First Citizen finalists Jaimy and Sherine Beltran are Realtors and philanthropists

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Realtors Sherine and Jaimy Beltran earned accolades even during the recession, but struggled to make ends meet. They have been finding ways to give back since the economy began to improve.Although First Citizen finalists Jaimy and Sherine Beltran are among Wilsonville’s foremost power couples, a secret of the real estate team’s success — whether in the business or in philanthropy — is in the struggle they once faced to get by.

“We were celebrated as top producers,” Sherine says of the bevy of awards the couple’s business, Beltran Properties, earned even at the height of the Great Recession. “And Jaimy and I looked at each other like, ‘We are not even coming close to what our goals are as a family. So how are we successful?’”

Real estate wasn’t the plan for either of them at the outset. The couple met at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif., where Jaimy was a sociology major and Sherine studied English. While still in school, Jaimy took a job in grocery retail. A promotion brought the couple to Wilsonville in 2006, when they bought a home in Villebois.

Sherine was working as a freelance writer, but in 2007 she earned a real estate license — which was initially a way to save money by brokering transactions herself when she and Jaimy bought and sold homes, something they saw on the horizon as their family began to grow.

Jaimy was intrigued, and three months after Sherine, he earned a license as well. The couple launched Beltran Properties in Portland in 2007.

“We decided to jump in, full-bore, both of us,” Sherine says. “And that was right when the market crashed.”

At that point, the couple had recently welcomed their second child. Jaimy took a second job in the grocery industry once again, working as a butcher during the winter to help pay their bills. He recalls literally “brokering deals in the cooler.”

“We really cut our teeth on a very, very difficult market,” Jaimy says. “But I feel like it was a real blessing for us, too, because we really had to learn how to make deals stick. We learned how to be very persistent.”

Sherine says that sort of tenacity is something that they credit for their success. It’s a tenacity born out of their mutual support for one another, she adds, which is a benefit in an industry where brokers face the stress of helping clients to make what is often one of the most important decisions of their lives.

“One of the things that we’ve been really lucky and fortunate to have is that we’ve always had a team. Because it’s always been both of us,” Sherine says. “When one person was just like, ‘This is so hard! I want to throw in the towel,’ the other person was like ‘No! You can do it! Let’s keep going.’”

Besides gaining grit from having started in real estate during the recession, the Beltrans’ empathy for less fortunate members of the community — which they’d each gained in childhood — grew deeper.

Jaimy’s family immigrated to the country from Colombia when he was 15 months old. He faced poverty throughout his youth, and recalls benefitting from the generosity of community members as well. The recession felt like a return to the difficulties he’d worked his way out of.

“We struggled. We struggled in ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11,” Jaimy says. He adds that the ease with which the couple slid into dire economic straits was especially jarring.

“There were points when we needed help ourselves,” he says.

Sherine says that growing up with parents who worked as missionaries was formative for her, and gave her the chance to see blighted communities in China, Thailand and elsewhere.

“I saw poverty at its grossest level, and it was very influential and impactful on me as a small child,” she says.

When the economic climate began to improve and the Beltrans’ business took off, they found themselves in a position to give back. Their involvement with Horizon Community Church in Tualatin led Jaimy to work with its pastor and help start Esperanza, a Spanish language church.

Esperanza’s pastor founded Project Esperanza, which providesSPOKESMAN PHOTO: JAKE BARTMAN - Sherine and Jaimy Beltran helped establish Spanish-language church Esperanza, and their business Beltran Properties is a leading sponsor of Wilsonville Community Sharing. backpacks, shoes and toys to local children. The Beltrans have been supporters of the project from the outset, and a chance encounter Jaimy had on an airplane led to a connection with another organization that furnishes Esperanza with bread for a food bank.

Work with a client who is an employee of Wilsonville Community Sharing also led them to connect them with the nonprofit in 2013, where steps had already been taken to address a community need.

“In that progression, I was like, ‘You know, I don’t need to start everything and be at the ground level when the needs are already there,’” Jaimy says. “All I’ve got to do is partner with it and plug in.”

The Beltrans also noticed a need among Wilsonville Community Sharing and other organizations for funding — something that is always in short supply for nonprofits, and which the Beltrans see as especially important. In 2015 Beltran Properties became Wilsonville Community Sharing’s lead sponsor.

“You have a lot of willing people who want to show up and help, but can’t fund,” Sherine says. “We always feel like those who can, should.”

The Beltrans hope that financial backing will help Wilsonville Community Sharing to fundraise further in the coming year. And in 2016, Sherine plans to start a Wilsonville-based nonprofit that will help to fund other local nonprofits.

The couple is involved in other projects in the Wilsonville area as well, including fundraising for the My Kitchen program, which teaches cooking skills and healthy eating to children. They remain active at their church, and Jaimy coaches his two elementary school-aged sons’ soccer teams. Jaimy recently joined the Kiwanis Club. And Beltran Properties works more than ever in the Wilsonville community, having opened a new office in Wilsonville in the fall of 2015.

Although they were “shocked” to have been selected as First Citizen finalists, the Beltrans say that the recognition means the effort they’ve put into bettering their community has had some impact. But they hasten to add that there is still much work to be done.

“In our philanthropy, I feel like I haven’t arrived on that. There’s still a lot of room for growth, a lot of need,” Jaimy says.

Contact Jake Bartman at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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