Life on the North Coast

February 26, 2019

In this blog post, NCLC supporter Pat Lehman shares her perspective on coastal living and North Coast Land Conservancy’s impact on her quality of life. Pat is an enthusiastic member of NCLC’s Outreach Committee as well as a generous donor and a member of the Coast Legacy Circle.

I grew up in Toronto, Canada, where the Royal Ontario Museum was my favorite place to visit even as a small child. I was fascinated by the tall totem pole (undoubtedly stolen from a Northwest tribe) incongruously set in the middle of the winding marble staircase. I loved the dioramas of tribal people, especially the depictions of Tlingkit and Bella Coola folks smoking salmon and weaving cedar mats. I wondered what it would be like to be one of them.

My life has taken me to cities like New York, where my grandparents lived; London, where my parents resided; and Paris, where I lived for three years. But quite unexpectedly and by a circuitous route, I have arrived in little Seaside, Oregon, where I hope to spend the rest of my days. Here I feel as if my spirit has come home.

Randall Henderson


When I awake, I see the morning fog silently draping the firs above my house and hear the eerie echoing raven’s croak. I see the herons, looking as I envision pterodactyls would, glide with grunting complaints from the forest above to their anticipated breakfast in the marsh below, where the geese are already busy arranging their day. “This,” I think,” is the Pacific Northwest I always imagined, and it exists far beyond my imagining.”

Neal Maine, PacificLight Images


I look to the south and see “George Washington in repose” on the ridgeline above Arch Cape and the peaks of Onion and Angora. But for my involvement with North Coast Land Conservancy, I would not know that those peaks predate the Coast Range and that they mark the channel of the old Columbia River—and that they are home to species found nowhere else on earth.

Neal Maine, PacificLight Images


To the north, I watch the lights of ships leaving the Columbia River for journeys of thousands of miles and reflect how our north coast may be considered remote but is in fact globally connected.  In winter, the crab boat lights remind me that I am so fortunate to be safe and warm and able to easily enjoy the delicious results of those intrepid fisher-people’s cold and dangerous toil. The Coast Guard helicopters that run up and down above the shore reassure me.

Randall Henderson


When I came to Seaside, I knew I loved being near the ocean and a part of my friendly and eclectic neighborhood. I knew that Seaside Library was a warm and welcoming place. I knew that our community college offers first-class educational opportunities from competent and caring staff to our rural area residents. I knew that this small town has a delightful array of unique restaurants and other businesses run by people who are always willing to talk about their own interesting lives and the circumstances that brought them here. I am grateful to have the chance to enjoy exercise classes at Sunset Pool. We have great pubic services; I have everything I need.

Bonnie Henderson


But what I’ve learned most forcefully here is that our coastal environment is so unique, so special and so beautiful that I want to keep learning its mysteries and to enjoy every moment of my time here. The waves break and break and break on Tillamook Head as I watch with my morning coffee. That endless, timeless rhythm and the land and life that abound here feed my soul in a way that the Royal Ontario Museum, Central Park, Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower, as grand as they are, could never do.

Neal Maine, PacificLight Images






  1. Jeanne Braun says:

    “Here I feel as if my spirit has come home.” Beautiful, Pat. And we are so lucky to have you here, as our neighbor, volunteer, and friend.

  2. Pat Wollner says:

    It really speaks to the specialness of this place when you chose it over so many others. I’m so glad you and Ken are here.

  3. VIANNE says:

    I am so glad you found us and give so much of your time and spirit to the community and NCLC.