The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

By Jim Kight, NW Connection

Two founders of Tiny Innovations, Jeremy Killion and Ryan Donato cousins that are putting Americans back to work.

Ryan and I were both shopping at an auto parts store and struck up a conversation that has led to this story. Ryan Donato, in partnership with his cousin Jeremy Killian—both 34 years old, own a manufacturing facility. It has been in production for one year and seen amazing growth with expected sales of $1 million. Their stated goal is $20 million in five years; and based on this dynamic duo they are probably understating this expectation. What is their product? Tiny houses. Thus the name of their business: Tiny Innovations.

How did you get started in your business?

For eight years we built custom homes in Lake Oswego and Portland area. We both have a real passion for building. The city grew and there was a huge demand for housing but very low inventory. It is also difficult to find buildable lots and in some cases existing houses are removed in order to build newer and more updated homes. For three years we had record sales. We spent much of our time waiting between projects and we thought there has got to be a better way to provide housing. Continue reading

Surf’s up: A classic “woody”

The 13th annual Gorge Days celebration is taking place in North Bonneville, Washington, Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, 2017. Just 45 minutes east of Vancouver off of Highway 14, North Bonneville provides a magnificent setting in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. All events take place at or around North Bonneville City Park; and the celebration is sponsored by the City of North Bonneville and organized by the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce.

The weekend kicks off on Friday morning with citywide garage sales that continue all day Saturday. Last year there were over 50 sales to visit. Continue reading

Bill Wehr

Bill Wehr, The NW Connection

Wow! It’s really hot out there. I know about the weather. I’m talking about the real estate market. The prices of homes in Damascus are high and inventory low.

Suppose you have a commercial building on 1 ¼ acre that has a tax assessed market value of $356,080 by the County. Someone comes to you with an appraisal in hand, that was ordered by that person, and it shows a market value of $235,000. Similar properties in your area could go for $500,000 or more. The party offers you $235,000 and you readily accept. Smart move on your part? Most definitely not. However, Clackamas County Commissioners accepted a deal similar to this, and it is to be closed in escrow this month.

The Intergovernmental Agreement ( IGA ) Regarding Real Property between Clackamas County and Fire District #1 is troubling in that is appears to be a failure in the County’s fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Damascus. Continue reading

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

Kim Strassel at the Bradley Award ceremony in 2014 (Photo from Mike Strassel via the Oregonian)

Growing up in the rural Washington County town of Buxton, Oregon, Kimberley Strassel excelled at shooting, fishing, and demolition derbies, not exactly the skills that would lead her to fame as a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board. But she was also the Valedictorian of her graduating class at Banks High School in 1990. That led her to Princeton University, where she studied public policy and international affairs. She intended to go on to law school, but was persuaded to accept a position as a reporter at the Journal. She so loved the job that she has now been there for more than two decades.

In 2014 Kim received the Bradley Prize for Excellence in journalism, and her parents traveled from Oregon to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC to view the awards ceremony. Her mother Annie commented “As sweet of a girl as Kim is, as fair minded and kind, she has a little bit of mama in her,” referring to her daughter’s demolition driving. “She was very aggressive and still is today when she gets her teeth into something.”
Fast forward to May 25 this year, and we find Strassel writing in the Journal: Continue reading

Tessie Adams: In recognition for remarkable service

Committed, talented, hard worker, dedicated teacher, and energetic are all phrases that could be used to describe Tessie Adams. It also explains why she was selected by members of the association to be the representative of Multnomah County Fire District #14 for Oregon’s Firefighter of the Year.

Since Tessie joined the department in Sept. 2003, she has been a committed volunteer. She has earned her NFPA Firefighter 1, NFPA Driver, NFPA Pump Operator, First Responder Operation, Wildland Interface Firefighter, and NFPA Fire Instructor 1.

