Friday, December 14, 2012

Log Home Living

Michigan is where Gerald Fort was born, raised and got married. In 1972, he and wife Connie moved to Rockwood, then considered a middle class area that was a decent place to raise a family. Sons Bob, Mike and daughter Carrie were excited when their parents decided to build a log home in the country. Finding some very private acreage in Corbett, the family and friends set about building a beautiful and spacious log home in 1989. Next year in 2013, Jerry and Connie will celebrate 50 years of marriage. Daughter Carrie and her daughter currently live with them, and son Mike and his family live just "up the hill." Son Bob is currently living in South Carolina. Over the years, the Fort family have taken in various foster children as well as exchange students from both Germany and Switzerland. Having a large garden has always been an important part of family life for the Fort's. Over the years they have raised various fruits and vegetables, but the most successful crops have been blueberries and squash. The "Wood Rats" have always been their biggest challenge, as the deer come out of their woods and like to eat just about anything the family has growing! Jerry retired in 1995 from Boeing after spending 23 years as a machinist. Retirement has been a rewarding lifestyle change- Jerry volunteers at the Corbett Grange with the Helping Hands food program, helps with Connie at a homeless shelter in Gresham, and likes to elk hunt once a year with his son Mike and friend Toby. Faith has always been an important part of the Fort family, and they have attended East Hill Church for 30 years. One of the most important things Jerry has appreciated about living in Corbett has been the friendly neighbors he has known for years. He jokes that anyone mean gets shot!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Brand New Chapter

When Joy Friedel was working in IT at ADP in Portland, she was in charge of "swapping out" the older computers for the newer ones for the over 300 employees. When it came time to swap out software engineer Mark Friedel's computer, her heart melted when she saw his smile. Several lunch dates later, they were planning a future together. All this despite the fact she installed Mark's computer incorrectly because she was so smitten! Both having lived in the country as children, their dream was to raise a family in the same environment. Getting married and moving into Mark's Gresham home, they looked for their "final home" in Corbett. Today they are raising two year old daughter Evelyn and looking forward to the arrival of their second child in March 2013. The home and property Joy and Mark settled on in Corbett is heavily wooded and yet Joy says is mostly usable acreage, with a path through it all and a spectacular tree house for their children to enjoy. A large and spacious kitchen is also a bonus for Joy, who loves to cook and eat healthy. Having entered numerous road races, including several marathons and half marathons, she actually joined her college's cross country team at the age of 28! Having a degree in business, she actually considered becoming a nutritionist at one point. Now a stay at home mom, she is eager to connect with other young moms in the Corbett community. She looks forward to the day she is able to volunteer in her kid's classrooms at Corbett Schools, but also is looking to start a new career in a few years as well. With the varied job/career experiences and education she has picked up over the years, the field will be wide open for her to choose from. The most important thing she will consider? Helping others.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A New Landscaper in Corbett!

Virginia is where he was born, but literally ALL over the world is where he has lived and grown up. Being an Air Force brat, Brian Croak says that after only two months in Corbett, it is honestly the BEST place he has ever lived....and he has much to choose from! Moving to Corbett with wife Kirsten and their two middle school aged daughters, the entire family has begun to settle into their small farm and a country lifestyle. Moving from the Mt. Tabor area, Brian is ecstatic with the huge potential that their property holds. There are numerous "projects" that are already on his list! Brian and Kirsten started Croak Creation Landscaping seven years ago after being in the business 21 years prior to that. They do everything imaginable OUTSIDE of the home- build fences, decks, outbuildings, do demolition, clean-up, lighting, masonry work, boulder work, plant design and consultation and so much more! Having serviced several clients from their Mt. Tabor neighborhood for years, Brian is looking forward to getting to know the Corbett Community and building business in this area. Having a passion for hard work and great results, Brian says he stands behind all of his work- making sure his clients are satisfied. Both Brian and Kirsten have a strong desire to be a supportive and helpful part of the community. Already they have been attending community events and volunteering for different groups. Brian wanted his daughters to have the best education possible and realized that Corbett offers that and yet....SO much more!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the Love of Dog!

It was in 1999 that Kazue Bushnell was ready to make a move.... for her German Shepherd dog! Husband Robert and daughter Megumi lived with her in a Sunnyside suburban neighborhood. The family dog was "depressed" and needed "room to roam!" Robert was okay with a move as long as he had privacy and a sunny yard. Megumi just wanted to remain involved with the same church. Kazue found the "perfect spot for all" in Corbett and they have been here ever since! Born and raised in Japan and yet from a Korean heritage, Kazue first came to the U.S. in order to attend college. Kazue first attended a school in Vermont to learn the English language. After one term, she enrolled at Concordia College in Portland and graduated four years later. Just out of school, Kazue married at age 22 and had her daughter within a brief marriage a brief  to a man she met here in Portland. Not only a single parent, Kazue took on the responsibility of of home schooling Megumi. Being driven to better herself, she also went on to Portland State University to get her master's degree in social work. Kazue was at the Morrison Center for an internship her second year of school and they awarded her with a scholarship and provided excellent training. Then she went to work at Cascadia (a non-profit) as a case manager for clinically mentally ill adults, and later another branch of Cascadia, working with school aged children, who also provided her with a scholarship! In 1995 Kazue met and married Robert and they have been happily married ever since. In 1996, Kazue suffered a brain hemorrhage and had brain surgery, forcing her to retire from working. She had to relearn everything from walking to speech. Both Robert and Kazue feel strongly about helping others, and they are currently involved with the Citizen's Patrol here in Corbett as well as NERT- Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. They also both attend the Monday lunches for seniors at the grange each Monday afternoon. This past summer Kazue had a health scare with a heart attack. Currently she is focused on health and exercise, wanting to live her best life so she can best serve others. Her father passed away Thanksgiving morning this year and she is reminded more than ever to live with NO regrets. Her Christian faith has always been of great importance to her and she is most grateful for her church and family. Magumi has now moved on and married- she is a professional violin player and living in Boston. Kazue said she was thankful to have suggested lessons so many years ago!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coming to Oregon to do service work back in the 1960's, Sherry Grey's parents enjoyed Oregon so much that they decided to make a permanent move here from Pennsylvania when Sherry was five years old. Sherry grew up in Corbett, attending grades K-12 and then Mt. Hood Community College. Sherry's folks still live in Corbett, and her only brother, Rick lives nearby in Troutdale. Sherry met husband Dave Grey when they were both in the high school choir together. Later they ended up in the same Christian rock band- "Fortress." After dating two years, they married at the Corbett Christian Church which is now the Serve Pro office in Corbett. Together they have Stacey and Tyson, and each have recently married, but no grandchildren....yet! Sherry has always had a passion for music. When her kids were in school, she worked alongside Mr. Killgore, playing the piano and teaching. She also has been involved with CCT and both sang and played the piano for many local weddings and funerals. Sherry was involved with music ministry for seven years at Corbett Christian Church and then 20 years at Columbia Ridge Community Church. Sherry and Dave built their current home 20 years ago when it was just tree farm acreage. The big noble firs on the property are a favorite of Sherry's and for years they have had an annual party for local friends and family to eat cookies, drink cider and cut a free Christmas tree. Sherry considers the whole of Corbett "her family" as she has spent years building friendships and relationships with many. Currently she is kept busy with her passion for leading a 12-step recovery program for those struggling with any type of addiction. The coed program is Christ-centered  and meets for six months at a time and is open to all. Sherry also is working four days a week at her daughter Stacey's coffee shop "Stomping Grounds," located in Fairview. With her own mother there with her, all three generations bake from scratch, make coffee and build relationships with those   who stop by. They have also invited musicians into the shop to play and share their talents with the customers. Music is a family affair for the Grey's, so it is not a surprise to have Sherry, Dave, Stacey or Tyson playing an instrument or singing as well!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Harley Rider

Moving from Troutdale to the Corbett area in May 1994 was a decision that worked well for Rick Ashford and his wife Mary. Together they had two daughters who attended the Corbett Schools. Both girls are now grown and married. Bonnie and her husband reside in Ohio and Sarah and her husband are in Colorado. There is one grandchild and another on the way! Mary currently is a nurse at Mt. Hood Medical Center and Rick has retired after being in the pipe fitting trade for 34 years. He was a steamfitter and welding was his specialty. Now that he has a bit more time on his hands, Rick is currently volunteering for Multnomah County Citizen's Patrol. What he and other Corbett residents do is control the trail heads and prevent car break-ins. Just after he started two years ago, Rick received recognition for his efforts to help get some shoplifters at the Multnomah Falls gift shop arrested. Each Wednesday the Corbett Market cooks up breakfast and has coffee ready for the "Rusty Zipper Club." Rick enjoys coming to shoot the breeze with other retirees in the community. In fact, Rick helped to weld and create the handrails leading up the stairs into the market a few years back. For eight years he also helped bbq over 300 chicken and rib dinners each year for the Corbett Market's yearly anniversary when Susan Leigh was still the owner. Rick is a hunter and a shooter, loving the great outdoors. One thing he loves is the rides/trips he and Mary take on each of their Harley Davidson motorcycles. They are able to breathe in the fresh air and ride to just about any location that is of interest to them. Have you voted yet? Rick is currently volunteering as a phone caller to help encourage everyone to take the time to vote. Don't be surprised if in the next few days you do not personally receive a phone call from this local neighbor of yours! Rick served in the US Navy for six years and takes great pride in our country.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ready, Aim, Shoot!!

