Don’t let anyone steal your candy, Clark County

Be grateful for how blessed we are to be in a great community with so many good things happening

Hand full of candy
Kevin DeFord
KEVIN DEFORD Nex Generation Development & Acquisitions and Schlect Construction

If you’ve ever had someone steal your candy, it can ruin your day.

As we enter a whole new decade let’s stop and look around to assess where we really are in our journey. As Americans and Clark Countians (maybe I coined a new word) we experience the same issues and challenges that most citizens and areas in our great country do on a daily basis. Our economy is robust and we are growing every year. This growth is touching every corner of Clark County. From Ridgefield to Camas and all points between we see new roads, new homes, new restaurants, shopping and new faces.

Schlecht Construction’s biggest challenge is finding workers, as they are hard to come by. We buy and sell our homes and think they are too expensive; as we drive to work every day, we think traffic is bad, we see new commercial development all around us and think we want it stopped. We shop and find it hard to park and run into new faces we don’t recognize and think we are getting way too many people around here. When we watch the news or read the newspaper, we are drawn into the issues that affect local news and national politics. As we stop into our favorite coffee shop, we observe friends and business associates discussing the current events going on all around us and sometimes wonder, “can’t we all just get along?” It can be negative and tiring, an environment where no one compromises, and nothing much ever gets accomplished.

2020 is upon us. A new year and a new decade. I would like us all to start fresh, hit the reset button and focus on why we live here, work here and enjoy this beautiful place we all call home.

The last few years we have all been through a lot of challenges, that is nothing new. For all the issues, the main focus these days has been on drawing the line, taking sides and shutting down if others disagree with our views. I say enough is enough. Hit the reset button, from now on I want to challenge us all to move forward with the virtues that made our community a great place to live, work and grow families.

Look around, Clark County is one of the best kept secrets anywhere in the country. We have fantastic food, great spirits and we are a hub for brewing craft beer. We enjoy vibrant natural beauty that is unmatched anywhere. We can be at the beach, mountains, river, Gorge or even the desert in an hour or so. We have some of the best schools in the country; we enjoy four different seasons, great healthcare, cheap electricity and water. Life here is really wonderful. I want to challenge our mindset to get back to a better time and place where we helped each other. Take a deep breath, volunteer more, mentor someone, listen more, actually listen to a different point of view. Maybe we can learn something new from each other. Help to make the new developments in your neighborhood great for the community. Park further out at the grocery store and enjoy the walk. As the new year unfolds and you buy a house, see a development you may or may not agree with, find it hard to park or see a heated latte battle going on … bring a solution to the meeting, remember there were others before us in every neighborhood that may have not liked it when we showed up and built a house and shopped.

Be open to discussion, get involved, help someone just because, say hello, smile, respect others no matter their background or opinion, compromise. This community was made by all these virtues from many origins and backgrounds.

It’s time we remembered that. Be grateful for how blessed we are to be in a great community with so many good things happening. Jobs provide for our families; growth creates more jobs and experiences and improves our community. Don’t steal someone’s candy, offer to give them some candy. It will warm your heart and that’s accomplishing something.

Kevin DeFord is president of Schlecht Construction Co. and president and founder of Nex Generation Development & Acquisition. He can be reached at


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