Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Cindy Bethell and Roger Asbahr spent 10 years in the fast-paced life of Washington, D.C. before returning to Oregon and Bethell's family home near Sheridan.
August 07, 2012
SHERIDAN -- They say you can't take the country out of the girl -- or the boy, for that matter.
For Cindy Bethell and her husband, Roger Asbahr, the owners of Bethell Woods Bed & Breakfast, the saying rings true.
The couple spent 10 years, starting in 1995, in Washington, D.C., where Bethell worked in the United States Senate on the staffs of Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Asbahr was a computer consultant.
Both grew up in Oregon and ended up in Washington, D.C., with Bethell attending graduate school at Georgetown. They had one job between them to begin with, but they landed on their feet and thrived in the fast-paced town.
Bethell's specialties while working in the Senate were environmental policy and child-safe chemicals, but she worked on a variety of issues, such as energy, marine biology, climate and farming.
"It was a fabulous job," Bethell said. "It was a hard job and I got to work on issues that were important to me. It was a great honor."
Asbahr, too, loved his job and its constant drive to stay current with technology.
Those professions, however, came with ungodly long hours and, in Bethell's case, an amount of frustration.
"I was in politics," Bethell said. "It was sort of making me mean. You see how things really work -- that underbelly that they talk about."
"We went to the big city and you always wonder if you can make it there," Asbahr added. "We did. Then you realize, at some point, we've got to come back here."
They made their first strides toward that in 2005, landing in Portland.
The Forest Cottage at Bethell Woods Bed & Breakfast offers a private atmosphere with access to the grove of oak and fir trees, as well as the garden patio with its waterfall and rose garden.
Bethell worked with the Portland Development Commission, helping developers use "greener" methods on their projects.
They had plans to move to downtown Portland eventually.
Through a series of events, however, the couple ended up running a bed and breakfast out of Bethell's family home instead.
Bethell is the daughter of Jim Bethell, who owned and operated Bethell Logging Co. in Polk County for nearly five decades. Asbahr grew up in Corvallis.
While they were still in Washington, D.C., Bethell's father decided to move away from the family home, which was purchased in 1955. He gifted it to his daughter, Sandy Boylan, and her husband.
At the time, the couple ran a bed and breakfast in Monmouth. They sold that property and used the revenue to convert the family home, with its wooded 11 acres, into a new bed and breakfast.
Sandy operated it for just a couple of years before she died unexpectedly.
"From that point on, I knew it was time to come home," Bethell said. "I was working 9 a.m. to midnight a lot of days. It was wearing me down. I wanted to be back close to my dad and my sisters."
Bethell's father decided to have the family buy the property back after Sandy's death. He moved back out there, but only for a short time before his death in January 2011.
With the home empty, the family had to decide what to do with the property. Around that time, Bethell became a victim of downsizing, providing an opportunity.
Bethell and Asbahr reopened the family home as Bethell Woods in October 2011.
The change from life in Washington, D.C -- or even Portland -- was dramatic.
Asbahr said back East, people seemed overly concerned with what people did for a living and where they lived.
"There, it was always `What do you do?'" he recalled. "Now, when people ask me what I do, I say `I'm a groundskeeper.' And I couldn't love it more."
Bethell is still working on green things, but now in the literal sense, trading writing policy and office politics for a new love of gardening.
The couple have cleaned the property inside and out and planted native plants around the property, creating a countryside oasis. Strolling the property, the sound of cars whizzing past on Highway 22 fades with a glimpse of Bethell's lovingly kept rose garden and soothing flow of the nearby waterfall and pond.
Cindy Bethell's father, Jim, purchased the property in 1955 and operated Bethell Logging Co. for nearly five decades.
A one-bedroom Forest Cottage and smaller, but cozy Garden Room provide the perfect atmosphere for quiet relaxation. The waterfall outside the garden room and meandering trails through a 100-year-old grove of Douglas fir and oak trees offer places for calming reflection.
Bethell Woods, it seems, provides the same gift to its owners.
"We've just gotten to know so many nice people here," Bethell said, adding that some of their guests have even invited them to visit. "We haven't taken anyone up on that offer, but we might."
Asbahr said they try to create a homelike welcoming for guests.
"Our theory is `Where would we want to stay?'" he said.
Nine months into the operation, Bethell Woods is steadily building a clientele. September will be the busiest month so far and the treasured property is drawing previous guests back -- much like it did its owners.
"You can't take the country out of the girl," Bethell said. "We were both raised in the country and we feel so natural being back. We are so happy to be here."
A Place to Stay
What: Bethell Woods Bed & Breakfast.
Where: 17950 Highway 22, Sheridan, between Dallas and Grand Ronde.
Amenities: Forest Cottage and Garden Room available for rent. The property also is available for events hosting, such as weddings and concerts.
Rates: $110-$130 per night.
Contact: Cindy Bethell, 503-956-3377; email@example.com; http://bethellwoods.com.