Tag Archives: portland

Holiday Lights in Portland

December 1st marks National Christmas Lights Day, and all around the city they are going up , which can only mean one thing – the holidays are upon us! It is time to layer on those jackets and scarves, and celebrate with your loved ones. Portland and beyond has several classic light displays that are great for continuing, or starting, family traditions. So to celebrate this fun and festive day, we wanted to share our list of family ( and budget friendly ) places to see beautiful lights.

Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Family Farm

Take a Christmas walk through a lighted, wooded “Fantasy Trail”, decorated with thousands of lights for Christmas enchantment. The trail includes a 40 ft castle with Christmas scenes, a maze, crooked house, suspension bridge and more. You can also warm up by the nightly bonfires, with a warm cup of hot chocolate.

The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

with sights, sounds and sensations for the holiday season, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. Five indoor concerts are schedule each evening. The fun doesn’t end there ; the Grotto’s plaza area also includes outdoor caroling, puppet shoes and a live petting zoo.

Peacock Lane

Each house on this quaint SE block has been decorating their Tudor style homes for decades. Adorned with beautiful lights, nativity scenes and more, this Portland tradition always brings in a crowd.

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway

There are glimmers and glows around every corner as you journey through the Winter Wonderland. With over 250 color light pieces, and many fully animated scenes this will not disappoint. Even better? It is all done from the comfort ( and warmth! ) from your own vehicle.

Miracle of a Million Lights

Head to the decorated 2.5 acres of a million plus twinkling lights! As you tour the house, you will set your eyes on over 20 uniquely decorated trees, with elaborate decorations. Enjoy some of their homemade apple cider, cookies, live music, and Santa! There is something fun and festive around every corner, and you will not be disappointed.

Christmas Ship Parade

Over the course of 15, a fleet of Christmas Ships will set sail on the Willamette River and Columbia River. Bundle up, grab your thermos and pick your spot to watch the beautiful boats float by!


Questions? Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 4 or visit our branch at the corner of 1st and Taylor in Downtown Portland!

Guide to Fall in Portland

For most people, the ideal times to visit Portland are late spring and throughout the summer.  However, for those of us that live here,  we’d argue that there’s something simply magical about fall in Portland.  It’s certainly worthy of making the time to explore your city this October and November.  As the weather cools and settles into it’s typical fall pattern, Portland’s calendar fills up with a wonderful variety of cultural, wine, and holiday events worthy of your time.  Whether your ideal fall outing means time spent outdoors amidst the beautiful hues of fall, or whether you’d rather focus on fall events and activities around the area, there’s something for everyone in Portland this fall.

Hiking

Enjoy a little solitude on the Maple-Wildwood  Loop Hike in Forest Park

Take in the stunning colors at Hoyt Arboretum, in Washington Park.

View wildlife and migrating birds along the Oaks to Wetlands Trail at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Take in the incredible beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, on the Hamilton Mountain Trail.  It’s a bit farther outside of Portland, but worth every second.  You’ll enjoy 3 waterfalls along the way, along with a beautiful grove of bright yellow maples.

Meander the 21 mile stretch of former railroad-turned multi-use Banks-Vernonia Trail. Each path is lined with deciduous trees, all reaching their peak of fall foliage.

There’s never a bad season when it comes to visiting Oregon’s stunning Multnomah Falls.

Events

Now is the perfect time to experience Portland’s gastronomical delights.  Coming up on November 9, 2019, is the annual Northwest Food & Wine Festival at the Oregon Convention Center.

Also on November 9th, will be Portland’s annual Portland Book Festival at the Portland Art Museum.  It’s the largest book festival in the Pacific Northwest, and a great chance to hear from over 100 authors, 90+ vendors, 14 writing workshops and more.

Portland is a great home base for adventuring through Oregon’s premiere wine country.  November is a wonderful time to experience Willamette Valley, as wineries open their cellars and tasting rooms for special events throughout Thanksgiving Weekend.


Questions? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 4, or stop into our branch on the corner of 1st and Taylor in Downtown Portland!

