Longtime Talent couple leaving downtown home known for holiday light display

TALENT, Ore.- A Talent couple is losing their long time home, and in turn, the city is losing a staple.

Ray and Betty live in one of Talent’s oldest houses, a place they’ve been renting and calling home for 14 years. Residents may recognize their downtown Talent house for their iconic and constantly expanding Christmas decoration display, which Ray says was inspired by another old house always decorated for the holidays that used to be on Talent Avenue. According to several residents, the two seated on their porch or setting up their lights is a familiar and welcome sight.

But they were served a 90-day eviction notice on December 1st, as the property owner intends to sell.

Willow McCloud with the Talent Historical Society spoke with the couple just days before they received the notice, while working on a story about the historic spot known for holiday spirit.

“They went from being on cloud nine with decorating and getting ready for their favorite holiday to receiving that eviction,” she explained. She said even with the couple’s fixed income, and the other expenses associated with such an older home, they still managed to make it bigger and better every year. Sometimes, Willow said, residents would even drop off cash of their own to go towards the electricity bill.

A close friend started a GoFundMe* to get the couple jump started on finding an accessible home where they have wheelchair access, can keep their pets, and have a place for all those Christmas lights.

According to McCloud, the historical society is concerned that after selling, the historic house will be destroyed instead of repaired, but that’s the least of their worries right now, they want to give the couple some stability. The longtime residents want to stay in Talent, where Ray was actually raised, but its housing limited, and they have a number of circumstances that will make any move difficult.

*KOBI-TV NBC5 does not guarantee money deposited to this account will be applied for the benefit of the person or persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering making a donation, you should consult your own advisors, and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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