instagram accounts running sextortion scams from Nigeria

Meta said Wednesday that it has taken down about 63,000 Instagram accounts in Nigeria running sexual extortion...

Puerto Rico bans discrimination against those who wear Afros and other hairstyles on diverse island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday signed a law that prohibits discrimination...

Farmers in Africa say their soil is dying and chemical fertilizers are in part to blame

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — When Benson Wanjala started farming in his western Kenya village two and a half decades...

Alex Veiga AP Real Estate Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Next to filing for bankruptcy protection, nothing wrecks your chances of qualifying for a home loan like a foreclosure.

And if you got out from under an oppressive mortgage through a short sale - when the bank agrees to accept less than what the homeowner owes - lenders can look upon you just as unfavorably.

It's a reality that the former owners of the more than 4 million homes lost to foreclosure in the six years since the housing bubble burst will have to confront if they want to own again. But the passage of time makes all the difference.

That's because mortgage-lending guidelines that most banks follow prohibit them from making loans to people with foreclosure or a short sale in their credit history, often for years. Never mind the hit that one's credit score takes.

Still, some of the homeowners who were foreclosed upon when the market first started to skid are now looking to buy and getting loans.

"They're probably going to pay a little higher interest rate, but with rates so low, a higher interest rate of 4 percent is not a big deal," said Rosa Herwick, a broker and owner of Century 21 JR Realty in Henderson, Nev.

So how likely are banks to approve your mortgage application if you have a real estate-related blemish on your record? And can you do anything to spring yourself from the mortgage penalty box?

It depends on several factors, but largely on whether you had a foreclosure or a short sale.

FORECLOSURE

Generally, borrowers who have a foreclosure in their credit history can expect to wait between two to seven years before a lender will even accept their loan application.

The waiting periods stem from guidelines most banks must follow in order to be able to sell their home loans. That's because potential purchasers, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, each have a different set of guidelines for the loans they will buy and criteria for whom they deem a qualified borrower.

The fact is, a person's credit score, employment history and other factors that make up one's creditworthiness will take a back seat to these resale guidelines.

If a buyer with a past foreclosure is seeking a government-backed mortgage, the waiting period can vary before they can qualify.

Take the Federal Housing Administration, which insures roughly 30 percent of new loans. Under its guidelines, former homeowners must wait three years from the date of their foreclosure before they can qualify for backing by the agency.

Compare the U.S. Department of Agriculture's housing program which requires three years, while the time penalty for a VA loan is two years. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee about half of all mortgages, require the longest stretch: seven years after a foreclosure.

In some cases, the waiting periods for a foreclosure can be reduced.

Fannie Mae, for example, allows a three-year waiting period in the event the foreclosure was due to an extenuating circumstance. The company defines this as an event that was beyond the homeowners' control and resulted in a sudden reduction in income or catastrophic increase in financial obligations. Think job layoff, medical bills or divorce.

FHA may grant an exception to its waiting period in the event a wage-earner becomes seriously ill or dies. A divorce may qualify for an exception, but only in certain cases.

SHORT SALES

The roadblocks for having a short sale in your credit history can be less severe, and in some cases, waived altogether.

FHA requires borrowers who weren't paying their mortgage when they sold their house to wait three years before they can qualify for a home loan. That time penalty may be waived in certain cases, including long-term job loss.

There is no FHA time penalty for homeowners who made their house payments in the 12 months before their short sale.

The size of a down payment can also shorten the waiting period.

A down payment of 20 percent or more will cut Fannie Mae's time penalty on a borrower with a short sale down to two years from seven. Buyers who put down 10 percent can qualify after four years.

CREDIT SCORE

It's no longer just a waiting game for homeowners caught up in the earliest stages of the foreclosure crisis in 2007 and 2008.

There's still the impact a foreclosure or short sale has on one's credit score - still very much a factor in qualifying for a loan.

Like most credit blemishes, foreclosures and short sales will remain in your credit history for seven years.

As a general rule, the higher your FICO score, the more it will drop as a result of a bad debt, said Barry Paperno, consumer affairs manager for MyFICO.com, the consumer website for FICO.

FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850. In simulations, a foreclosure sent a FICO score of about 720 down to as low as 570 and took about seven years to recover fully, assuming everything else being equal.

Still, there are steps one can take to burnish one's tarnished credit rating.

- While in the foreclosure penalty box, make sure to pay all your bills on time.

- Get more credit. This may sound counterintuitive after a foreclosure, but beefing up your track record of good credit accounts can help boost one's credit score. A car loan or a credit card will do. But if you get a credit card, pay it off every month.

- Be patient. A foreclosure's drag on your credit score will decline over time.

- Dispute any mistakes on your credit report, which can lower your score.

- Don't close your oldest credit accounts. Your score gets a boost from older credit lines.

- Scale back your lifestyle and pocket the savings toward a future down payment.

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