Tips to Improve Your Credit Before Buying a Home

Brought to you by our friends at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

In general, the best mortgage interest rates go to borrowers with credit scores in the mid-700s or above. These borrowers also typically have the most offers available to them.

Haven’t checked your credit report recently? Now is the time to do so. You’ll have concrete information to help you make the best decisions about what to do next. And, you’ll find out if there are any errors on your credit report that may be lowering your credit scores. You’ll also see which areas you may be able to improve. Checking your own credit won’t hurt your credit scores.

It’s important to understand that you don’t have just one credit score. There are many credit scoring formulas, and the score will also depend on the data used to calculate it. Today, most mortgage lenders use FICO scores when deciding whether to offer you a loan, and in setting the rate and terms. Most mortgage lenders request and evaluate your credit scores and the scores of any co-borrowers from all three major credit reporting companies and make their decisions based on the middle score.

Check out our step-by-step guide to checking your credit reports and scores. We cover the basics on how credit reports and scores work, how to get a copy of your reports and scores, how to check for errors, and how to file a dispute if you find errors.

If you’re worried about your credit scores, rebuilding your credit (or building it for the first time) won’t happen overnight. But there are steps you can take and mortgage options you can consider if your score isn’t where you want it to be.

Questions? Connect with our Loan Specialists today at 503-275-0300 Option 2.


Are you up for an easy challenge to win some extra cash? Subscribe to our blog for a chance to win a $50 cash prize*.

Entering the contest is easy.  Here’s how it works:

  • Subscribe to our blog by entering your email in the box above the “Follow” button on the left menu
  • Each week in February, we will publish a blog along with the trivia question at the end of each blog
  • Email your answers to social@usacu.org by February 28, 2019

QUESTION 1:  What score does most mortgage lenders use when deciding to offer loans?

Official Contest Rules

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Terms and conditions apply, read the official contest rules for complete details. open to individuals ages 18 and over. Board of Directors, Volunteers and Employees of USACU and their immediate families and individuals living in the same household are ineligible. Void where prohibited.

Holiday Lights in Portland

Lights are going up around the city of Portland and surrounding areas, which can only mean one thing – the holidays are upon us! It is time to layer on those jackets and scarves, and celebrate with your loved ones. Portland and beyond has several classic light displays that are great for continuing, or starting, family traditions. We have compiled a list of family ( and wallet ) friendly places to experience this holiday season to help keep you within your budget.

Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Family Farm

Take a Christmas walk through a lighted, wooded “Fantasy Trail”, decorated with thousands of lights for Christmas enchantment. The trail includes a 40 ft castle with Christmas scenes, a maze, crooked house, suspension bridge and more. You can also warm up by the nightly bonfires, with a warm cup of hot chocolate.

The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

with sights, sounds and sensations for the holiday season, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. Five indoor concerts are schedule each evening. The fun doesn’t end there ; the Grotto’s plaza area also includes outdoor caroling, puppet shoes and a live petting zoo.

Peacock Lane

Each house on this quaint SE block has been decorating their Tudor style homes for decades. Adorned with beautiful lights, nativity scenes and more, this Portland tradition always brings in a crowd.

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway

There are glimmers and glows around every corner as you journey through the Winter Wonderland. With over 250 color light pieces, and many fully animated scenes this will not disappoint. Even better? It is all done from the comfort ( and warmth! ) from your own vehicle.

Miracle of a Million Lights

Head to the decorated 2.5 acres of a million plus twinkling lights! As you tour the house, you will set your eyes on over 20 uniquely decorated trees, with elaborate decorations. Enjoy some of their homemade apple cider, cookies, live music, and Santa! There is something fun and festive around every corner, and you will not be disappointed.

Christmas Ship Parade

Over the course of 15, a fleet of Christmas Ships will set sail on the Willamette River and Columbia River. Bundle up, grab your thermos and pick your spot to watch the beautiful boats float by!

 

 

 

 

4 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft During the Holiday

With the help from our friends at cuinsight.com

Some people love taking what doesn’t belong to them. During the holidays this year, be extra careful to make sure that you’re keeping your finances safe from questionable individuals. Here are four tips for protecting your identity during the holiday season.

