Since we published our last issue, the U.S. government provided vast amounts of money for a bail-out of large banks and investment firms, with a goal of infusing much-needed capital for borrowing into the markets. As a result, as I write this at the end of October, global financial markets are still see-sawing wildly to the angst of many.

Job losses around the country, the state, and our region are mounting, and the real estate market has wound down considerably.

Even the most financially astute are at a loss to predict the long-term effects of the crash of financial markets, or whether the so-called financial rescue package will do any good. Globally, governments are scrambling to take measures they hope will help stabilize their economies.

Even though some here may feel removed from the world's financial chaos, it is impossible for me to ignore the realities this challenging real estate and financial climate brings. Friends and clients have been affected.

A common question these days, is, "What do we DO?"

First, we get informed. Fear based on misinformation is dangerous. To that end, in this issue we offer readers insight into how some of the region's banks and credit unions are faring through this financial crisis.

Reponses by banking leaders to CRBJ-posed questions should assist readers in understanding why the financial institutions in our area weren't part of the sub-prime lending problem; nor are they seriously affected by the nationwide credit crunch. See "Can you bank on your bank or credit union?" in this issue.

Another source of information is a seminar we're co-sponsoring on Nov. 13. (See the full-page ad in the real estate section, page 43).

With the Clatsop Association of Realtors and Fidelity Title Insurance, CRBJ is hosting two speakers who will offer information about strategies for buying and selling real estate in the current market.

Another response CRBJ has to the "What do we DO question?" is to please remember to support local businesses.

While we can't encourage spending beyond one's means, especially at a time of financial uncertainty, we do ask that IF you're going to spend money - that you spend it in the region, when possible.

Those businesses that support our schools, hospitals and a host of other non-profit services in the area need your dollars. Dollars spent here have a multiplier effect, working to help more businesses, and retain more of the region's jobs. This is NOT the year for that annual out-of-town holiday shopping spree.

Another project to support is the college bond. The board and administration have done a great job in attracting outside funds, leaving our community with a relatively small amount of investment for a much improved campus. Please vote YES on the college bond measure

And in OUR quest to be informed: We'd appreciate your input on our annual Reader Survey. You'll find the paper version in this issue on page nine, or visit to respond on-line.

And finally, in this month of Thanksgiving, a sincere "thank you" to our faithful advertisers. They make CRBJ possible.