When Karen Hawley was in the 8th grade, she and her family moved from Santa Rosa, CA. to Corbett. Being the youngest of four girls, Karen's father was transferred here by the U.S. Forest Service to work on Mt. Hood. Being a bit nervous to start school, she got a reprieve. One of the biggest storms ever hit the Corbett area in Dec. 1977 when they made the move. School was canceled for 10 days due to snow! Once Karen did get started, she was "not happy" with the lack of fashion, small classes and poor academics. (What a change we've seen in the academic arena!) Eventually she "grew into" her new surroundings and learned to love and appreciate the new lifestyle. In high school, Karen found herself involved in several things, including yearbook editior, but the biggest passion of all was photography. At age 15 she worked all summer at a nursery tying trees so that she could afford to buy her first "nice" camera, a Nikon. After graduating, Karen headed back down to CA. for college, where she met her husband, Rick. Together they moved up to Portland after graduation. After five years of "city life" Karen longed to be back in Corbett to raise their family. Currently the home she shares with Rick and their three daughters aged 15, 12 and 7 has majestic views of the Sandy River. Karen loves to see the beautiful seasonal changes on the river, and also appreciates the "agricultural view" of next door's land. Currently they are viewing a beautiful pumpkin patch! In the midst of raising the girls and being heavily involved as both a volunteer for ten years and now a board member with Corbett Children's Theatre, Karen has gone back to her childhood love of photography. Last fall Karen asked a local gal if she could photograph her family on their farm. When the gal saw the photos of her family, she wept because they were so special and meaningful. One thing lead to another and now Karen has her own business, specializing in seniors, family portraits and weddings. She can be reached via her website: Karen has traveled to Japan, Europe three times, South Africa and also to China to pick up their youngest daughter Kate when she was adopted. Of all her travels, what is a favorite spot? Home! "Corbett is beautiful, quirky, smart, convenient to Portland and community-driven."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

From the East Coast to the Gorge

In March 2012, Matt Conti and wife Marnie moved their family of five to the Corbett community. They wanted to enjoy great schools, have room to roam, and be living in an area that afforded them the opportunity to have an active lifestyle. Matt spent his childhood years living on the east coast. At age three he began "ice skating" on double runner blades in the living room! (The blades were dull). The youngest of seven children, all three of Matt's older brothers also played hockey, so he grew into it naturally. Today Matt coaches both a "house" and travel team for his son Kai and is also on the board. In addition to this, Matt currently is also on a men's team himself! Matt's sisters are very artistic and musical, and daughters Piper and Eden are as well. Currently, all three children are enrolled in the Springdale "CAPS" School and are thriving. Matt and  Marnie find the teaching philosophy very appealing as their 11, 9 and 7 year old children each love to be creative and explore "different" styles of learning. Currently they are taking violin and piano lessons as well. One of Matt's adjustments to living in Corbett is the new mindset of  "always having a project!!" Putting on a tie for his finance job in downtown Portland, he looks forward to taking it off once he heads home to Corbett. Purchasing an older home with Gorge views, they recently had the windows replaced. The views are one of the highlights of the new home for Matt. That and the new "shooting station" for hockey that he has set up in their outbuilding! Both Matt and Marnie are starting to meet several community members and are thankful for this new chapter of their lives.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Grateful for Aims Community Church

Over and over again Judi Meacher mentions how thankful she is for the love and support she has experienced over the years from Aims Community Church. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Judi eventually moved to Oregon for a "better life" in 1966. Living in Fairview, she moved to Corbett in 1975 when she left her abusive first husband. She brought with her three children and married Phil Meacher who also had three children. Phil and Judi pieced together two manufactured homes and loved the opportunity to live in the country and raise their children together. Five years ago Phil passed away after 16 years of being ill. A stroke had left him paralyzed, yet Judi cared for him at home until he fell and broke his hip. Spending five months in a nursing home, he suffered a massive heart attack and asked to come home to die. Six days after coming back to Corbett, Phil passed peacefully at the home he loved. Judi has always enjoyed flower gardening and has created pretty beds all over the property through the years. Two years ago Judi was able to purchase a new manufactured home and now is continuing to enjoy her country lifestyle as well as a new home! Something that brings great joy to her life is her 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Over the years Judi has cared for her husband and raised children,  as well as helped raise some of her grandchildren. Not always an easy task, Aims Community Church has been a huge part of her life, supportive on every level. Judi has volunteered extensively at the church with the nursery and making snacks for both the Awanas and Vacation Bible School. Judi also visits the Corbett Grange once a week for the senior lunch and time of grocery shopping. She often stays after to help stock shelves. Judi just turned 70 years old and is thrilled to be a part of the "sub community" of Aims as well as the larger community of Corbett.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kiwanis Queen

WHO is the QUEEN of the Kiwanis Club? That would be Corbett's own Sylvia Maly! If you mention her name to anyone associated with Kiwanis anywhere in the U.S., people will know her or at least her name. Raised in CA, Sylvia met her husband on a blind date while in college. Married in 1974, each were just 21 years old. Only six months later they were able to purchase their first home for $24K! (Although the interest rate was a "whopping" 7.25%!) Jerry's job kept them in CA for 12 years, and in 1988 they transferred to Portland, Oregon. Giving birth to two children, Sylvia and Jerry also adopted a third. Sylvia's sister died at age 50 when her daughter was just 8 years old. Elizabeth is now 23 years old. Daughter Stephanie is 31, and a dentist in Houston. Son Jeremy is 29 and lives locally. Sylvia and Jerry have also parented six foster children over the years as well as provided a home for many exchange students. Some parents have actually had the Maly's provide "parenting relief" for their kids when they needed a separation period. So when did Sylvia find the time and energy to become the "queen" of the Kiwanis Club?? She has been active since 1999 and has held many positions. Sylvia also started the KEY Club in 1999, a leadership group at the Corbett High School. She continues to volunteer in the kitchen at her church, with the ASPIRE program at the high school to help kids get college scholarships, and was at one time such a key volunteer at the Corbett Schools, they gave her her own key to the building! She has also volunteered with the Helping Hands food program at the Corbett Grange. On top of all this, Sylvia just retired from Wells Fargo Bank after 13 years! Corbett living has been ideal for Sylvia and her family. She appreciates the caring and commitment to help others that thrives here. She also appreciates the close proximity to Portland while still living in the country. What does she enjoy more than her volunteering?? Her only grandchild, Sophia, age 4. "The light of my life!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Magical Hands

Born in 1932 as one of six children, Gerald West was raised in Michigan. After graduating from high school in 1950, Gerald worked briefly for General Motors doing machine repair work. This started a lifetime career of working on mechanical equipment. Beginning flight training in 1951, Gerald joined the Air Force in 1952 with basic training in New York. He then had aircraft/engine schooling for six months in Texas, before heading to McCord Air Force Base in 1952. Gerald got his private pilot's license in 1953 and was transferred to Portland. Gerald finished his career with the Air Force as a Flight Engineer. Once he left the Air Force, he went back to work at General Motors where he oiled machines and did machine repair. While in Portland, Gerald met his first wife in 1955. They were married for 26 years and had five children together. Going through a difficult divorce, Gerald lived with Ethel Smith and her husband, George Rawley in Corbett for two years. This is a time in his life he feels deep gratitude for those that were such a strong support for him. After living with his friends, Gerald moved back into an unfinished home he owned in Corbett. Gerald had worked for the Oregon State Parks from 1984-1994 as a mechanic. In 1995 he met Lillian, his current wife through a man he had worked with at the State Parks. Together, he and Lillian would finish the Corbett home on the 40 acres that Gerald had. Lillian loved flowers, so there were flower beds planted everywhere! Both Gerald and Lillian love to work outside and be involved with the Corbett community. Both are members of the Columbia Gorge Rock Hounds, they each volunteer weekly at the Corbett Grange, attend a local church and love to help friends and neighbors with their mechanical equipment needs. Often they get together with friends to play Penuckle and Rummy games. Gerald says he is at peace and loves each new day and all it brings!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Menucha Employee for 30 Years!!

