Veronica Williams

Author, mushroom picker • South Bend, Washington

I love that you can live off the land here. I enjoy the woods. I own three acres and that's all I need. I have elk that go by. The bears used to come by, but they don't anymore. This place appeals to me because I couldn't live in the desert or anywhere hot, and I have to be close to the woods. You can pick flowers and mushrooms and berries. I could go out tomorrow and pick winter chanterelles.

'Veronica Williams learned to pick mushrooms and berries as a way of life from her mother in her native Hungary. She has been a citizen of the United States of America and a resident of South Bend, Washington since 1949. The hilly forests of Pacific County resemble the land she knew and loved as a child. Naturally, the familiar surroundings encouraged her to continue her avocation and tradition of reaping the harvest of wild food.'

— from Williams' 'Coastal Bounty: A Book of Recipes' by Veronica Williams

Pam and Gideon For-Mukwai

Clinical pharmacist and author/corporate trainer • Gearhart, Oregon

Pam: I love the small communities and the outdoors. There are so many places you go and relax after a hard day of work. There are a lot of options and a lot of variety. It adds to your happiness and well-being. Those are the important things, and we found that on the Oregon Coast.

Gideon: For me, I love the history. This place is so rich in history. There is always some event or activity that defines this place and makes me feel that I have not yet learned enough about this place. I have so much yet to learn. I discover things every day that fascinate me in very unique ways. I love the history and I love the people. When my friends come to visit from other parts of the world, they don't want to go back. I love this place.

Kegan Rascoe

Student, Astoria High School • Astoria, Oregon

I have lived in Astoria for all but one year of my life. While I’ve been here, I’ve begun to notice that there’s a lot to appreciate. Astoria is a tight-knit community that maintains an inspiring big-city feel. In Astoria, everyone is your neighbor, and everyone is accessible. If you ever want to be more engaged in your community, progress is only one phone call away. While I haven’t lived anywhere else, I’ve always imagined this to be unique to Astoria.

The biggest thing that I’ve learned to appreciate is that there are always new things to explore. I have found myself tied up in the hospitality industry, the radio industry, the health care industry, public service and the music community all at the age of 16. I’m always looking for more opportunities, and I'm open to everything. I don't think I would have this same set of experiences had I lived somewhere else.

Stan Gandy

Head custodian, Broadway Middle School • Seaside, Oregon

I'm a wharf rat. I grew up in Warrenton. My wife is from Astoria. We decided we didn't want to live in those areas because that's where we grew up. But we wanted to stay on the coast and stay near family. That's one of the reasons we decided to move to Seaside. As a kid, I couldn't wait to leave. But now, this is home. I couldn't live anywhere else. I love to go clam dig and go crabbing. I don't think you are ever going to find as many kind and caring people as there are here in the Pacific Northwest. That's what it really comes down to. Neighbors take care of each other here. The community here genuinely wants to help one another. It really is about the people.

Holly Filice

Floor manager, Shorelines NW and Flair • Cannon Beach, Oregon

This has always been a beautiful place. I left for a while but I came back three years ago. I love the energy level here. You can't get this anywhere else. It's very peaceful and people are very nice 'cause everyone knows everyone, which is really nice. There's a real sense of community here. I love the mountains and the ocean and the wildlife. You don't see that in other places. You might think there's something bigger and better somewhere else and you might want to get out of the fishbowl ... but I wanted to come back to the fishbowl, and there's a reason for that.

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