THE KOHO PROJECT
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Drew Myron and David Rieseck, co-owners and creators of the KohoProject. (Koho is under construction, just south of the Yachats River bridge.)
TYG: Where did you get the idea for this project?
Drew: Let’s see, how do we start... For several years we ran this as a hotel, the Shamrock Lodgettes, which you may know was around here since the 1950s. I think we were maybe the 4th or 5th owner; there was a series of owners over the years. My husband David is an architect and a planner, that’s his background, so it just seemed a natural evolution to make this.
TYG: How many people are you employing on this project?
Drew: We’re using all local people; we have a local contractor, Todd Norwood, who’s done tons of homes on the coast, so he knows all about how to build for our conditions. Our weather conditions are really severe and unique; we build differently, we use different materials here than you do inland, so he has a lot of experience with that. And he’s subcontracted, everyone locally as well. So that means all our tiles, another guy who’s doing plaster, a guy who’s doing siding. He’d have a better sense of how many people he has.
TYG: Who is with you in this project?
Drew: Just my husband, David Rieseck, and me, and then we have an investor who lives in California. And then Todd of course, and all the subcontractors. Yeah, it’s a lot to do with a few people! [...] I wanted to add that these homes are being built energy efficiently, so we’re using all the Energy Star appliances, and we’re using energy-efficient windows, electrical systems. So it definitely has a green component and a sustainability component. We’re trying to tie in the nature theme, and also the Native American theme. You know, the name Koho is kind of unusual: it’s not the fish, it’s not “coho;” it’s Koho.
TYG: “Koho” is an Indian name, I’m guessing?
Drew: It’s a Native American game that was played on this very property! Which I think is a really cool tie-in. We talked to Robert Kentta, with the Siletz Confederated Tribes, he’s the cultural director, a very cool guy. And he knows all about the history here. He said: “Well, you know, you may have to play that stick ball game on your property. It’s called Koho.” It’s a name unique to this area. Waldport didn’t use that name, it was just this area. [...] So we’re also going to use a lot of historical photos, and tie-backs to the area so that we can maintain some of that.
TYG: That’s amazing!
Drew: Yeah, I think it’s a pretty cool thing! And then we’re going to do a viewing platform that looks over that piece of beach you mentioned earlier, and have some of the history on there too.
Drew: So, years ago it was platted as being privately owned. And that’s unusual in Oregon, because most everything is public. That is one piece that somehow got around that. And over the years it was just part of the ownership of the Shamrock Lodgettes. And so, we didn’t think that was right, because everything else in Oregon is a public beach, and so that now it’s basically being given back to the public.
TYG: When is the project going to be finished?
Drew: Ooh, that’s a really good question! It’s happening in stages. The first homes will be done probably in late summer. The economy has changed a lot since we first started this project several years ago; people aren’t buying homes as quickly as they did at one time, or as readily, so we’re going to see how it goes as far as what the pace is, based on sales.
TYG: How much are the homes going to cost?
Drew: We’re still figuring out what the price points are going to be. We have a range at this point, but we haven’t pinned it down: anywhere from $399,000 to $750,000. So that’s a really broad range, and we aren’t sure the specific prices yet. The ones closer to the ocean will probably be more desirable because people want to be closer. It’s hard to know what’s important to people. Some people want to be close to the ocean, and they’re willing to pay more for that; some people want more space in their house and they’re willing to pay more for that. So it’s kind of a juggling, to try and figure which is most important to people, and where we should put the value.
TYG: How many units total?
Drew: Thirty total.
TYG: Oh wow! So it’s going to take a couple of years to do all thirty!
Drew: We’re not sure! We’re hoping it goes at a faster pace, but it takes a while to build. That’s a pretty good calculation. And when you think about density, if you think about the Overleaf Village for example, those are really closely together, they’re really densely populated, but with vegetation and streeting, just the presence makes it more palatable.