Pat Haffner is the second oldest of 15 children born to her parents. Her youngest sister was actually born AFTER Pat had already moved out of the family home! Having attended 2.5 years of college- first at Gonzaga Univ. and then Portland State Univ., Pat met her husband Larry on a blind date. They married shortly after when Pat was just 23 years old. Because Larry was in the service, they moved ten times in the first 12 years of marriage! In 1975, Larry and Pat got "lost" in Corbett when driving around. They stopped at the Corbett Market and when asking for direction, they also asked about the name of a local Realtor because they loved what they were seeing! Larry grew up on a farm in Illinois, and they had two sons that they wanted to have the same "country life" experience. Finding land they liked, the Haffner's built a home in the "woods" of Corbett that even has a waterfall behind their acreage! Loving their new home/lifestyle so much, they went on to have two more sons! Right from the beginning, Pat connected with the Corbett community. She volunteered extensively at the schools while her boys were young, was a PTA member for many years, served on the Corbett School Board as a member for nine years, has been volunteering with the Kiwania's Club the past 12 years, and has worked at Corbett's Menucha Conference Center for 30 years in their office, working on billings, collections, and setting up conferences. The last several years she has also volunteered with the Helping Hands food program at the Corbett Grange Hall. In the midst of all this, Pat and Larry took in an exchange student and two foster kids, one of whom spoke NO english! Having a heart for education, Pat has volunteered with the ASPIRE program to help kids apply for college scholarships. No surprise, all four of her sons have gone on to higher education- one becoming a teaching professor overseas, one a forestry grad who is now a private contractor, another a doctor of pharmacy, and the youngest is just shy of earning his audio engineering certification. Pat and Larry have four grandchildren and two are now attending school in Corbett. Pat does not just talk about her passion for family, volunteering and education, she has LIVED it- to the benefit of many in our community!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Taking the Summer Off from My Blog

Feeling the need to put more concentration on family and my ever growing career in real estate, I am taking a break from my interviews for the next two months. This blog is one of the most enjoyable parts of who and what I am all about, so please enjoy past interviews and know that.....I will be back soon~
Happy Summer to all!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Member of the Rusty Zipper Club

When Bob Johnson found his way out to Corbett in 1960, he came from Boise, Idaho and brought along his wife Thola and their six children. Bob says they had all six children before the oldest was even six years old! Finding a beautiful and spacious home with a spectacular view, he and Thola made an offer. The seller said he needed more of a down payment. Heartbroken, Thola said it was the perfect home for their family, so the owner relented, and now Bob still lives in the same home! The kids are grown and gone and Thola has passed, but Bob says he stays because he has grown attached not only to the home, but to the folks of the community who are now some of his very dearest friends. Born in 1925, Bob grew up in Montana, and went to work for the Northern Pacific RR part-time when he was just 16 years old. He was following in his father's footsteps, but soon realized that it was "not for him." He then began college at the Univ. of Minnesota, studying to be an engineer. Soon after, he realized that this also was "not for him."  After meeting with a vocational guidance counselor, he was steered into getting educated for a career that had never even crossed his mind. Bob spent his entire working career as an editor for different newspapers, including 30 years at The Oregonian. He says that the decision was without any regret, as he had great success and truly loved what he was able to do for a living. Although he retired in 1990 and his poor eyesight has worsened over the years, he still continues to read on a daily basis. He says that he mostly reads magazines now so he can easily pick and choose the articles he wants to read. Once the president of the Boy Scouts for the area, son Jared became an Eagle Scout. Bob has been involved in various roles over the years in the community, and continues to be a Grange member, a member of the "Rusty Zipper" breakfast group that meets weekly, a member of the Springdale School Association and is currently in charge of making the "secret sauce" for the big fundraising spaghetti dinner being held next week for the Springdale School!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One of the Baker Girls

Her journey into Corbett all started with summer camp. After meeting her husband Tim at Trout Creek Bible Camp, Debbie Baker married him a year later. Originally from Portland, Debbie had a relative who lived in Estacada, and she remembered as a child wanting to "some day live in the country" as well. Moving to Corbett to raise a family was literally a dream come true for Debbie. In 1982 she and Tim began their family with Josh. Timothy was born in 1983, living just a short time before passing in 1984. Carrie arrived in 1985, Allan in 1987, and then their "Christmas gift" arrived on Dec. 27, 1997. Daughter Laura was born. Recently, Carrie married Paul, so he is a part of the family as well! Before becoming a mother, Debbie worked at Copeland Lumber. On 1-1-89 Tim bought Baker and Son Logging from his dad and uncles, and Debbie became their bookkeeper. Currently both of their sons are logging with Tim, and Debbie remains the bookkeeper. Over the years Debbie has been heavily involved with raising the children, volunteering at Aims Community Church, working at Trout Creek Bible Camp and now is working at the Corbett Schools through MESD. Debbie is passionate about working with children and recently loved helping out as a costumer for the "Oliver" play that CCT performed. Living in Corbett was an adjustment at first because  Corbett is "soooo quiet and peaceful!" When growing up in Portland, there seemed to be lots of noise all the time. In fact, when she was 18 years old, a United DC-8 commercial airplane literally crashed in her backyard on SE 157th and Burnside! That was an experience that she will never forget. These days she is happy to be living in the quiet country home her husband built and that they raised all their children in.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Firmly Invested

Leroy was born in 1941 as the youngest of three sons to (George) Raymond and (Alice) Wilma Smith. Leroy's folks married in 1935 after both had grown up in the area. Leroy attended Springdale School for grades 1-8 and then Corbett High until he graduated. Being an athlete, Leroy excelled in both basketball and football. He was selected to play in the Shriner's All-Star game as a quarterback, then went to Portland State Univ. for a year and played basketball for the school. In 1908 the Columbia Phone Co. was started by the Evans and Ellis families. Leroy's Grandpa Lucas (his mom's father) took the company over but then died in 1945, leaving Leroy's father to take over. In 1957 they went to a dial system. After a year of college, Leroy came home to work for the phone company with his dad. In 1960, Leroy married a local gal named Sharon who was still attending Corbett High School. Sharon finished her education and was one month shy of delivering their first daughter when she graduated! Leroy and Sharon went on to have a total of three children together. In 1973 the Columbia Phone Co. merged with Estacada Phone Co. and became Cascade Utilities. The current phone company building was built in 1974 after moving out of the current Corbett Water Dept. office on the Scenic Hwy. Corbett's phone company is now known as Reliance Connects. Three years after the merger, Leroy decided to sell out of the business and purchase Pounder Oil from Albert Pounder who was looking to retire. After five years, Leroy sold the company to the current owners and moved to Eastern Oregon with new wife, Patti. Being a rancher and then a Fire Chief, who created a new fire department for the area,  Leroy and Patti headed back to Corbett after nine years away. Moving to Howard Canyon, Leroy and Patti then built their own home in 1996 near Leroy's son, Jeff. These days Leroy is logging and working at the family's rock quarry in Corbett. He says he never wants to retire. Being past class president at Corbett High, president of Corbett's Pioneer Assoc., Kiwanis, Booster Club and the Oregon Independent Telephone Association, he also kept time for Corbett's basketball and football teams for years on end. Not to mention, serving literally decades as a volunteer firefighter and board member for the Corbett Fire Dept. These days he is happy to let the next generation "take over" where he left off. Is Smith Road named after his family? "No, that is after Howard Smith, no relation." Does his family have a road named after them? "Yes! It is at the end of Brower Road and is named after my grandfather. It is called George H.W. Smith Road!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Memorial Day Thank You to one of Ours