1. Keep an eye on your credit report. If checking your credit report isn’t something you do regularly, you should change that. If a thief opens an account in your name, this will be an easy red flag to detect. Although it may be a hassle, there are a few sites that provide free credit reports. Do some research and find the one that best suits your needs.

2. Don’t toss it, shred it. When you take your garbage out each week, make sure you are not throwing away that a fraudster could find valuable. Anything that contains account numbers, banking information, or social security numbers would be highly desirable to a thief. Make sure you anything you are not sure of gets put in a shredder before the trash can. Don’t have a shredder? We provide a secure and free shred bin in the lobby of USAgencies Credit Union for all our members! Bring your shred down during business hours, and we are happy to help you safely dispose of documents.

3.Be cautious online. Cybercriminals can get your information a few ways, one of which is phishing. Phishing is when cybercriminals defraud you of sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company that you trust. Don’t click a link in an email that is asking you for personal information. Anything that looks fishy should be verified with the company first. Also, make sure you are not doing sensitive activities like logging into your credit union account from a coffee shop’s unsecured Wi-Fi. Stay up to date with current Fraud Schemes by visiting our dedicated page on our website, designed to keep our members aware.

4.Update your passwords. Password is not a password. Winter123 isn’t either. It is time to make better passwords. Think of a phrase or question like, “How long would it take me to walk 500 miles?” Then use the initials, symbols, and numbers to create your password. That would look like this :”Hlwittw500m?” No one can guess that one. According to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take a computer 63 Thousand years to crack that password.


Questions? Connect with us at 503.275.0300 option 3 or visit us at www.usacu.org

International Credit Union Day!

October 18, 2018, will mark the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day. This year’s theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining.” It combines the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.”

Credit unions all over the world will be celebrating the history and the success of the “People-not-Profit” philosophy. This year’s theme emphasizes the credit union movement’s loyalty to its members and its mission to provide them financial support and guidance.

The movement began in the 1840s as a democratic consumer cooperative by weavers in Rochdale, England. Frustrated by bankers who denied them loans simply because they weren’t wealthy, the weavers and workers decided to pool their incomes and loan money to each other. In time, this cooperation put each member on solid financial ground and encouraged their own businesses to flourish.

The need for equitable financial institutions grew and, in 1971, the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) was created to help establish and maintain viable credit union movements. It has become the leading voice for advocacy and governance on behalf of the international credit union community.

Today, over 235 million people are served by credit unions in 109 countries and 6 continents.


Join us at our branch at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204 on Thursday Oct.18 to celebrate International Union Day by enjoying some treats! Questions? Connect with us.

Reasons to Make Home Improvements

Have you been asking yourself, “To renovate, or not to renovate?”, lately? We don’t mean quick weekend projects like painting a few walls or staining the deck. We are talking about renovating entire bathrooms and kitchens, or getting a new roof. Committing to those types of renovations are major decisions, and involve a lot of time, money, mess and often times stress, which is why it can be a tough decision making the commitment.

Which is why we have put together a few reasons to potentially help you decide if the time is now.

Reasons to make home improvements

Functionality : Something may not be broken, but, you know it could function a lot better. A more open layout might help with space for your growing family.  A deck would really add better backyard space. Even a third bathroom will make life that much easier for the household.

Efficiency: These improvements on our homes sometimes can’t be seen, but are necessary. Things like new windows, to a new furnace, or some plumbing upgrades. In the long run these improvements will end up saving you money, help conserve energy and help with the value of your home.

Safety: If there are any safety issues in or outside your home, it needs to be addressed. Whether its the roof,  mold or electrical, these are the types of projects that cannot be put off. They need to be repaired not only for the integrity  of your home, but also for the safety of your family.

So whether you are about to get that new roof, or replace your windows, with a some planning, home renovations do not have to be a major inconvenience and stressor. Do your homework, and plan financially, and before you know it you will see the projects unfold before your eyes and it will be exciting, and worth it all.


Looking for your next inspiration? Don’t miss the Portland Fall Home Show at the Portland Expo Center Oct. 4 -7. Connect with our Loan Specialists to talk about your financing options for your next project with our 24-hour Lending Center by calling 503-275-0300 Option 2.