Monday, December 30, 2013

Oregon, 2014. Bring on the new laws

Here we are at the last Monday in 2013. Garfield would be happy. No more Mondays for the rest of the year.

Looking over the news this morning it seems that everyone (the news organizations, not the people) are focused on what we can and can not do (or can do but with perhaps a higher penalty for getting caught) in the new year. Here's a recap of what's making the news in Oregon:

Oregon's minimum wage is going up by 15 cents per hour to $9.10. In a state that doesn't do tip crediting (minimum wage can be as low as $2.13/hr as long as tips make up the rest of the salary to meet minimum wage) this is a big deal for restaurants and those who have tipped employees. The up side is that we still have restaurants and bars, and they seem to be doing quite fine here.

It's going to be more expensive to smoke. Cigarette taxes are going up by 13 cents to $1.31. This next year we'll also see e-cigs become state controlled as well. There's a lot that will need to be done, but this will be the next thing the state controls. If you do smoke, doing so around minors can have another impact on your wallet as smoking with minors in a car will now carry a fine as well. Sadly this is only a secondary offense, which means the officer will need to pull the person over for something else as well.

One big one will be distracted driving. The fine for talking on a cell phone can double, up to $500 if the judge decides it's warranted. This really should be talked about as distracted driving, not just talking on a cell phone, but in Oregon the law only talks about the use of a cell phone or texting device for two way communication. Coming in the future may be true distracted driving laws that include things like eating, putting on makeup, or other things that aren't pertinent to driving a vehicle.

PTSD will now be considered a medical condition treatable with medical marijuana.

Educational Institutions, both public and private, are barred from asking for social media passwords. This one is a disappointment as the original bill was supposed to prevent employers from seeking social media passwords as well, but while working through the system the bill got dumbed down. Hopefully in the next year the senate and house can fix this to defend freedom of speech and prevent employers from asking for these things.

Pertaining specifically to home, The Willamette Valley Protected District will limit Canola production and only allow for OSU to research Canola through 2019. Not the full out ban that people were hoping for, but it does greatly limit the ability for anyone to grow canola and limits the possibility that it will invade the other crops that it can cross pollinate with and destroy the value of those crops.

Every year there are hundreds of new laws that take effect. Often many don't pertain to us on a daily basis, but it's good to at least look through the new laws and understand how these laws will affect you. Government is for the people, by the people, but only if the people take part.

To read up on the new laws, you can visit the Oregonians website here:

of visit the state website here which will list the bills, the laws, the original and adopted text:

Monday, December 9, 2013


The mid-Willamette Valley hasn't seen this kind of weather in over 30 years. As I sit looking out at 9th street I feel like I'm living in Bend, Montana, or Canada (eh?) not Corvallis. Because I'm planning on doing some additional winter driving, and the threat of freezing rain I'm getting my snow tires put on, so as I wait and watch the hustle and bustle of Les Schwab I am reminded how unprepared we are in this area for weather like this.

The water at Les Schwab was off this morning. Their pipes in the building didn't freeze, it was the main at the street that froze. The city came in and thawed it out, so now they're running again, but it's just a reminder that things we don't expect can and will happen.

I worry about people and their houses too. Being a Realtor I'm concerned with the investment that you've made in your home. Are you taking care of your home and managing your investment properly?

Outside the home:
Gutters cleared of debris?
Vents closed up (only during extreme cold temperatures)!
Drain lines cleared?
walkways cleared?
Overhanging dead branches removed?

Under the home:
Pipes insulated?
Flooring insulation?
Vapor barrier in place and properly laid down?

Inside the home:
Windows insulated/covered
Door seals properly maintained? Do you see light through doors or window cracks?
Thermometer and furnace working properly?
Doors to unused rooms open?
Water dripping and/or cabinets open

Once we start to that out:
Open up the vents under the house.
Check your crawlspace for water.
Listen for running water.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and draining.
Check your attic for moisture.
Check your hose bibs, laundry, and any other outside faucets for drips (or worse breakages!)

These are a few things that you can do to help ensure that your investment is properly maintained. Keep your home maintained and you will enjoy your home more while you live there, and get a much higher sales price when you sell. When you have questions or concerns about your home, give me a call!

Shawn Tucker
Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Oregon
Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette
1121 NW 9th St
Corvallis, OR 97330

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