Putting Faces on it
Jessica DuMoulin grew up in the area, graduating from NeahKahNie High School in 1997, where she now works as the Family Resource Coordinator. She is also working at the Sea Shack to be able to afford her rent. Fluent in Spanish she sometimes teaches a weekly language class at the North County Recreation District. Jessie would love to be in a home that she owns.
Edith Rohde retired into this community in 2004. She lives on a small pension of about $18,000 and rents a tiny apartment in Manzanita. She Secretary of the NeahCasa board and is passionate about the need for housing for older folks who live on a fixed income.
Kelly Benson and her kids, Matthew, Michael and Carolyn Maizel – Kelly grew up here and graduated from NeahKahNie High School in 1985. She and her then-pre-teenagers moved back here from the east coast when Kelly divorced. She began working for US Bank in 2003 and is now the Manzanita Branch Manager. The $39,000 she earns now is just a little too much to qualify for the free school lunch program but doesn’t stretch far enough to cover the cost of a home mortgage. She says she could not afford to live in the area if she weren’t living in a condominium her parents own in Manzanita. Kelly is a founding Board member of NeahCasa and until recently was also on the Board of the Women’s Crisis Center. She currently serves on the Manzanita Planning Commission.
Rex Harter, Natasha Stevens and Otto Harter currently live in an older manufactured home owned by Rex’s parents on Pacific Palisades off Hwy 101 between Manzanita and Nehalem. They are in the process of creating a plant nursery and currently sell plant starts and vegetables from their home and at the Manzanita Farmers Market. They need a house with some land around it. In the meantime to make ends meet, Rex works as a handyman and Natasha as a waitress. Natasha served as a NeahCasa Board Member other work made volunteering unrealistic.
Sarah Simmons, Abram Harris and Cosmo & Viva Harris – A NeahCasa success story. For 3 years Abram and Sarah looked for a home they could afford to buy. In Fall 2007, NeahCasa helped them find a private investor. Together they bought a recently renovated home with an extra lot in Wheeler Heights. Abram used to work for Cartm Recycling and has now set up Bold Eagle Design doing website design and computer troubleshooting. Sarah is a partner in It’s Only Fair – a fair trade gift shop in Manzanita. Oh yes, the new house came just in time - daughter Viva was born in March 2008.
LeeAnn Neal – A 6th generation Tillamook County resident descended from original settlers, both the Trasks and the Vaughns, LeeAnn is currently a reporter for the Headlight Herald. She’s also written at times for the North Coast Citizen, the Daily Astorian, Hipfish and the Coast Business Review. She is familiar to many from driving the forklift at her previous job at Cartm Recycling. She shares a small rental house in downtown Manzanita with her two siblings to make it affordable. However, that house will soon be torn down for commercial development and she will be looking again. LeeAnn is a founding Board Member of NeahCasa.
Jamie Ehrke and Mache Tallman – Jamie just finished therapeutic massage school and is setting herself up in business. With her school loan payments (including some from her stint at Evergreen College), there is no way Jamie can afford to own a home for herself and her first grade son anytime soon.
Please contact us if you have a good story for this page or would like to become active in NeahCasa’s efforts:
In the accepted tradition of Community Land Trusts, NeahCasa is committed to having 1/3 of its board members being present or potential NeahCasa homeowners and renters.
Check out our Getting A Home page if you want to begin that journey.
Why have so many of our “poster children” been NeahCasa Board members?
They know that they don’t have the means to own a home under ordinary circumstances, but they know that by working together it is possible to create the circumstances that might someday make it possible. Helping to create a Community Land Trust may just get them their dream.