I grew up west of Redding on Placer Road among the manzanita, oaks, and grey pines of the chaparral. When I wasn’t romping through the undergrowth, pedaling my BMX bike down a dusty trail, or splashing through creeks with my two dogs, I usually had my nose buried in a book. At least, until I got my first computer—a Commodore 64 that lasted me until 1994. And believe it or not, I managed to get that sucker on the Internet, 1200 baud modem and all.
After graduating from Shasta High School, I attended California State University, Chico, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration. Living in Chico rekindled my childhood love for bicycling, even after I was struck by a SUV that rolled through a four-way stop. The marked differences between Redding and Chico awakened my interest in land-use and urban planning—why was Chico’s downtown so different than Redding’s? Was it more than just the college? It was by seeking the answers to these questions that I became a believer in New Urbanism. It was also in Chico that I was first paid to write—first for the Synthesis and later for the Chico News and Review, two alternative weekly newspapers.
I’m currently volunteering as a policy analyst and communications strategist for Shasta Living Streets, a non-profit dedicated to making the streets and cities of Shasta County more livable for everyone. We’re famous for our annual open streets event—the first of its kind in Northern California—and we were key in mobilizing community support for the buffered bike lane on California Street in Downtown Redding. Our most recent success was the temporary installation of the first-ever parklet on a Caltrans right-of-way—California Street, again.
In the spring of 2015, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and I moved to Downtown Redding along with my spoiled Bengal cat, Neko. This fall, I will be launching downtownredding.org, a website devoted to showcasing the advantages of urban living in general and Downtown Redding in particular. My goal is change the conversation happening about Downtown Redding, and I hope you’ll join me in being “downtown proud.”
I have a deep love of history, particularly local history, As David McCulloch said, “History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” I believe the context that history provides is invaluable in understanding the challenges of today and formulating effective solutions. With that in mind, I recently created a timeline of Redding’s history focusing on the built environment. As part of my research for the timeline, I’ve been able to correct old misconceptions and inaccuracies about several events in local history, such as the demolition date of the Carnegie Library. I’m currently working on a book on Shasta County history that I hope to have out in 2017. I have an idea for one or two more percolating on the back burner, too—but first things first!
My other interests include photography, cinema, music, fitness, and the great outdoors. I was prominently featured in a 2005 New York Times lifestyle article on digital photography—but don’t let that fool you, I’m a pretty alright guy.