Matt McHugh knows the people in his neighborhood.
Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood? This familiar childhood song beats a rhythm in my mind whenever Matt’s name comes up in conversation. If you have ever met Matt McHugh you would be hard pressed to not find him greeting you with a big warm smile and hardy hello, one palm raised up to meet yours. His positive vibe is infectious and you’ll easily fall into comfortable conversation about life and the living.
We sit at Plymouth Pub, the new sports bar down on 1st Street and fall into easy conversation. It’s Matt’s first visit and he settles for a burger with the bacon. “How can you go wrong he quarries?” with a smile. While we wait for our fare I ask Matt about his earlier years and he begins with his parents and first memories. In 2nd grade Matt moved to Scappoose with his dad and mom. His dad was a principal at Grant Watts. The family took to the little town and he grew up in the area enjoying the life in a “Leave it to Beaver” culture. It had all the fun of running around the neighbor hood, playing in an unencumbered society, free of propeller parents and far from city life where folks didn’t always lock their doors at night. Those days continued throughout his school life: family, friends, school, fun. But, like a lot of other people, Matt was anxious to see the exciting outside world he saw on television, heard about and experienced on outings with his family. He had new ideas about what was next.
Not to be outdone by anyone else Matt left as soon as he possibly could to get away. In his young mind, the place was small and restrictive. He laughs about this now, “Isn’t that what everyone wants to do when they finish high school?” As the burger arrives he says he is glad he ordered it. “Now if it is as good as it looks right?” One bite later he nods his head in approval and continues his story. After leaving he went to university and ended up with a degree in Political Science and a wonderful mate in his wife Jamie. She was raised in Portland and seemed agreeable to the next big thing which was starting a family. When it came to child rearing they quickly realized they couldn’t be the helicopter parent type, keeping track of your kids every minute of the day and competing for much sought “quality play dates.” The city didn’t seem to fit into their vision of family as much as it did when you just wanted to get away from your parents. They found themselves yearning for a more laid back environment to grow their children and realized that another move was needed to make it a reality. It was a move back to where Matt had roots and it was doable financially.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find Matt teaching his boys to fish and play outside, hiking within the beauty of close by forest and fauna. Here the “great outdoors” starts pretty much right as soon as you leave the house he says. “We still go to nearby attractions like OMSI and Oaks Park, but we are grounded here. This is where we really do the living,” says Matt.
I asked what he wishes Columbia County had and he smiles, “I love Indian Food and the ability to take a taxi, Dim Sum on Sundays.” His favorite food remains pizza which will always rule as his favorite, hopefully with roasted garlic.” His idea of relaxing is fishing, Frisbee golf, and neighborhood poker games. Coincidentally these are all within a 5 minute drive.
Matt believes in community and you’ll soon see his lifelong commitment at the Chinook Sports Field. In two locations it will be touting his Cascadia Home Loans message. He is very involved with supporting youth and one campaign he is recently involved in is the “Sports Time not Screen Time” program. An avid community supporter you’ll see Cascadia Home Loans millennial inspired rainbow of outdoor pigments continue to be recognized on many more upcoming events and school programs.
In his business of providing financial services and support to he is planning to grow with the cities he serves. Another location is a definite possibility and he truly can supply our small towns with the resources of a big city.
Matt is way to young to retire; but he sees his life here for the upcoming years and watching both his family life grow up through his children and the community grow into everything everyone could want it to be. Lots of resources without the hassle of city life. “It’s hard to find a place that is perfect, but this area has the bones, you have to trust that everyone wants the best for their neighbor too; I see that here and it makes me want to do better every day so my kids can have the same choices I do later on.”