Interview: Kim McLaughlin and Gary Manos of the Laughing Crab Gallery
The Yachats Gazette was pleased to visit with the owners of this new gallery located at 2334 Hwy 101 N (at the bottom of Forest Hill Rd.) and their cat Squid. Gary Manos is also a steel artist who sells his works in-house.
TYG: I was just noticing earlier... I've been through three, four iterations of this gallery in various forms—this space. It's amazing how much it changes each time. [...] Last time, all of the back was open. It was all shop space—it was just the upstairs that was closed off.
Kim: We are going to be expanding into the back space in the spring, and we'll have a grand opening then. We're also going to do an outdoor garden courtyard on the side, and that's going to be fenced in with little tables, and we'll be serving coffees and teas and having wine tastings. I think it should be fun! We're also going to be having the vino painting parties—I think that will be a hit here.
TYG-Graphic Design: How did you come up with the name [The Laughing Crab Gallery]?
Kim: I don't know, it just came to me one day. I just thought it was kind of funny...
Gary: It's an oxymoron! You know, the crab is always associated with being... crabby! She hit me with that, she goes, "What do you think of Laughing Crab?" "I love it!"
TYG: I feel like a lot of stuff happens like that on the coast.
Kim: I have this Etsy account called "The Driftwood Mermaid" and I thought something kind of whimsical and fun, you know. Something that would make people feel, "That's a comfortable place to go to see art." You don't feel intimidated by the name.
TYG: Yeah, not something like [intones] "The Yachats Metropolitan Art Gallery."
Kim: [laughter] Our mission is to have an eclectic, fun, comfortable space for people to come in, so that kids, families, people who just want a small gift, to people who are actually collectors, so that everybody would feel comfortable coming in here. We just didn't want people to come into a gallery and have to tiptoe around.
TYG: This is beautiful. I really like the open space.
Gary: We will be putting up some display walls [...], but thank you. I think openness helps, that's for sure.
Kim: And, we wanted to be affordable. We want people to be able to take something home with them that is special and unique, whether it's something that reminds them of the coast, or something that reminds them of where they've traveled—whatever resonates with them, but they're able to afford it and take it home. Hitting every price point is kind of important to us. And we think that art isn't just something that you put on the wall. It's something you wear, or jewelry, or a trinket that you can have in your pocket. So that's what the eclectic part means.
TYG: I was just noticing that [driftwood] mirror behind you—I like that.
Kim: [laughing] Thank you! I made that!
TYG: Wow! Nice!
Kim: Thank you! [...] So Gary does actual metal work, and some photography, and driftwood art, and some painting, and that [pointing] is a rubbing from a fossil—we're trying to have different mediums.
TYG-GD: That one [the fossil rubbing] I really like.
Gary: Thank you. I would have to get on the internet and look it up, as to how old they really are, but it's between Newport and Otter Rock, after Beverly Beach. There's this area where there are thousands of them. It's a bit of a walk, but there are thousands of these rocks with the fossil shells. So I took some pictures and did a charcoal rub [of that one].
Kim: Our goal is to be someplace where you can sit down and really appreciate what you're going to buy, and feeling really strong about what [you] purchase. [You're] going to take it home and go "Yes. I made the right decision." That's important to us. [...] Not just an at-whim purchase, immediate gratification—and then you're like, "What did I do!" [laughter] [...] A lot of the things in here are one-of-a-kind, and you're not ever going to be able to find them anywhere else. And Gary's metal work... he does custom design work as well.
TYG: Is that what some of this is? It's beautiful—I love your style!
Gary: Thank you.
Kim: What's interesting about Gary's metal work is that he uses a hand-held plasma cutter, whereas a majority of the metal artists out there are using large CNC [computer numerical control] machines that [use] a computer pattern, and the machine cuts it out. Whereas he is able to draw on the metal, and cut it out with a hand-held cutter—that's what's really unique.
TYG-GD: Are they really heavy?
Gary: They're not. For me, it's a nice weight.
TYG-GD: Oh, I meant the plasma cutter, not the art...
Gary: Oh, the plasma cutter is very heavy, yes.
TYG-GD: I was just wondering how it is to make it wiggle and wobble like that, to go around the edges!
Gary: Oh! The hand-held part is nice and light.
TYG-GD: Is it kind of like an air brush system?
