SEASIDE - Four dogs, one cat, two horses and two pygmy goats on three acres near Gearhart.

That is where Trish Downey calls home.

Downey, who is the assistant to the Seaside city manager, says she spent her childhood on her grandparents' farm and after moving to Seattle at age 5, she always wanted to go back.

"I was born in Idaho and I used to spend summers at my grandparents' farm," said Downey. "They'd usually find me under the cows."

Her desire to return to farm life was put on hold when she met her husband and settled into family life in Seattle, where she and her husband, Ron, raised three kids.

All of Downey's children attended Catholic school. Throughout their youth Downey could be seen on the sidelines coaching her children and their teammates. She also became active in the YMCA, first for herself, then as a volunteer and finally, as an employee. She then moved to Kent, Wash.

"I got a job as a stall cleaner and groom for an Arabian ranch and soon all three of my kids were working there and I was the office manager."

The path that led to the Seaside area is not an unusual one. Downey's husband took a position as the postmaster in Seaside.

When all the dust had settled from moving, Downey set out looking for a part-time job and was hired by the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District and worked with Mary Blake, the longtime director.

"When I started, it was just the pool and a tiny front office," said Downey. She said she and Blake had desks that were in an "L" shape and their chairs would bump into each other. "The lifeguards would fight over my desk, so I could sit down in a wet chair at any time."

After a time, Downey applied for a position as the assistant to the city manager and was hired in 1988.

"And I've been here ever since," said Downey. Mark Winstanley holds that office.

"I've worked with a lot of city managers. I like to joke with Mark that I'm still here."

When Downey isn't at work, those three acres near Gearhart keep her busy, as do her 10 grandchildren. She says there is always something to do, if not baseball or volleyball games, then there are first communions to attend.

"My husband and I are thankful when we get a weekend to just stay at home," said Downey.

Those weekends when Downey is at home, there is landscaping to be done in the yard and the animals to tend to. It is a pastoral life that Downey enjoys and a fulfillment of her childhood dream to move back to the country.


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