Beginning his life in an orphanage, Hank Rice was adopted at just over a year old. Growing up with parents and a sister who was also adopted, Hank spent his childhood living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. After graduating from high school, Hank enrolled in the U.S. Army for 8.5 years. Three of those years were spent in Vietnam. Hank was a part of the 1st Air Cavalry's, 9th Regiment "Hunter Killer Teams," an elite, highly decorated unit that flew Cobra helicopters and had a 60-70% casualty rate. Quietly, Hank states that this was a life changing experience. "Apocalypse Now" is a well known movie that actually portrayed his unit. (Hank was personally shot down on three separate occasions) Among the various awards Hank has received, are the Distinguished Flying Cross on four occasions, the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal of Valour, and two Purple Hearts. In 1972 Hank left the Army and headed to Southern Rhodesia, where he got a commission in the Air Force to fly helicopters, but then, he was recruited as part of the Selous Scouts, an elite special forces unit. Returning to CA. after two years, Hank enrolled at Cal. State Univ. to get a bachelor's degree in International Relations and a minor in Economics. Later he went to work in the insurance industry as an investigator in the Arson and Fraud Division. The father of five children, Hank is currently married to Carol (Love) Rice, a Texas native. Hank moved from Portland to Corbett in 1996. It is here that he is able to be retired and enjoy a relaxed home and lifestyle. At age 40 Hank was able to find both of his birth parents (it took over a year) and is at peace that it was a positive experience for everyone, including seven half siblings. One of these days, there may even be a book that comes out of Hank's many life experiences. It is a thought that has crossed his mind more than once.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Man on Wheels

If you were to ask Nick Ray what the "good life" is, he would most likely let you know he is currently living it! Nick grew up in Portland with his parents and one sister. In 2009, Nick decided to move his own family out of the Rockwood area. Nick says he was living in an area that he considered dangerous, noisy, and stifling. He had no interest in having his kids grow up in such a stressful situation. Nick has three daughters, ages 13, 8 and 5. Currently they are all living on the property of his stepfather and mother in Corbett. He says that the fact his girls are able to play freely outside in the fresh air and have such a quality school to attend is fantastic. Nick is employeed at the Corbett Water District and says that most days after he walks his girls to school, he continues his walk to work! At the department, Nick helps run the treatment plant, lay pipe and set up/perform services and repairs for the customers. Lately they have been taking care of some main artery pipe work near the Grange Hall and that has affected many folks in the area. Some of the pipes are older and can burst, so they are then replaced with the newer PVC piping. When Nick is not at work or with his kids, he most enjoys long bike rides. Recently he went on a 67 mile ride and that was not even his longest~ one day he rode over 100 miles!! It is the freedom and fresh air that is the most appealing, not to mention the physical work out. Nick says he rides a mountain bike because it is more of a challenge and he likes that. Having a playful spirit, it is his daughter's that keep him active and young at heart. It is a good day when they are able to head over to the grade school to play on the swings or run around the fields. Nick loves the serenity of the area as well as the views he gets to see from his home. His favorite part of living in Corbett? "That's easy. The people." He is looking forward to helping out with the July 4th Parade this year.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Choosing to Live with Purpose

It all began at Sunnyside Hospital 20 years ago. Andrew Elwood made his first appearance and has never looked back. Having two older sisters, Jennifer and Tara, Andrew was born to Rachel and Matthew Elwood. Through much of his early years Andrew moved around quite a bit with his mother and oldest sister, Jennifer. His parents divorced and he lived in Corbett off and on. Once in 5th grade, he moved to Corbett permanently. Andrew's mother died when he was just 11 years old. After living in a short term care home, he lived with Corbett residents Sonny and Carnetta Boyd before moving in permanently with Great Aunt Sarah Stewart and (soon-to-be) Uncle Scott in Corbett. Andrew played football for Corbett throughout middle and early high school. He also took private lessons to earn his Black Belt in Brazilian Jujitsu and a Tier 2 Qualification in Muay Thai. Andrew also worked during the summer time period at the local View Point Inn Restaurant. He teamed up throughout high school with Jacy Clare to represent Corbett High's Robotics Team three consecutive years at the MATE International Aquatic Robotics Competition. Up against 5 and 6A schools, the two man team managed to place 3rd at regionals! Once graduated from Corbett High, Andrew headed to Oregon State University to pursue mechanical engineering. Because of his current struggle with his unique and aggressive cancer, Andrew has taken a step back from school but will go back to pursue pre-med with a focus on chiropractic medicine next fall (2013). His goal is to eventually pursue his doctorate in medicine. Andrew has been diagnosed six different times with melanoma and suffers from constant physical pains, even while medicated. Andrew is not depressed or discouraged, although he has been down those paths. Having childhood friends JR Renner and Cierra Williams as well as key "extended family" such as the parents of his best and closest friends and many Corbett teachers, has made a HUGE impact and difference in his life. Andrew said Corbett is a place of comfort and security for him, knowing he truly is cared about here. In a recent friendship with Aubrey Woodard, Andrew took on a new faith in God and has a new outlook on life. In December of 2011, after facing an occipital cranionomy, Andrew said he had thought the most powerful feeling was pain, but realized soon after that it was instead, love. Andrew's greatest desire at this point is to help others. He has taken the initiative in life to live by striving to incorporate all levels of health and medicine, whether is be Western or Eastern Medicines, nutrition, fitness; whatever he can find, to find a cure for his disease. Andrew has begun tattooing what matters most to him and what he lives by, on his body. Currently he honors his grandfather and hero, Albert Smith with "Maxime Honorem", latin for "Honor Above All Else" across shoulders. A vendetta to his mother tattooed on his right shoulder reads "Superstes" Latin for "Survive," and the Roman numerals "MMIII" which represent the year his mother passed away from pancreatic cancer. Andrew lives each day believeing that there is always more positive than negative in the world, and that there is always hope. If you wish to support Andrew, please go to:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome to Corbett!!

It was definitely a journey, but Marnie Brown Conti is finally here to stay! Growing up on the East Coast, Marnie says she was named after the Hitchcock movie, "Marnie." She has one brother and says her parents were free loving hippies that embraced life. Marnie learned to do the same. Graduating from college in Vermont, she spent the next 10 months traveling with a girlfriend. They explored The South Pacific, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Eventually she made her way home, then took off to Utah to play, ski and work. Getting a job in finance (what her degree was in) did not bring her any joy or satisfaction. She quit the job and went to the Utah College of Massage Therapy to become a massage therapist. Always passionate about fitness, Marnie began working at a resort hotel, where she was introduced to spa manager, Matt Conti. The two fell in love and moved to Hood River, Oregon to windsurf. Matt had also grown up on the East Coast. They shared a passion for living life to the fullest with lots of physical activity. They both became massage therapists at Skamania Lodge then later moved to Vermont to work at a tennis resort. While there, they became engaged. Married in Massachusetts in 1997, they chose to move back to Utah. This time Matt took a job with Fidelity Investments, choosing to work in the field in which he had his MBA degree. They were job transferred to Rhode Island, and then eventually back to Oregon. Remembering how passionate they were about the Gorge in their earlier years, they began looking for a home nearby. Corbett seemed to be a perfect fit. With three children aged 10, 8 and 6, they made the move to Corbett just two months ago. They are extremely happy to have a view of the Gorge and are excited to get involved in the community! Her hope? To get a lacrosse team started for the Corbett kids.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Horse Lover

Kelli Jung loves dirt. Literally. Growing up in Montana, Kelli grew up with five sisters and enjoyed riding horses, snow mobiling, snow skiing, ice skating, and catching gophers (to keep as pets!) When Kelli was 14, her family moved to Oregon. Kelli continued to keep up with a lot of outdoor activities, mostly horseback riding. In 1996, Kelli became friends with someone living in Corbett. She became familiar with the area and decided to "keep her eyes open." One day Kelli saw a home in Corbett and called Vera Gaughn, local Realtor at the time. No looking back! Kelli has been a Corbett resident ever since. She loves most being able to keep her horses at home with her and have plenty of "breathing room," both for her and her horses! After going to school to learn accounting, Kelli is now a Realtor herself! She has been at it for 17 years and says she loves working mostly in rural areas, as she is such an "outdoor" kind of gal. The only downside of living in Corbett would be the wind, but Kelli says the people here more than make up for that. "The community is so wonderful and the access to both Portland and Vancouver is really quick and easy." When Kelli was 17, she was the first runner up for Miss Oregon Universe. She says the experience was really great, but she chose not to continue on that path. Her main passion in life is her horses, and she has ridden bare back since the beginning. Kelli and all her sisters were taught to ride without a saddle because their mom had a friend die as a result of being drug by horse, her foot stuck in the stir up. On occassion Kelli will wear a helmet, but loves the freedom of riding even 5-6 hours up the steep side of a mountain without anything but the reins to guide her baby.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Family First