Gary: Almost, because it does use compressed air. It uses positive and negative, electricity. The electricity super-heats the point that it's coming out of, and the compressed air flows through that super-heated area.
TYG-GD: Where does the [cut material] go? Does it just spatter underneath?
Gary: Yes, like super-fine metal dust all over the place.
TYG: So make sure you have a very good mask and glasses.
Kim: And a respirator—a very big mask. And a helmet.
TYG-GD: Oh man. It would be very hard to do art with a big mask on.
Gary: It takes some getting used to, to be honest, it really did. It's strange. And there are times when you get that feeling, "I want this thing off!"
Kim: Especially when we lived in Eugene—it gets pretty hot there. So it'll be nice here on the summer days, because it won't be as hot. And there's not really air conditioning in the shop.
TYG-GD: So how do you get the colors on the metal?
Gary: That's with a torch, with heat.
TYG-GD: Hmm! So is it a question of time or temperature that makes the color?
Kim: He always says that I'm welcome to learn, but when I watch him... it's a little tricky! He knows right when to pull the flame back, or put it closer, and that's how he creates different colors.
TYG-GD: [...] So how did you learn to do all this?
Gary: Honestly, I saw it in a restaurant in Sisters. I was with my kids—they were young. I think the restaurant's name, literally, was The Gallery. And the dividers up above your head were like trout in a stream, and whatnot. And I just thought, "I think I can do that." The metal really appealed to me. I had a little boat and a Yamaha Banshee quad, and I sold them both, bought all the tools and equipment, and... You know, the first stuff... my Mom was my biggest fan. [laughter] You laugh, but it wasn't even high school art...
Kim: But you took a lot of art classes when you were younger.
Gary: When I was younger, I had virtually every art class you can think of. And shop, so I had some welding experience.
Kim: And he works on cars—he's a car guy. He's a Mr. Fix-It kind of guy. And how long have you been doing it?
Gary: Probably about fifteen years, now.
TYG-GD: And what kind of career did you have before?
Gary: I was with AT&T Wireless. I started out installing when it was cool to have a phone in your car. So first installation, then phone technician, then inside sales, then outside sales support, outside sales, then my final position was called indirect. So if Fred Meyer's was selling cellphones, I would go into Fred Meyer's, train those people—that kind of thing. That was my final position, which was great, because from Salem all the way to Medford, over here to the coast, that was my territory. My boss and whatnot was in Portland, and he never came down, so long as your numbers were where they needed to be, you were left alone. So I think it was a nice segue into self-employment, because I was pretty self-sufficient. And the outside sales. Because I hated it—I truly hated it—but I did a year of it, and if I learned anything, it was [how to handle rejection.] If I were to go down this street, and, you know, "Hey, anybody need cellphones?" "Nah, get out of here." But somewhere down the road, somebody wanted five. Four or five more noes. Then somebody wanted 10. And it was the same thing when I'd approach galleries. "No, this is not our style at all." So the rejection didn't hurt. Or at least as much. But, same thing—I knew sooner or later some gallery was going to take a few pieces.
Kim: And you were advancing in your own, personal style at that point.
TYG-GD: So you had some paid time to transition over to art full time.
Gary: When I left, Cingular had bought out AT&T (now of course it's AT&T again. Don't even get me going on that). But anyway, they said, "We can find a place for you, or we can make you go away." So I got the six-month severance package for going away. So I had a nice, six month launching ramp to get it going.
TYG: [...] So, when did you first get the idea to have this gallery?
Gary: I would say that we'd come over often. We were in Eugene, so we'd go Florence, and then we've got a small sailboat at the embarcadero in Newport. And I mean very small: a little 21-footer where you're basically camping on the water. But that's just the route we would take, because it's nice, coastal, scenic. And one day we just drove by, and I saw the "For Lease" sign, and I said, "Did you see that?" And we turned around, came back, and started playing with the idea. We must have come back five more times—and each time we'd come in, get a feel... I would stand there, arms folded, just watch the traffic zooming by, and think, "Okay, on one hand lots of traffic, on the other hand, 55 mph..." That was certainly a concern. Anyway, we just kept mulling it over, mulling it over...
Kim: I think it's always something we kept tucked in the back of our minds... "Wouldn't it be great if we lived on the coast?" And then we saw this... But we had to really vision it—and I think it's going to be great!
