Putting Faces on the Local Need

Note: This information was accurate as of Summer, 2008.  Circumstances for these particular people have changed but the overall need has not.

Jessica DuMoulin grew up here, graduating from NeahKahNie High School in 1997, where she now works as the Family Resource Coordinator.  She is also working as a waitress 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 that puts her just a little above 50% of Tillamook County’s median income of $34,300 for a single person. This qualifies her for low-income housing.  She presently rents a tiny apartment in Manzanita from a landlord committed to keeping the rent affordable. She is a key person on 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 (80% of our area median income of $49,000 for a family of 4) 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 it weren’t for a condominium her parents own in Manzanita.  Kelly was a founding Board member of NeahCasa, on the Board of the Women’s Crisis Center, and did a stint on the Manzanita Planning Commission.                 


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 in Washington), there is no way Jamie can afford to own a home for   

herself and her first grade son, Mache, anytime soon.


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 called Twisted Turnip. They sell plant starts and vegetables from their home, through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangement, 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 until her other duties made volunteering unrealistic.  Their income is well below 50% of the local median.


Sarah Simmons, Abram Harris and Cosmo & Viva Harris – A success story NeahCasa can take a little credit for!  Abram and Sarah were actively looking for three years for a home they could afford to buy.  In Fall 2007, NeahCasa helped them find a private investor who went in with them to buy a recently renovated home with an extra lot on Penn Avenue 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 house came just in time as baby 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 and works in the kitchen at Marzano’s Pizza in Manzanita. 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. Her income is below 50% of the median income of $34,300 for a single person in Tillamook County. 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 was a founding Board Member of NeahCasa.


Please contact us:

    • To become active in NeahCasa’s efforts
    • If you have a good story for this page.......

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 and/or active in the organization?  

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.

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.