When Mike Fort was just 12 years old, his family made the move to Corbett from Rockwood. Prior to that, they had made the "big" move from Michigan when Mike was just two years old. Being the youngest of three kids, Mike says he was a bit rebellious as he grew up. His mom would drop him off for choir and youth group at church and he would walk in the front door, then walk right on out the back door! When attending Corbett High, Mike was an All-Star football player, playing in the Shriner Game as a linebacker. He dated and married his high school sweetheart, Michelle. She was also an athlete, going to State three times as a volleyball player. Growing up in Corbett, Mike says everyone was tight knit. All the kids and parents knew and cared about each other. Mike loves to be outdoors and working with his hands. He loves to hunt, fish and hike. After graduation, he pursued construction, working for Dick Wand and then Skyland Sheet Metal. In 1995, he teamed up with friend Matt Baker to start their own construction company. Currently Mike and wife Michelle live in a Corbett home that borders the home Mike grew up in. Together they have two children, Josie, 13 and Lane, 8. Community continues to be important to Mike, and he is actively involved. He helped with the construction of the Jeff Lucas Memorial Staium, helped with "Work Day" on the school grounds, coached his daughter's softball team, and is always nearby to help someone in need. Mike no longer sneaks out the back door of church, but says he and Michelle make it a priority for their family. Owning his own business, Mike says he appreciates how it allows him to be such a big part of his kid's lives as they are growing up. He says he also loves to travel with Michelle when he has the chance. His favorite spot so far? Either the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands.... for the sunshine!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Home Grown

Living in Corbett since birth, you could say that Eric Eaton is "home grown." Eric's folks moved to Corbett in the early 70's after his dad returned from Vietnam. A year later Eric was born and later, brother Mark and sister Katie. The Eaton's built their own home on Center Street in Corbett. Many are not even familiar with this road off of the Scenic Hwy.! They raised red worms, milk cows, goats, pigs and a pony. They even had an enormous wind tower with seven ft. long blades! Eric says his parents could be described as "hippies" and very "earth loving" at a time when Corbett was much more rural than it is today. Eric says growing up in Corbett was like having one big family, as everyone accepted and depended on one another for everything. Including sports at school- Eric excelled in football and played for the Oregon All-Stars in Great Britain. He represented Corbett High and even spoke personally with the Duke and Duchess of York! Eric attended class at Springdale School, Corbett Grade that burned down and the current Corbett Middle and High School. Eric's folks eventually split, and  Eric's mom died when was a Junior in high school. Eric went on to MHCC and got a degree in Entrepreneurship/Small Business Ownership. Eric had always had a passion for construction and was following in the path of his ancestors who were Mayflower carpenters, coming to America in 1620! Eric held several supervisory roles in commercial construction, being the main supervisor of the construction of the Gresham Winco at age 24. When the 9/11 tragedy hit, it was a blow to the construction industry. Eric then started his own business, Eaton Construction, and there has been no looking back. This year he will celebrate his 10 year anniversary with his company. He also has another anniversary to celebrate. Eric married April in 1998, having met her in first grade in Corbett. They now have two children and are actively involved with the community that they were both raised in.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ellis Road

When you have a road in Corbett named after your family, you know "you have arrived!" Jim Ellis does not actually live on the road named after his family, but is thrilled to have his roots here. Having been raised and raising his own family in Corbett, he loves and appreciates the community on many levels. Jim graduated in 1961 from Corbett High and went to both Portland State Univ. and Oregon State Univ. before getting his degree in chemical engineering in 1967. Along the way he met and married Pat, from Sandy. Once married and graduated, they headed to Anacortes, Wa. and then Springfield, Or. for work. Jim's father passed in 1974 and his mom was struggling to keep the family farm in Corbett going. Jim and Pat decided to make a move back to Corbett to help his mom out. Jim got a job with a Portland area corporation, having to take a demotion to make the move back. It turned into a blessing because he stayed with the company 24 years, becoming the President and CEO! Along the way, he and Pat had two daughters, Kari and Angie. Having retired in 2003, Jim says living in Corbett has literally saved his life to a certain degree. Now retired since 2003, Jim says there were some very stressful years as the head of the company. The peace and serenity of the Corbett lifestyle was therapeutic on many levels. The home his grandfather and the home his father built are both nearby, as well as all the many wonderful childhood memories of growing up on the farm. Over the years, Jim has served four years on the Corbett School Board and is now the President of the Board for the Corbett Education Foundation. He also finds time to be an elder at his church. His goal in life continues to be focused on serving and helping others.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

April 21, 1968

Growing up in SE Portland, Ron Cannon graduated from David Douglas High School in 1965. After finishing school, he got involved with radio broadcasting. In July 1967, Ron was drafted. Hoping to get into radio operations and stay out of harm's way, he ended up carrying a radio on his back into the jungle of Vietnam. After a mere three weeks in Vietnam, Ron stepped on a land mine and spent the next three weeks fighting for his life. Ron laughingly says there are no atheists on the battlefield. After losing his lower right leg and a portion of his left leg, he also had a body full of shrapnel. It was at this time that Ron literally asked God what purpose there was for him now.... After being discharged in Feb. 1969, Ron was back home attending Mt. Hood Community College, working to finish degrees in both radio and television. It was during this time he met his wife Shirley at a party. Ron said he immediately KNEW he was smitten and Shirley was the one he wanted to be with forever. The two dated and then married in Nov. 1972.  Moving to Corbett in 1978, they purchased a home together and raised their three children. Ron loved being a father and wanted to "give back" to his community and others. Being bullied as a child, he became involved with his son Michael's Cub and then Boy Scout troop. He taught the boys how to have self-confidence and also taught them about disabilities. Ron was actively involved with the Scouts in Corbett for over 10 years, and under his leadership, he watched 13 boys (including his own) become Eagle Scouts. Ron has also continued to serve on the Corbett Fire Dept. Board. for the last 10 years. Ron eventually left broadcasting to become the first Disabled Veteran's Outreach P Division Director in 1977. He served veterans and disabled persons for eight years and was then hired by the Federal U.S. Dept. of Labor's Veteran's Employment and Training Service. He recently has retired. Thinking back to April 21, 1968 when Ron asked God about his purpose....he now understands. Ron used his past pains to better enhance the lives of others, blessing numerous people along the way.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Part of the Team

Moving to Corbett from Baton Rouge, LA in 1998, is a bit of a story for Marcie Edmunds. She and husband Kirby are native Oregonians, but when Kirby was laid off from the railroad, he decided to take the job offered to him in LA. When the Union Pacific RR was ready to hire Kirby back on, they were both ready to come "home" to Oregon. Problem was, Marcie's sister was now renting and living in their home! Not wanting to kick her out, Kirby's dad knew a man named Raymond Smith in Corbett who was looking to hire someone to live on his land~ Kirby and Marcie took their trailer to the rock quarry at the end of Howard Road to "keep an eye on things" for Raymond. Living there for two years, they ended up loving the beautiful area and community of Corbett. In time, the couple purchased some acreage from Raymond, taking their trailer with them to the new property in Corbett. Eventually they replaced the trailer with a manufactured home, and have been happily there ever since! Marice is excited to mention that she not only has three grown sons, but also has three grandsons! She smiles as she describes each of them by name. Kirby has been with the railroad a total of 30 years now and Marcie is a full time homemaker and mom to sons Arthur and Austin, still living at home. One thing Marcie loves about their current Corbett location is that it is so private and peaceful, providing great serenity. Having been through a few bumps in her life, Marcie is quite connected to her church, East Hill in Gresham and says she loves to help others. She looked out for an elderly neighbor for years, helping him get food assistance at the Grange. Now Marcie is "part of the team" of volunteers that helps out at the Grange. Each Monday she is a quiet and yet gentle spirit that provides a ray of cheer and kindness as she helps hand wash all the dishes after the senior's no cost hot lunch is served. It is this meaningful service that puts the near constant smile on her face for all to enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Master at His Craft

Being the youngest of four boys, Brian Aho first moved to Corbett with his family when he was just starting to walk and talk. It was at this time that his family had purchased acreage and started building a house on the land. As early as Brian can remember, he was always swinging a hammer. Attending Corbett schools K-12, Brian built his mom a garden shed, fencing, a shop addition, helped paint the house, and even built furniture during his childhood. When he wasn't busy playing sports in school, he was snowboarding and riding motorcycles with his brothers. His dad also taught him a great deal about working on cars, something he still enjoys doing today. Brian says he loves the fact he was friends "with everyone" growing up in Corbett, and still is. After high school, Brian went on a whirlwind trip across the U.S. in a motor home, seeing as many sites as possible in just under two months. He then moved to Bend to study business for two years at Central Oregon Community College. Having a brother who is a firefighter, he came back from Bend and went to Portland State Univ. to study Fire Science. Brian also continued traveling during this time, visiting Africa, El Salvador (to visit his parent's orphanage), the Canary Islands, Europe and even Florida. He also never stopped building, always looking to learn more each step of the way. In 2005 Brian was able to begin his own company, Aho Custom Building and Remodeling, LLC. He has enjoyed great success, remodeling many homes in Corbett as well as in other locations. Brian has also had great success with family. In 2005, his very close friend introduced him to Kaitlin Wilson, a gal who also grew up in Corbett but was a few years younger. He says he just KNEW she was the one he wanted to spend his life with. She was the "complete package!" He and Kaitlin married and now have two children, Greyson 3 and Paisley 17 months. Not only did they create a family together, but have also built a home together as well. They purchased a 1922 "tear down" in Corbett and had the Corbett Fire Dept. do a practice burn. From scratch they have built a very energy efficient home that has many personal touches. It continues to be a "work in progress!"

