This month, we were lucky enough to interview Discovery West neighbors, Christine Herrick and John Coltman. Chris and John have been Bend residents for several years, first moving to a home built by Greg Welch in NorthWest Crossing (NWX) near Compass Park. Get to know them in our Q&A below!
What brought you to the area?
We believed we needed to shake up our lives a bit after our retirements. Prior to moving to Bend we were longtime Portland residents (over 30 years) and had been regularly coming to Central Oregon for vacations. We both love the natural beauty and wilderness here. John’s family owned a vacation home at Black Butte Ranch which we thought would be our retirement home until Chris quickly realized she was too lonely out there and, despite her love for wilderness hikes, was fundamentally an urban person who needed close neighbors to feel comfortably at home.
When Chris first toured NWX, she fell in love with it. Her view of what makes a good neighborhood was heavily influenced by happy memories of childhood years living in the Squirrel Hill urban neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, and good experiences during adult years living in a 1908-era home in NE Portland’s Irvington neighborhood.
We are interested in and strongly support the principles of “new urbanism” that underlie what the developer has built in NWX and Discovery West. We love front porches, alleys, grid street patterns and the aspiration, at least, of having essential commercial areas within walking distance. We have no worries whatsoever about being close to multi-family housing, including apartment housing, based on what we have seen the developer build so far.
Why did you choose Discovery West?
We would never have left our beautiful home in NWX but for the fact that, with increasing age, we were at the point of needing to be in a one-level home. We enjoyed having a new home when we moved into NWX so we decided to build again in Discovery West. We needed a “big enough” lot to be able to be on one level and we learned that Discovery West would have some larger lots available. Also, we were happy to see that the first phases of Discovery West would be built on a flat, sunny plateau that would be ideal for John’s gardening.
Tell us about building your house and the process. Did anything stand out for you?
What will most stand out for us as we think back on the building process was the uncertainty and risk we felt we were taking going ahead with building a new custom home and selling our old home as the Covid pandemic was descending on the world. It all came out okay in the end but we experienced many issues we wouldn’t have had in more normal times, especially supply chain, product quality and worker availability issues.
What do you like best about your new home?
It is wonderful for us living all on one level as we age. We deeply appreciate the newness of all home systems and appliances, as we are not “handy” people who can do their own home repairs. We also really like living on an active corner by mailboxes, as this location brings interaction with our new neighbors and the especially active lives of our younger neighbors with children. The sound of “hoops” and other kid activity nearby is music to our ears!
What do you/did you do for a living?
We are a second marriage for each of us and were each established in our careers when we met and married over 30 years ago. John went from Peace Corps service in Chile to employment with the legendary John Gray’s forest products company Omark (later Blount), located in Oregon City. He remained there for his entire professional career, retiring in 2006. Chris started her legal career as an administrative law judge for the Oregon Employment Relations Board in Salem back in the 1970s. She later entered private law practice, becoming a shareholder in the Portland business litigation firm, Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, PC. She has been retired since 2005.
What do you like best (so far) about living in Discovery West? Bend?
In a brand-new neighborhood like this there seems to be a special friendliness between neighbors and we appreciate that friendliness. After living so many years in rainy Portland we love the sunny days in Bend and especially like the sunny openness of the Discovery West plateau. Although we are slowing down as we age we still marvel at the healthy “people out and exercising” atmosphere we live in here.
Any hobbies, activities your family is interested in?
When we first moved to Bend, John got his certification as a master gardener and continues to enjoy the challenge of vegetable gardening in this harsh weather. We got a late start on gardening last summer, and also had soil and irrigation problems that we hope are behind us as we look toward a new gardening season. Chris is still an avid hiker although she can no longer hike as long or as quickly as she used to. She looks forward to helping John with gardening this coming spring and summer and perhaps becoming a “real” gardener herself.
Members of your family—including pets?
In August 2020 we adopted a tiny calico kitten, Mia, from the humane society. She was sick and weak when she was brought to the humane society from a cat hoarding situation but she has prospered in her “indoor cat” life with us and is now active and feisty. You may spot her occasionally looking out our windows. We have a “kitty tv” bird feeder and bird bath, largely for her entertainment.
Thanks for sharing with us, Chris and John!