Lake­side life is swell in the US

An 18-month ca­reer op­por­tu­nity has turned into a 22-year ad­ven­ture for Barry Clay­ton and fam­ily.

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Where are you from?

I was born in West­port, grew up in Master­ton and played rugby for Wairarapa Bush un­der the great coach­ing of Sir Brian Lo­chore. My wife Jo, three sons and I moved to Syd­ney in 1993 and then to Port­land, Ore­gon, United States, in 1995 with a fourth son born in Aus­tralia (bug­ger).

My claim: I be­lieve I am the only Kiwi dad to have four boys all play for New Zea­land in in­ter­na­tional matches and all on the field to­gether (in the New Zea­land men’s lacrosse team at the world cup). My sons are Richard, Michael, An­drew and John.

What in­spired your move, and how long have you been there?

There was an op­por­tu­nity in the bak­ery in­gre­di­ents busi­ness and it was planned as an 18-month op­por­tu­nity. We have been in Lake Oswego, Ore­gon, for 22 years.

What do you do there?

I was a found­ing part­ner in an en­zyme tech­nol­ogy com­pany that was even­tu­ally sold to As­so­ci­ated Bri­tish Foods and be­came part of the AB Mauri di­vi­sion serv­ing the bak­ing in­dus­try.

I am cur­rently man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for bak­ery in­gre­di­ents re­spon­si­ble for three fa­cil­i­ties: one in Greenville, Texas; one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and the fa­cil­ity we founded in Wil­sonville, Ore­gon.

What are the great­est ad­van­tages to liv­ing there?

Ore­gon is very sim­i­lar to New Zea­land with trees, moun­tains and rivers. We are very for­tu­nate to live on a mag­nif­i­cent lake where we can boat down­town, en­joy the restau­rants and safely boat home.

The scenery is spec­tac­u­lar and does not have the pop­u­la­tion of Cal­i­for­nia! Ore­gon also has spec­tac­u­lar winer­ies and they do not at­tract the large crowds of Cal­i­for­nia.


The dis­ad­van­tages are the lack of rugby and cricket cov­er­age.

How ex­pen­sive is it com­pared to New Zea­land? How much is a beer?

Ore­gon has the ad­van­tage of no sales tax, although we do have a 10 per cent state in­come tax. Over­all the cost of liv­ing to raise four boys is sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than in New Zea­land on a day-to-day ba­sis but is off­set by crazy univer­sity costs and health­care costs later in life.

Beer is cheap – $3 for a six pack – and Ore­gon has nu­mer­ous mi­cro­brew­eries. Port­land is known to have one of the best di­verse food cul­tures in the United States.

What do you do in your spare time?

I en­joy rid­ing my BMW RT 1200 mo­tor­bike in the di­verse Ore­gon coun­try­side, vis­it­ing winer­ies, play­ing golf and boat­ing on our lake.

What’s the lo­cal del­i­cacy and would you rec­om­mend it?

Ore­gon is fa­mous for salmon and I would highly rec­om­mend it. It’s also known for Dun­geness crab. Ex­cel­lent.

Eas­i­est way to get around?

Port­land does have a max train sys­tem but over­all traf­fic is be­com­ing an is­sue. We have hun­dreds of hire bi­cy­cles sup­plied by the city.

What’s the shop­ping like?

Ex­cel­lent, but not my cup of tea. They need more benches and Ir­ish pubs in malls for the blokes!

Best af­ter-dark ac­tiv­ity?

I am happy with a nice pinot on the deck or eat­ing at many of the fine din­ing spots.

Best time of year to visit?

July through Oc­to­ber. This area has a spec­tac­u­lar sum­mer (and great hik­ing trails).

What are the top three things you rec­om­mend for vis­i­tors?

Mult­nomah Falls, a trip to Tim­ber­line Lodge (Mt Hood, where The Shin­ing was filmed) and the Ore­gon Coast.

Be­sides fam­ily and friends, what do you miss most about home?

The down-to-earth cul­ture and the ocean fish­ing in the Bay of Is­lands. Good fish and chips, mar­i­nated mus­sels and the Kiwi slang.

How easy is it for you to get back to New Zea­land?

With more air­lines fly­ing it has be­come more af­ford­able to re­turn to New Zea­land an­nu­ally. The dis­tance does not worry us as land­ing still feels like home.

For Ki­wis look­ing to move there, which in­dus­tries are seek­ing fresh tal­ent?

Mainly tech­nol­ogy: In­tel, Nike and Flir. Ore­gon is also highly re­garded in med­i­cal science.

On a fi­nal point, all four boys achieved col­lege de­grees and two re­cently mar­ried, one to a US lass and one to a Nor­we­gian.

My old­est son, Richard, has de­cided to make the move back to New Zea­land. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how he adapts.


Barry Clay­ton, left, and his wife, Jo, right, at the wed­ding of their son Mike and his wife Mered­ith.

Barry’s wife Jo snow­board­ing at Mt Hood.

Barry’s son John and dog Zeke un­der an Ea­gle Creek wa­ter­fall in the Columbia gorge, Ore­gon.

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