Friday, March 9, 2012

It Didn't Sell

Sixteen years ago Heather Garrett moved to Corbett with her husband, Brad. Heather says she "stumbled across" their current home and property while Brad was in Sunriver. Knowing this was "the one," she called Brad. He encouraged her to go ahead and make an offer if she felt that strongly. Not having seen the house himself, Brad trusted Heather. Today there are no regrets! They made the move from Troutdale and are now raising daughter Delanie, age 15 and Mac, age 5 in the Corbett community. Heather has been involved at the schools as a volunteer, helped out with Corbett Children's Theatre, and also Corbett Youth Sports. She loves the people of the community and the fact that folks look out for each other's kids. Heather says that having a full-time job with Multnomah County as a HR analyst is not easy, and she loves coming home to peace and tranquility as well as privacy. Ten years ago they thought they would sell to move closer to Brad's job in Wilsonville. They put the home up for sale and it did not sell. Heather says that she is SO thankful that it did NOT bring a buyer! When Heather was in the fourth grade, her parents both took a teaching position in Australia. The entire family made the move for just six months. Heather laughs that everyone, both parents and the three kids, all got too homesick for the states and moved back. "Short but sweet."

Monday, February 27, 2012

WHAT a Surprise!

When Gerri Hendricks was living in Salem with husband Darrell, they were both looking to make a move closer to Darrell's job. When their Realtor found a lovely spot in Corbett, Gerri was surprised because she had no idea exactly where or what Corbett was all about. Because she grew up in the Humboldt State Park as a child, Corbett immediately felt like home. Gerri's father was a forest ranger and she always felt most comfortable in a rural setting. What a nice surprise to "discover" Corbett! Together Darrell and Gerri have three children- Alex, 18, Amanda 13 and Alyssa is 10. Unable to have children, Alex was adopted from Eugene at 2 days old, and Amanda was adopted from Korea just before she was six months old. At this point they felt their family was "complete." One day Gerri had a severe back ache and went in to get an x-ray. When the doctor asked if she could be pregnant, she laughed out loud. "Highly doubtful!" The doctor decided to check anyway. Surprise!! At age 42, Gerri was expecting, and she was so stunned, she was speechless. Darrell called her and asked how her appointment was and if they had "discovered" anything. "Well, actually , YES...they have" was the answer! Raising their kids in Corbett has been an absolute joy. Alex is currently an Eagle Scout candidate and a senior at Corbett High. Amanda is actively involved with Girl Scouts and as is Alyssa. Gerri works full-time at the Vancouver VA Hospital and is a recreational therapist. She enjoys being able to help veterans do the leisure activities they once enjoyed prior to their activities. The past 11 years, Gerri's sister, "Nanny Kaye" has lived with their family full time after her husband passed. Kaye helps out around the home as well as helping with the care of the kids. Gerri then has the time and energy to be very involved with all the kid's activities in Scouting as well as doing a great deal of volunteer work at the schools.Gerri loves everything in Corbett- the people, the beauty, the wildlife, and even...surprise! THE WIND!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Helping Others Get Healthy

Chemae Steven's grandparents, Josh and Barbara Wall had lived in Corbett for 32 years before her grandfather passed last summer. Chemae always knew that one day she also wanted her own family to live in the community. After three years of searching, she and husband Eric found just the "right" home. Living in Corbett the past seven years, both Chemae and Eric love the Corbett community and have been involved on many levels with their two children, Matt and Maddie. Chemae has been a librarian at the grade school, helped out in the classrooms, and helped support Eric with the Booster Club and putting on the Red and Black Dinner/Auction held each year. Although Chemae is slender and fit now, that was not always the case. Five years ago Chemae saw a gal in the community start losing some weight and asked her about it. Chemae was struggling with some serious health issues and needed to drop weight. After beginning the "Take Shape for Life" program, Chemae lost 32 lbs. in just three months. Her issues with diabetes and heart disease were now no longer a concern. Feeling better than she ever has after five years of keeping off all the weight, Chemae is driven to help others succeed as well. In fact, Eric recently came on board full time to join her career as a health coach in their business,"Fit for Me" (TSFL). Chemae says that together they take folks from a "surviving" lifestyle to a THRIVING one, restoring people's health, hopes and dreams. Personally, Chemae knows that goals and dreams are possible. In 1989 Chemae was an exchange student in college, going from OSU to Australia for a full school year. She says she became a certified scuba diver so that she could dive the Great Barrier Reef. This is an experience she will never forget, and she says she is drawn to help others set and reach their dreams and goals as well....whatever they may be!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Incredible Hands

One of the first things you may notice about Joe Luna is that when you shake his hand, it is quite strong and weathered. Joe has been using his hands most of his entire life, even building his own home in Corbett in 1995. Joe is a brick layer who also lays stone and block. He has built both reader board signs at the Corbett Schools, the base for the Corbett sign at the west end of the grade school, worked on the Jeff Lucas Memorial, and laid brick pavers to raise money at the grade school playground. Joe has even done restoration work on the Vista House. Carefully, he saved all of the pieces and then "put everything back together" as needed. Joe and wife Lori are heavily vested in the community, raising daughter Antonia and twin boys, Gabe and Ben here. Antonia recently married in the Bahamas and now lives in Portland with her husband. Both boys are also living and working in Portland. Lori teaches Spanish at the Corbett Schools and is also the co-principal of the high/middle schools. As their kids were growing up, Joe was also a coach. He coached girl's softball and soccer as well as boy's soccer and baseball. All three of the kids excelled in athletics. Joe loves the small town feel of Corbett, as he was raised in the Sequoia National Forest. His dad was a forest ranger. Recently Lori and Joe purchased a second home in Gaunajauto, Mexico that is currently being renovated. They look forward to taking several trips a year to visit, as this is where Lori has attended summer school the last three years. Joe says that Mexico will never replace Corbett, and he someday wants to be "buried in the back yard!" He seems to love everything about the place, including the schools that he and Lori are so heavily vested in. Joe says he greatly appreciates all the positive people that have had a positive impact on the schools over the years. "THAT is why Corbett is thriving!"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One of Ten

James "Jim" Layton was born in Georgia and was one of ten boys born to his parents. Jim was number nine of ten, born in 1931. When Jim was just eight years old, his father was killed in a car accident. Just a few years later, Jim dropped out of school to help care for his mother, and she died when he was just 14 years old. It was decided that the best choice was for him to move to Oregon to live with one of his older brothers. Moving to Corbett, Jim lived a brief time with his brother before moving in with Mrs. Davis, Woody's grandmother. One month later she died, so he went to live with his "second mother" who was Mrs.Ward Evans. Her husband had recently passed and her older children wanted her to have someone in the home with her. It was a great match, and Jim grew very close to Rae Evans who lived on Evans Road. Jim worked on the family daffodil farm and attended school at Springdale Grade School and then Corbett High. Jim signed up for the Marine reserves and was activated in June 1950 before graduating from high school. Heading to CA. for boot camp, Jim was serving at Camp Pendleton until 1955. In between those years, Jim also had served two tours to Korea. On leave in 1953, Jim went home to Corbett and met the girl of his dreams, Nona who was nearly five years younger than him. When finished with his military service in 1955, they married on the last day of that year. Jim and Nona went on to have five children, 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren! All five of their adult children live in the local area, with three actually in Corbett. Jim and Nona had a busy life- they owned the Corbett Garage service station in Corbett for nine years and then Jim went to work for the BPA as a heavy truck driver for 27 years before retiring in 1993. Nona was a operating room technician for 25 years at Providence Medical Center before retiring. In 1988 she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and has done well to manage since. One of Jim's favorite memories is driving for BPA all over the NW in areas where the public is not allowed. He delivered power poles, transformers and the oil for them to some very remote and beautiful areas that will always be etched in his mind. Jim spent 15 years as a Corbett volunteer firefighter, many as the Asst. Fire Chief. Today he reflects on his "excellent life" with his favorite friends over breakfast each Wed. morning at the Corbett Country Market. He is a proud member of the "Rusty Zipper Club."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A New Chapter

