Arriving in Oregon to work for Intel in Hillsboro as an electrical engineer, I searched for the right place to put down roots and found it in the foothills northwest of Yamhill. I have a clear memory of the day when I drove down Highway 47 for the first time, seeing the geese on the submerged onion fields of Gaston, passing through the hamlets of Wapato and Cove Orchard and then stopping in Yamhill to marvel at the beautiful patchwork of farms and forested hills beyond. It was love at first sight. On twenty acres of forest and meadow, I went to work building our home using lumber sawed from the trees cleared from the house site. Thankfully I received plenty of help from friends and neighbors (which I needed because I hadn’t built a house before). It was a paradise.

Later my career led me to the medical division of Hewlett Packard in McMinnville. It was another great job with an easy country road commute. I have come to think of McMinnville as an ideal when it comes to livability. Its size offers the friendly small-town feel, and yet there are excellent services. I enjoyed creating long-standing relationships with local businesses like First Federal, Hal Bellows Yard Service, Davison Auto, and Washington Roofing. Whenever I walk down Third Street I am delighted by the handsome 19th-century architecture. I feel grounded by our heritage. I feel such a part of this place that I want to get to know everyone I pass.

A while back I fenced some ground and raised a few cows. When it came time for “harvest” we called the folks at Riteway Meat of Dundee and had all the meat we could eat for a year in our freezer locker at T&E General Store. A few years ago I tried my hand at farming. It was a three-year saga of success and failure, but what I value most from the experience was being a part of the delicate web of life and gaining an understanding of the determination and courage of the real farmers that grow our crops.

When I drive East from Yamhill on Highway 240, I think of all the possibilities for a beautiful county drive.  Maybe up and around Woodland Loop? Or take Laughlin Rd toward Laurelwood and then Bald Peak Rd toward Newberg? The kids would always want to stop for lunch at Jem 100.

My children received good schooling in the hands of the caring teachers and administrators at Yamhill Grade School and Yamhill-Carlton High School. All three children have graduated from college with multiple degrees including an M.S. and a Ph.D. The values and security of our rural setting helped shape them into empowered, engaged citizens with a desire to serve their community. As the grandchildren count keeps rising so does my happiness.

Whenever I think about what this wonderful place has done for me, I am moved with the desire to give back. I am motivated to help everyone thrive and enjoy this bit of paradise as I have.

-Ken