John Smith recently listed his Washougal home with Columbia River Realty. We sat down with him to talk about the property that’s been in his family since 1948 and what country living is really like.

The 3 bed/2.5 bath home sits on 6 acres and offers the peace of country living but is only 15 minutes to downtown Washougal, and 30 minutes to Portland. Address: 38105 SE Norma Road, Washougal, WA, 98671. 

CRR: John, can you tell me how you came to own this place?
John: Well, my grandparents bought 100-and-some acres next door in 1948 and lived there until 1970 when they moved down by the golf course. In 1964, my parents bought this property when I was just 4-years-old. They still live in their house down below my barn and I built this house in 1992. My brother lives on the property behind me.

CRR: What was it like growing up here?
John: As a kid, we had the run of the whole hillside. Our neighbors had 100-and-some acres, too, so we’d be gone the whole day doing whatever in the woods, building forts and hunting, or playing in the creek and catching salamanders and frogs. We raised wheat here, so I went haying as a kid, cut firewood, and chased cows. I remember when there were 30 cows in the yard.

CRR: You’re out in the country here. Do you see much wildlife?
John: This is a unique and quiet place. Just last winter, the deer were sleeping in the yard in the snow. I have a camera set up in the woods and saw three bears last year and two so far this year. There are probably 6 or 8, but they don’t bother anything. Last year, I was sitting in a tree in camo, and one of them came up early in the morning. I just wanted to sit and watch like I do with the deer- they get from me to you. Well, this bear came up and was sniffing my foot- it wasn’t nervous in the least. It stayed and sniffed my foot for 10 seconds or so. I’ll see a bobcat or a cougar occasionally.

CRR: It’s so beautiful here, this would be a tough place to leave. Where are you going next?
John: I’ve worked at the mill for 34-and-a-half-years and it’s crumbling, so this was my opportunity to retire. Selling this house will allow me to retire nicely. I’ll still be around though. I’m going to get a motor home and park it at the folks’ house. So, whoever buys this place, all they have to do is ask if they have a question like where the water line is. I know where everything is at. 

CRR: What type of buyer would be a good fit for this house and property?
John: You can make this property be whatever you want it to be. When you drive across the creek on your way up the driveway, you see a pond that gets ducks and had rainbow trout at once time. The herrings come in and stab the trout, but you could do that if you want.

There’s a big garden area with a row of corn and tomatoes. I have peppers out front, two pear trees (one is loaded), and blueberry plants; you could raise blueberries. You can run chickens or have livestock. I got away from livestock and took a lot of the fencing down, so you’d just have to redo some of the fences. There’s a barn on the property with three stalls.

CRR: Do you know how your road got the name “Norma Road?”
John: Norma Road is named after my mom. When we finished the driveway, the county called her and said, “We need to name the new road that’s going in,” and she said, “Well, I don’t know what to call it.” The lady at the county asked what her first name was and said, “Well, now you got a road named after you.”

CRR: What do you like about living in Washougal?
John: I liked growing up in a small town. I remember the days of riding dirt bikes in town and when we used to hook a rope and inner tube on our cars and run around downtown Washougal in the snow. That’s what I like about this place. It’s a nice, slower-paced life that is reminiscent of the good old days. I have a gate out there and never even locked the doors until it went on the market.

Do you think country living is right for you? For more details about John Smith’s house or for a personal showing, please contact Columbia River Realty at 360-210-4690 or

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