For Nikki Hjelm, this wife and mother of two is starting a new chapter in her life with a new adventure. Her and mother, Stacey Davenport just recently opened up The Springdale Trader next to Gloria's Hair Salon in Springdale. Nikki's father, Eric Davenport grew up in Corbett and her uncle Mark Davenport is the manager at Multnomah Falls Lodge restaurant. The store opened January 27, 2012 and sells eclectic, artsy, antique and handmade items. They offer consignment opportunities to those in the community. You get to set your own price, and have 30 days to display your item(s) in the store at no charge. If it sells, the store is paid 25% of the selling price. The last Saturday of each month, Nikki plans to give 50% of the store's proceeds to the Corbett Schools as a donation!  Just a year and a half ago, Nikki and her family moved to Corbett from the Gresham area. She and her husband Billy wanted their two boys to be a part of the Corbett School system. They currently live nearly next door to the schools and say they love the proximity! Just after moving in, Nikki began holding " yard sales" in front of their home. She says the response was so positive and amazing that she jumped at the opportunity to open an actual store in Springdale. About four years ago, Nikki's younger sister Roxann was 19 years old and got into a terrible car accident on her way home from working a double shift at the Multnomah Falls Lodge restaurant. Roxann drove over a cliff in the dark and was trapped in her car for 17 hours before being found and rescued. She is currently a quadriplegic. Nikki and her mother cared for her the last several years before recently getting her placed in a care facility. The event completely changed the entire family and made them all re-evaluate life. Nikki is now excited to move forward in a positive direction as she raises her sons, volunteers at the school, watches her husband study hard to his advanced degree in welding and now works with her mom in their new store. Getting a bit emotional, Nikki said she is overwhelmed with the positive people in the Corbett community. "They are some of the kindest and most amazing people I have EVER met." After several years of heartache in caring for her sister, she says she loves resting in the comfort of the amazing community she now gets to call home.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A CPA that Climbs Stairs with a Tank

There will be a total of seven volunteer Corbett Firefighters making the climb up 69 flights of stairs in Seattle's Columbia Tower next month. They will each be wearing approx. 65 lbs. of gear as they make the 788 vertical foot climb up 1,311 stairs. The climb will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and can be supported at When Tim Downing, A CPA from Portland, moved to Corbett nearly two years ago, he had no idea that a stair climb would be in his future. Married at the View Point Inn, Tim married Tara, a nurse whom he had actually met the first day of high school at Portland Christian. Tim has two children from his first marriage and together he and Tara have an almost 5 month old daughter. The two had gone to high school together, married others and then reunited after both had divorced. When Tim and Tara moved into Corbett, there was a flyer in their mailbox encouraging locals to become a volunteer firefighter. Tim had no experience, but thought he would give it a try. Tim says that the fire department is like family. He was immediately accepted and the experience has been indescribable. The department has responded to over 400 calls in 2011 and there was an excess of 35,000 volunteer hours put in with both training and call response. Besides appreciating the camaraderie of the fire department, Tim also speaks highly of the gorgeous views he and his family are able to experience from their home. As a CPA,  in 2010 Tim started his own practice here in Corbett. He provides tax and accounting services to individuals and small businesses. The name- Columbia River Financial, was a natural, given the area and the view from his home office. He can be reached at Tim says that it took quite some time to find the "right" home, but now that his family is settled, it sounds as if they will NOT be looking to move any time soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Man of Service

"It's a different kind of a person who lives in Corbett" laughs Larry Diebert. "People really do care, and do have the time to talk with you. "He is quite happy to have made the move in 1994 despite the tragedy that began his journey to the community. Having lived in Troutdale for 26 years, Larry and his wife Diane were ready for a bit more space between their home and the neighbors, so went to Corbett to look around. Finding a home in foreclosure that Diane just loved, they put down their earnest money. Within days of this, Diane wasn't feeling well and went to the doctor. In less than a month, she had passed, never having gotten the chance to live in the home. Larry had three sons from his first marriage to Bev (she passed from Leukemia) and two of them, Kim and Lou helped Larry to renovate and paint the Corbett house. It took Larry six months to actually move in. Once settled, he loved the peaceful and quiet acreage, solitude and fresh air. It was very relaxing and healing for him. Larry is currently married to Suzanne, and they have both helped out with the Helping Hands Food Program at the Corbett Grange. Larry owns several large trucks and pieces of equipment, so is a driver for the pick up of the food donations from around the city of Portland. He enjoys and appreciates being able to help feed the community with the food salvage program. Larry was actually once a neighbor to the current director of the program, Arnold DuFresne. They both lived in Portland and never met until volunteering together at the grange! Larry was the first in his family to be involved with the military, and his son Cary followed suit. Larry went to Army flight school and became a pilot. He also went to Jump School, Jungle School and Helicopter Training School. Eventually Larry retired with 26 years of military service. In 1968, he went to work for a Yellow Pages publisher, and ten years later started his own business in the same industry. After twenty years of owning his own business, Larry retired. Although he is now officially retired, rarely will you see Larry "resting." He is still actively involved in military activities and travel as well as spending time with his grandchildren!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Following in Dad's Footsteps

Clint Davis was born in 1966 to Judy and Woody Davis. Clint came home to Corbett from the Portland hospital, and he has never left, at least not permanently. After attending Corbett schools K-11, Clint signed up for the Army and went to boot camp the summer before his senior year. After graduating from Corbett High, Clint then completed AIT, Advanced Individual Training for MOS, Military Occupational Specialty. Although Clint lived a "civilian life" while serving in the Army Reserves for 12 years, he did indeed travel on tours outside of the U.S. at times. Clint retired from the Army in 1995. Back in 1987, Clint met the love of his life, Kathlene Berry at Corbett Community Church. Originally from Gresham, Kathlene married Clint and moved to Corbett. They now have four children, Shylo, Whitney, Spencer and Shelby. Shylo is a student at Warner Pacific College and her siblings are attending the Corbett schools. The family lives in a home that Clint's dad, Woody literally moved to their current property from the corner of 365th and the Scenic Hwy.! Clint worked as a maintenance supervisor at the Corbett schools for seven years, and  he "officially" joined his father at Davis Excavation in 1992. The business became incorporated in 1994 and and they specialize in excavation work and on site sanitation. Davis Excavation does just about every type of dirt and aggregate work imaginable. Although sister Cori has helped with the business, it will be Clint who will be taking over his dad's spot as the head operator. Woody says his son is far better than he ever was at running the equipment with precision. Over the years, when not working, Clint's hobbies have included motorcycle riding, target practice and ultra light flying, "the poor man's airplane." He says that Kathlene is a great companion, as she also loves to ride motorcycles and target practice. What are Clint's thoughts about the future without his father? "Bill Gates could not purchase what we have. The relationships we have within our community and with the legacy my father has left me, I am filthy rich- not measured in dollars, but by the quality of life due to friends and family who truly DO care."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Leaving a Legacy