We’re actually exceeding the open space requirements. The city has open space requirements for all their development projects, and we’re actually exceeding those. So we’ll still have pockets of open space, and corridors of green, so it won’t be a sea of buildings, there will still be pockets to keep it more comfortable.
TYG: How’s the reception been in town?
Drew: I think people want to see what it looks like. Naturally, you know, we’ve had some bad experiences in town with previous developers. So naturally everyone is a little jaded and skeptical, so we’re also dealing with that. I think we’re actually dealing more with history than the actual project, and I understand that. So I think seeing it built, seeing the clubhouse built, seeing what it’s going to look like architecturally, I think, helps people understand what we have in mind and what we’re doing.
TYG: I think you’re going to make it!Drew: I want that in print! [laughter all around] I like that! Thank you.
OUTTA GAS PIZZA EXPANSION
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Michael Allen, proprietor of Outta Gas Pizza, regarding the expansion in progress.
TYG: What are you going to do with the garage space of Boston’s Towing?
Michael: Well, one of the bays is going to be kind of a game room, with a pool table and a shuffleboard table, and a fair amount of seating, and in the far bay, the north bay, there’s going to be dart board areas, a dance floor, a stage, and some more seating, and it’s going to be a fun space. We will have a dining room also.
TYG: So I’m guessing that the areas will be no minors?
Michael: This area [the far bay] will be no minors all the time, and [the near bay] area will be no unaccompanied minors. The rest of the restaurant will be open to all the public.
TYG: Are you going to keep selling pizza?
Michael: That’s going to be it to start with, and that’s always going to be our mainstay.
Michael: That’s going to be it to start with, and that’s always going to be our mainstay.
TYG: So I can see you’ve already taken out the garage doors... And you’re going to have to take that “Boston’s Towing” sign down!
Michael: If we don’t take down the supports completely, we’ll use them for some sort of sculpture… but that’s down the line.
TYG: When do you expect to open?
Michael: Probably mid-June. We need to catch the summer tourists.
TYG: How did you decide to get into this line of work?
Michael: Pizza? Well, I worked in restaurants before, and did construction for a long time, and just decided to switch back. But we’ll also be doing construction--we’re going to open up another outfit called Outta Gas Construction.
Michael: It’s going to be a place where people can get together and rub elbows, swap stories, and... commiserate.
Outta Gas Pizza (541-547-4424) is located on Hwy 101 across from Sea Aire.
YACHATS MERCANTILE EXPANSION
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Linda Hetzler regarding the expansion of the Yachats Mercantile.
TYG: How long has this store been here?
Linda: Well, it was a hardware store dating back into the 50s, as I recall. When Ned bought it 1988 there weren’t very many things in here; it was pretty minimal. He really vamped it up, because he was in the hardware business. And now it’s going to be more of a mercantile, versus just hardware.
TYG: “Mercantile”--? What does that mean exactly?
Linda: It’s kind of like a general store.
TYG: Why are you expanding?
Linda: Because I get bored easy. [laughing] And I want to make it fun for everybody.
TYG: I must say, that construction plate [a child’s plate and utensils designed like a construction site] with the little pusher and fork and spoon is very fun indeed.
Linda: Would you recommend buying those, for kids your age or younger?
TYG: Actually, probably a bit younger... kids who are, say, three to seven are going to go crazy over those.
Linda: I think you nailed it. We’ve already sold several of them, so we expect high volume trade on those items.
TYG: Why I see you have a little blown glass bubble [indicating another item in the window]...
Linda: This is actually an historical item from the original owner... we have been talking with a glass blower about possibly making some more of those for us.
TYG: When will the expansion be finished?
Linda: Never! [laughing] So we are going to first of all just focus on this part inside-- rebuilding shelving things... and if it all goes well, we’re going to add on storage space into the back of the building, and possibly an apartment up above. But then you know me, I like to keep on changing things around.
The Yachats Mercantile (541-547-3060) is located next to the Drift Inn on Hwy 101.