It was a bittersweet, even ironic "homecoming" day for Bend resident Tim Collette who's home is in foreclosure. His son, Aaron, arrived back home on leave from a tour of duty in Iraq. But hours earlier, his house was sold back to the bank.
Specialist Aaron Collette has been serving in Iraq for the past couple years, and Tuesday evening, his plane touched down in Central Oregon. It was a heartwarming reunion as family and friends greeted him at the Redmond Airport.
The Patriot Guard was also on hand, as they welcomed Aaron with a motorcycle escort down Highway 97 to Bend.
"He likes being in the service, he wants to serve his country and he is a dedicated soldier and warrior for the U.S.," said Patriot Guard member Steve Wilkes.
While Aaron is back in Bend for a while, after fighting for our country, he's also coming back to a home that's being fought over.
"It feels great to know that my house is still here, after everything that has gone on in Iraq," Aaron Collette said.
That was the main reason that his father Tim wanted to keep the house.
Tim and Aaron have lived in the home for the past four years.
"It feels more at home than any place else has," Aaron Collette said.
Tim says he has put more than $125,000 on the house, but when his construction business got hit by the economic downturn, he was unable to pay the rest. The bank then said it was foreclosing on the home.
"I had an 810 credit rating, and that's important, because that says I paid my bill," Tim Collette said.
Chase Bank has said it would continue to work with the family.
But Tuesday afternoon, on the steps of the Deschutes County Courthouse, Chase bought back the home in foreclosure proceedings.
"It's a step in the process. I knew that going in, and I didn't expect any miracles to happen," Tim Collette said.
Aaron says while he was over in Iraq, the situation, which prompted a petition campaign that drew widespread attention, made him worry.
"To have to worry about if he is going to be in a house when I come home, or if he's trying to find a friend to live with, it's just always worried me," Aaron Collete said. "I was always wondering what was going to happen."
And while Aaron and Tim will enjoy the house for at least the next couple days, Tim says his job isn't over.
"We are going to continue to move forward, because there's tens of thousands of more people who have not yet lost (their homes). And for those who have lost them, we might be able to try to get them back," Tim Collette said.
The bank will be giving Tim an eviction notice soon. But Tim says his lawyers will still fight, and he is expecting to file a lawsuit.
As for, Aaron, he says while he is here he will be hiking and fishing, and whatever he can find to do in the next two weeks, before he heads back for another tour.
For months, boxes have been stacked, ready for foreclosure to take its final hit.
"Average Joe, nobody special -- even my situation isn't special," said Tim Collette.
The people behind a Portland consumer advocacy non-profit group agree, saying it's sadly common.
"Southern Oregon, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Portland -- everywhere. It's all the same story," said Saadia McConville, communication director for Economic Fairness Oregon.
Nearly 3,000 homeowners in Oregon are facing foreclosure, and 354 of them are in Deschutes County, according to Realtytrac.com.