TYG-GD: Did you have a job that you gave up to come here?
Kim: I owned a childcare center in Eugene that I sold. I had a small in-home day care for 16 years, and then I expanded into a larger childcare center over the last five years, so for 21 years I've run a childcare center in Eugene. And I was just kind of tired of working that hard. I mean, not that we're not going to be working that hard here, but it feels a little bit different.
Gary: 56 kids, 20 employees...
TYG: Good employee to kid ratio, though!
Kim: They didn't all work full-time. And then of course we had a cook, a van driver, a book-keeper. And then life circumstances that make you go, "Hey, I need a lifestyle change!" So health, and family, and just knowing that we wanted to be closer to the ocean that we were always coming to anyway... [laughs] [...] We've got a lot of work to do, and I think it's going to be a great evolution to see us grow. We hope that by the Spring we have the rest of this space kind of figured out.
Gary: I think it's safe to say that we'll definitely expand into a second show room.
TYG-GD: [...] Where are you guys from originally?
Kim: He grew up in this area.
Gary: I was actually born in California and lived there until I was five or six, three months of summer in Lincoln City, then one year in Washington, then Salem, Oregon, from then on out. Then Newport—my kids were old enough, they were out—and my mom had passed away, so I thought, "What have I always wanted to do?" So I bought a boat. 30-foot sailboat: bought it in Portland, then brought it down to Newport. It was a $2,500 sailboat, but it was a step above camping on the water. [laughs] So three years in Newport, then five and a half, six years in Eugene with [Kim].
TYG-GD: So where are you from, Kim?
Kim: Well, I grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware. I spent my younger years in Maryland.
TYG-GD: So crabbing is kind of endemic to your upbringing!
Kim: [laughs] Yes, and I have "laugh" in my name! [...] I moved to Eugene when I was 21.
TYG-GD: Why did you move to Eugene?
Kim: Oh, I had some friends that lived there and really loved it—young, hippie friends. [laughs] The East Coast is a good place to live, but Oregon people are just so incredibly friendly. I just felt like I'd found my people, you know. It clicked—Eugene worked for who I was. I ended up going back to school at the University of Oregon and finishing my degree there. Interestingly enough, I first went to college in Delaware at Wellesley College, and my first degree was a retail marketing degree. That was my associate's degree. Then I took some time out to find myself, and then moved to Eugene and discovered the role of childcare, and went back to school and got my sociology degree and education degree. So now I'm full circle here, and I get to do the retail part. I had a lot of experience, but it's been many years; but it feels natural.
TYG: Is there anything else you wanted to add to the interview?
Gary: Our winter hours for right now are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; noon to five Friday, ten to five Saturday and Sunday.
TYG: Thank you so much!
Kim: Thank you!
Gary: Thank you!
Interview with Layne Morrill of
Our Coastal Village
Our Coastal Village
The Yachats Gazette interviewed Mr. Morrill by e-mail about the new buildings on Diversity Drive.
TYG: What is Our Coastal Village Inc.?
Layne: Our Coastal Village, Inc., is an Oregon public benefit corporation that qualifies as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code and as a public charity under section 170 of the code. It was formed in 2009 to provide relief to the poor, distressed, and disadvantaged in the Yachats area, primarily through affordable housing. Our first project was the 7-unit Townhome project known as Aqua Vista Square which was completed in 2013, for households earning 80% or less of area median income. Three of the units have been sold to our former tenants on a basis that makes them permanently affordable; four units are still being leased to eligible tenants.
TYG: How are the new housing developments coming along?
Layne: Our new development is Fisterra Gardens Townhomes, [which] consists of 21 affordable-rental units for Yachats working families. This project will provide safe, decent, affordable housing to 21 local working families near their jobs. Completion is expected May 2019. All 21 units are set aside for households earning at or under 60% of area median income. Those limits are currently $22,980 for a one-person household, $26,280 for a two-person household, $29,580 for a three-person household, and $32,820 for a four-person household. The Project has preferences for families with children residing in zip code 97498 and for households where at least one person is employed in zip code 97498.