Being the oldest of six kids, Sherwood "Woody" Davis was named after his grandfather. He was born in 1942 in Los Angeles while his father was working for Douglas Aircraft as a foreman. His father oversaw the women who were assembling parts for WWII planes. When the war was over, Woody's family moved back to Corbett. They moved into the "stone house" his grandfather had built on Gordon Creek Road. Woody's father then acquired the 10.5 acres next door from the county after the previous owner (now a widow) could no longer keep up with the taxes. Woody's father built a home on the land and raised his family there. After attending Corbett schools from first through twelfth grade, Woody married Judy Holt, age 15. Judy moved in with Woody's folks and finished high school while Woody spent six months of active duty with the National Guard in CA., then came home to work at a sheet metal factory. Eventually he got laid off and found work at Marckx Bakery for 10 years. Starting custom tractor work as a teen, Woody never left tractor work, even when he was employed elsewhere. What began as tiling gardens and mowing hay, later evolved into a custom haying operation. In 1963 he purchased his first bulldozer. Judy and Woody had three children together, Corinna, Shelly and Clint. Shelly died as an infant. They raised their children in Corbett and Clint always helped his dad when he was working outside, watching how carefully and how hard he worked. After 15 years together, Woody and Judy divorced, and Woody married Renee. Although they had no children together, Woody helped raise her three sons. In 1992, Woody and Clint officially began working together at Davis Excavation. It was dream come true for both of them. Many Corbett home sites have been cleared by the Davis men, as well as roads and driveways both built and cleared. Recently Woody found out he is suffering with ALS, and has limited days left. His body has changed as he is no longer able to eat solids and has lost 50 pounds. His speech has changed a bit and he says his hand muscles are not what they once were. Why the smile? He says he is touched by the outpouring of love from the community in which he raised his family. Married the last five years to Dori, a friend he attended school with in Corbett all twelve years, he is at peace. Woody says he loves the family land he lives on and feels wonderful leaving the family business in his son's capable hands, saying Clint is "better than I ever was" with the equipment. As for dying? "No fear- I know I am headed to Heaven because I have Jesus in my heart."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Changed Life

Tony Jacobs was dating his current wife, Pamela when they made the move to Corbett from Aloha in 1985. They had both decided to move in with Pamela's mother to help her out with managing the large acreage after her husband had passed. Pamela's father had built the home many years earlier and her grandfather had built the stone home next door. Moving in, Tony and Pamela decided to marry in 1986 and purchase their own place in Corbett. They both had been married previously, with Tony having three children, and Pamela having two from their first marriages. After nine months of marriage, both Tony and Pamela were sitting out on the back lawn at "Mom's house" trying to figure out a way to purchase the home and property from Pamela's mother. It just did not seem financially possible. The very next day, Tony was driving home on I-84 and was rear ended. The pile-up of cars was so horrendous that Tony's car crumpled and caught on fire. He managed to get himself out of the car while his body was literally in flames. He was burned on over 80% of his body and had a broken neck. Doctors gave his family notice that he had just 24 hours of life left. Tony was put into an induced coma for several weeks, went through 13 surgeries in 6 months, and fought the odds to not just survive, but thrive. As recent as three weeks ago, he has had 35 surgeries on his body. Tony says his whole life has changed...for the better! He used the money from his accident settlement to purchase the family home and acreage, he stopped smoking pot (now "getting high on life!") and he has recommitted himself to living out his Christian faith.Visiting a counselor to deal with his very different lifestyle, Tony was worried that with the loss of most of his fingers, he would never get to use his hands again. Being an avid fisherman, white water rafter, machine operator and a sheet metal worker previously, the counselor said his power was not in his hands as much as in his mind. With this thought, Tony began to use the limited fingers he had left to BEGIN a new wood working hobby! Recently his brother in-law, Woody Davis was diagnosed with ALS. Many years ago when Tony began his woodworking, Woody had joked that he wanted Tony to make his pine box when it came his time. Tony remembered this and has done just that, with a great deal of input from Woody on the design. Now Tony is taking it a step further by having the Corbett community sign the casket that will be used for Woody's burial. Tony and Woody are able to joke freely about "end times" as they both have the faith and confidence that they are both heaven bound. Tony says he loves the community so much, he wants to "give back" the way Woody has over the years. When he is not fishing on the Sandy River for steel head, he is soon going to be volunteering at the Corbett grange as he has at Corbett Community Church over the years. He also plans to continue giving encouraging talks at burn center support groups as well as meeting with folks one on one who just need a word of encouragement.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Firmly Grounded

It all started with the Gresham Outlook newspaper. Barry Smith's wife, Michelle pointed out a real estate ad for a " home and shop in the country." At the time, they were living with their four and six year old sons in Troutdale. Being in construction his entire life, Barry was more than ready to find a larger space to accommodate his growing number of tools. Half of the small garage they had was feeling a little too cozy! One look at the Corbett home and property, and Barry was convinced it was a "great fit," convincing Michelle that with a little bit of hard work, they could make the "rough looking" house and shop a real jewel. Getting involved in the community was an easy transition. Barry began coaching both soccer and baseball for his son's teams through Corbett Youth Sports. He was also a founding member of the newly re-started Corbett Booster Club, helping to build the new concession area inside of the high school gym. Once Scott and Spencer started Boy Scouts, Barry became a very involved Assistant Scout Leader, going on week long 50 mile hikes with the boys, all throughout Oregon. Barry also was involved for many years with the Corbett July 4th Parade, driving floats, trucks and helping kids be involved. Now that both his sons are away at out of state colleges, Barry is involved with teaching two leadership classes at the local community church and also at his place of employment, Konell Construction. Having 30 years of construction experience, Barry is now passionate about helping others grow and learn more about leadership in the work place, church and in the community. He is actually looking forward to putting a pen to paper about it after he finishes his John Maxwell training in February in Florida. Living in Corbett has allowed Barry a quiet and beautiful place to re-charge his batteries, raise his family, have the "dream shop" he always yearned for and make life long friends. Having attended the Univ. of Idaho, Barry says he loves nature and appreciates being able to breathe fresh air and see all the stars at night!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It was back in 1991 that Shari Graff and her family made the move to Corbett from the nearby Reynolds School District. Shari was in the 6th grade when she started school in Corbett, and ended up graduating from the high school in 1999. Shari has one older brother, Brandon who also attended Corbett schools. After graduation, Shari went on to Southern Oregon Univ. for two years to study journalism. She then came home to work at the Gresham Outlook newspaper for six years. During this time she also owned and operated "Beyond Events." When Shari decided to take her last drink in 2003, her life began to change. She realized that it was too difficult to be in a "party scene" with her business of event planning. She decided to go back to college and do it "right" with a clear mind, focused on her goals. In 2008 Shari was at a friend's wedding and ran into someone from Corbett she had met only once before. Once again, Shari's life was in a transition period. Shari and Dan Graff dated six months, got engaged and then married Sept.19, 2008. College completion slowed down a bit as Shari became a stepmom to Dan's children, age six and ten. Both kids came to live with them full-time. Deciding to add to the family, Dan and Shari now also have a two year old son together. Although motherhood is a full-time job and one that Shari loves, she just recently completed her college degree, finishing with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in business administration. With no desire to work a 9-5 job, Shari is now a business consultant, wanting to help others learn and know how to grow their own business. Shari says her biggest passions are in raising a strong family. Having a blended family has stretched her in ways she never knew, and she loves the fact all their kids are now living in and growing up in the same home where she was raised in Corbett. It is a joy for her to watch them climb the same trees she has and play in the same yard. Although she had the opportunity to visit Australia as an exchange student when she was a 15 years old and loved it, she says her heart is in Corbett, and she cannot imagine a better place to raise her family.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Solid Country Roots

Jim Rhodes was born in Bridal Veil and lived there with his family until he turned 16. His father was a mill worker, and Jim grew up knowing all about logging. Jim's uncle had purchased 20 acres in Corbett and had built a home on the land, later selling to Jim's grandparents. When Jim turned 16, his family moved to the Corbett property. Jim attended Corbett High, and enrolled in the Oregon Air National Guard with fellow classmate Clarence Mershon before graduating in 1949. Getting a job at the store across the road from the high school, delivering heating oil to local folks, Jim also worked at Montgomery Ward and for a Buick dealership before he was sent to Chicago for the Air National Guard. Having fallen in love with a beautiful local girl nearly four years younger than him, Jim married Jean Kerslake in 1951 before leaving for Chicago. Together Jim and Jean were gone to the Midwest for a year. Upon their return, Jim worked again for Buick, selling auto parts until 1960. In 1960 Jim got a job as a truck driver, later becoming a road supervisor for Multnomah County. The family Jim and Jean created together included two boys and a girl, and they were all raised in Corbett. Their daughter has since passed away. Now there are three grandsons to enjoy! Jim retired in 1991, and now one of their grandsons lives across the road from them in Jim's childhood home that his uncle built! Many years ago Jim and Jean divided their land and built their own home across the road from the original home. During their retirement years, Jim and Jean have traveled to 44 states by car, fifth wheel and airplane. These days they stay close to home, as Jean has been ill the last few years. Having served on the school board for seven years and on the fire department board for 25 years, Jim now enjoys having breakfast with his friends at the Corbett Market each Wednesday morning. The new owners make the entire crew homemade biscuits and gravy to enjoy while they talk about all about past and current happenings. Jim says Corbett folks are probably some of the friendliest folks ever!