I WAS BORN in rural Wisconsin surrounded by farms, dairies, and other small businesses. It was the birthplace of Flag Day, the fire department all volunteer, and the good jobs outside of town were manufacturing or public agency. Living in a 1860s house meant constant trips to the local lumberyard and garden center, which developed my curiosity about project management.
“If you’re looking for can-do earthy-crunchy attitude then you’ve got to go to Wisconsin.”
TRANSPORTATION was the connection between school, jobs, goods and services. Vehicles were critical to this remote location, particularly in the harsh winters. My grandfather used his 8th grade education, farm experience and engineering mind to successfully build county roads. Local roads were my favorite pathways to bike rides of freedom.
“On a bike, being just slightly above pedestrian and car eye level, one gets a perfect view of the goings-on in one’s town.”
DREAMS, like being an Olympic figure skater, were tied to time and distance as much as money. I craved living in town closer to social and economic opportunities, and independence. We made that big leap moving 2,000 miles near relatives in Aloha, Oregon my senior year of high school. A lunar landing of culture shock for a country kid.
“Everybody has to deal with tough time. A gold medal doesn’t make you immune to that. A skater is used to falling down and getting back up again.”
TRIMET MADE IT POSSIBLE to afford travel to Portland Community College and my part-time job downtown after graduation. I still shop for fashion footwear I can chase a bus in. The peak-hour schedule near my house meant good relationships with family, neighbors, and co-workers to make the last mile home when the bus didn’t run.
“Freedom lies in being bold.”
Wherever I have lived since; Wilsonville, Tigard, and SW Portland, transportation options were the connection to economic opportunities.
OVER 20 YEARS AGO I CHOSE WEST LINN, in a walkable neighborhood, as a place that felt like coming home. A city closely woven with a rural fabric.
“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”
Being outdoors is where I reconnect with nature in the garden, snowboarding, kayaking, or skating. I’m thankful to live in a place and within a community where our dreams are coming true.
“Injustice serves no one; respect and fairness is what we all need.”