Fisterra Gardens Townhomes includes 6 studio units, 3 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units, and 2 three-bedroom units. Amenities include range, oven, refrigerator, microwave, and washer/dryer in each unit. Five units have garages; 26 surface spaces provide the balance of the parking. Outdoor common areas include a covered pavilion with barbecues and picnic tables and nearby lawn area, raised beds for gardening, a storage shed/greenhouse to facilitate gardening and landscaping, and location adjacent to the trail head of the beautiful Ya’Xaik trail, part of the City of Yachats public trail system.
Construction is progressing on schedule.
TYG: What inspired you to found this project?
Layne: This project is really at the heart of the mission of Our Coastal Village, Inc, to provide affordable housing for lower income households. Yachats simply has no housing that is safe, decent, and affordable for folks earning at or below 60% of area median income. This project has a "preference" for local workers (employed in zip code 97498) especially families with children.
TYG: How are the potential inhabitants reacting?
Layne: We have received 36 Expression of Interest forms from local people based solely on word of mouth. Advertising is now beginning and I'm sure more people will respond to the advertising. Unfortunately, the demand far outstrips the 21 units that are being constructed.
TYG: When will the project be ready for inhabitation?
Layne: All 21 units should be completed by April 1, 2019. Several units will be completed and occupied earlier than that. Rents will be approximately $492 for a studio, $532 for a one-bedroom, $640 for a two-bedroom, and $737 for a three-bedroom. Water, sewer, and trash removal are included in the rents. Tenants pay their own electric.
TYG: What sort of architectural styles and theme will the project be going for?
Layne: Because we are building housing that will be affordable, our construction has to be as inexpensive as possible, consistent with quality construction. So we are not striving to achieve any fancy architectural style or theme. The town homes will look like other two story cottages in the area and will be finished in earth tone colors. But they will be new, clean, safe, and affordable to the local workers and their families.
TYG: Who is managing the project at the different levels?
Layne: The Project is owned by Fisterra Gardens Townhomes Limited Partnership. Our Coastal Village, Inc., is the general partner of that limited partnership and will provide general management services. The rentals of the units as well as maintenance and repairs will be handled by our independent third party manager, Cascade Management, Inc. There is a rental office at the Project and it will be staffed about half-time by an employee of Cascade Management, Inc.
TYG: Where are the materials for the project coming from?
Layne: The concrete and rock required for the project are sourced locally. Most of the lumber comes from Eugene, much of it from the sawmills located there. Local subcontractors are doing the excavation, plumbing, and electrical. Most of the other subcontractors are from the Valley, as is our General Contractor, Meili Construction, of Eugene.
TYG: What sort of grants is the government providing to help with the project?
Layne: Our Coastal Village, Inc. has invested over $2,000,000 in the Project, funded mostly by grants from: Lincoln County Economic Development ($10,000); Oregon-based Meyer Memorial Trust ($250,000) and The Collins Foundation ($150,000); and Arizona-based The DLW Foundation ($825,000) and The Norton Foundation ($250,000). Investors with ties to the local community purchased OCV’s 30-year, 2.5% Series FGT Project Notes in the aggregate amount of $422,500 to help fund the Project’s construction. Alliant Capital Ltd has committed to invest $2,097,000 in low-income housing tax credit equity.
Oregon Housing and Community Services provided a $797,979 30-year zero interest LIFT loan for the Project. The Legislative Assembly created the LIFT program specifically to fund new housing units in rural communities like Yachats. OHCS also issued short-term tax exempt conduit bonds for construction ($2,175,000) and long-term tax exempt conduit bonds for permanent financing ($850,000). Washington Federal, National Association, will purchase and hold the bonds and administer the construction loan.
The City of Yachats has agreed to allow installment payment of $46,459 in system development fees over 30 years at 3% interest out of a total SDC charge of $98,000.
TYG: What sorts of plans do you have for the future?
Layne: We have no specific plans for the future. Those will be formulated after construction of the current Project is completed. But we would definitely like to help encourage the development of more housing in Yachats for the families who work in our local motels, restaurants, and shops. There are some measures we would like to see the City Council adopt that would be a benefit to affordable housing. These include a construction excise tax which would help fund some of the cost of affordable housing; and revising our system development charges so they are lower for small homes and higher for large homes, rather than the same for every single family lot developed regardless of the size of the home.
The Yachats Gazette
wishes all its readers and advertisers a wonderful 2019!
wishes all its readers and advertisers a wonderful 2019!
Thank you all for your patronage.