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Meet Your Neighbor: Hollis MacLean-Wenzel

by: marcus hathcock, Hollis MacLean-Wenzel.

Name: Hollis MacLean-Wenzel

Age: 48

Occupation: Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. She started at the Chamber office Monday, Jan. 7. Of course before that she's spent nearly her entire professional life working in nonprofit organizations, many times serving as the executive director. She's also a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Where she can be found around Sandy (besides work): 'We love to go to the movies, and go out to eat at Smoky Hearth and Sparky's; we really enjoyed Roseone's, too,' MacLean-Wenzel said. She also frequents Mountain Moka, the Sandy Public Library and, most recently, the Sandy Actors Theatre.

Time living in area: A year and a half. 'I've been in Portland 15 years,' she clarifies, but until a year and a half ago, she lived in Irvington, her beloved Portland neighborhood. 'It took major falling in love to move,' she said, but since she's been here, she's been smitten with the community.

Hobbies: Skiing, backpacking, gardening, hiking, tennis.

Claims to fame:

• Hollis' unique name is English, and it means 'near the holly.' It's also used in Bob Dylan's song 'The Ballad of Hollis Brown' in 1964.

• As mentioned earlier, MacLean-Wenzel has been the executive director of several nonprofits. 'I really like doing things that are community-building activities.'

• She did a lot of river rafting in her late 20s and early 30s. She spent 8 summers riding the Rogue River.

• MacLean-Wenzel has a mixed family of eight. Besides MacLean-Wenzel and her husband, Western Seminary Professor David Wenzel, there are six children: A college graduate, a college sophomore, a 15-year-old Sandy High student, an 11-year-old Cedar Ridge student, a 10-year-old Good Shepherd student and an 8-year-old Firwood student.

• She loves to travel. Besides various road trips and plane trips across the United States, she's been to England, Scotland, Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Mexico and Canada, among other places.

• 'In my college youth I had, at one point, hair that was about an inch and a half long and had lime green in it. … Very different than the person you see today.' She had it just long enough to get her father upset, she said.

Best things about living here: 'It's a wonderful place to raise children,' MacLean-Wenzel says. 'I love getting out of the car and being able to walk around town to do errands, and I've immediately started to recognize people.

'I love the scene of going into the post office,' she continued. 'Everyone knows each other and is connecting. I just like that feeling of community. I love the summer festival and all the things that happen. Really, just seeing all the same faces and getting to know people.

Final thought: 'When I lived in Portland, Sandy was the place where we stopped for gas and doughnuts. A lot of my friends still see it that way. But I feel it's really a quaint sort of smaller town, that has the benefits of small-town living and a sense of community that still has the access to the big city. You kind of get the best of both worlds; it's kind of a little gem out here. I'm excited to get involved in it.'