Additionally, she is active in several of the community functions that the Fire Department sponsors. Continue reading

Lydia White, Research Associate, Cascade Policy Institute

A team of researchers from the University of Washington produced a study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, that measures the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage requirement of $13 per hour.

The study* found that the city’s mandates resulted in 3% higher hourly wages, but 9% fewer hours worked. As a result, the average low-wage employee lost around $125 per month. For low-income households especially, an annual loss of $1,500 is significant.

Jacob Vigdor, one of the study’s authors and a professor at UW, said, “Traditionally, a high proportion of workers in the low-wage market are not experienced at all: teens with their first jobs, immigrants with their first jobs here.” Continue reading

Lori Porter

Lori Porter, Parent Rights In Education

Do you remember the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in the 1980’s? It was created by the Los Angeles Police Department and presented to students in elementary public schools. There was a big push for students to “just say no” to drugs. Students were given t-shirts with the DARE logo on it, and bumper stickers adorned cars across the country.
The problem was that the program taught students all about the buffet of illicit and dangerous drugs. Instead of turning them away from drugs, children became curious. What a surprise…drug use went up as these children became teens.
Fast forward to comprehensive sexuality grooming education. In 2015 the state of Oregon received a perfect score on “The Population Institute’s 2015 report card on reproductive health and rights for its comprehensive sexuality grooming education program.” We are teaching children in the public schools every conceivable way to have sex, sex with the same sex or opposite sex partners, if it feels right…”just do it!” Continue reading

By Paul Driessen

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy would inflict major land, wildlife, resource damage

Demands that the world replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and biofuel energy – to prevent supposed catastrophes caused by manmade global warming and climate change – ignore three fundamental flaws.

1) In the Real World outside the realm of computer models, the unprecedented warming and disasters are simply not happening: not with temperatures, rising seas, extreme weather or other alleged problems. Continue reading

Festival-goers throng the stage at last year’s Blues and Brews

Stevenson’s signature event returns for its 24th year. Mark your calendars now for Friday and Saturday, June 23-24 when Gorge Blues & Brews Festival hits the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson, Washington. We will celebrate 24 years of musical genius, award-winning craft brews and fabulous food in the spectacular setting of the Columbia River Gorge.

Start your weekend off right on Friday night when we feature all things local from 6:00 to 10:00p. Walking Man Brewery, Backwoods Brewing and Thunder Island Brewing will be pouring their tasty brews; and there will be a nice selection of local wine. Tasty barbecue will be available, hot off the grill, from the Stevenson Eagles Lodge and Stevenson High School Senior Parents. Continue reading

Jerry Ford, shot put: Photo credit, Janelle Dickerson

Steve Peirce, Photo credit, Janelle Dickerson

The Portland Masters Track Club (PMTC) will be hosting its 47th annual Classic Track & Field Meet at Mt. Hood Community College on June 24-25, 2017. This is a USATF sanctioned meet, open to any athlete 19 years of age and older. Come and see some spectacular performances by local athletes; better yet, sign up and try something yourself (please consult with your physician before participating). Visit the PMTC website for more details…look for the Classic Meet Registration tab at Admission to watch is free but the club requests a donation of one or two cans of food for a local foodbank. If you would like to volunteer (and receive a meet t-shirt), please e-mail Linda at

Don Kane, 400 meter dash, Photo credit, Janelle Dickerson

The PMTC members have a wide range of athletic abilities – from those who started later in life as a new challenge, to those who have competed for many years. Bob Hewitt, from the Gresham area, did compete when he was in high school, but did not return to competing until he was 67. Bob is now one of the top athletes in several events not only in the US, but in the world. Gary Stenlund competed in the Olympics in the 60’s. He now has (or held) several age-group World Records in the Javelin. At the age of 80, Marlene Knechtel started competing in track and field to try something new. She has tried a variety of events, but seems to have found a niche with race-walking. Members range in age from the 30’s all the way up into the 90’s. For more information on the club, please their website at

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