Masterton to Oregon story
A Stuff Q&A series looks at expat lives. An 18-month career opportunity for a former Masterton boy turned into a 22-year adventure for Barry Clayton and family.
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, US 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 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 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. Plus we miss the down-to-earth Kiwi culture.
How expensive is it compared to New Zealand?
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 micro-breweries. 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.