Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way

A spot to read in the shade, looking west on Clay Creek Way.

Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way

Front porches and street trees.

A walkable neighborhood.

34 Photos!

“This is the friendliest neighborhood I have ever lived in.”

Glen
Beautiful flower garden at the home of Glen and Ken.
Beautiful flower garden at the home of Glen and Ken. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

As I was walking along Clay Creek Way in July 2023, I stopped to admire and photograph a vibrant, colorful flower-filled garden. Minutes later, I was conversing with homeowners Glen and Ken about flowers, local nurseries, photography, OLLI classes and the neighborhood. I was impressed by Glen’s effusive description: “This is the friendliest neighborhood I have ever lived in.” He and Ken spoke warmly of people sitting on their front porches, chatting with local dog walkers and other neighbors out for an evening stroll. They also expressed, more seriously, that neighbors look out for each other because of health issues or other needs.

We are fortunate that many Ashland neighborhoods have some of these “small town” qualities. The neighborhood HOA (home owners association) summed it up this way: “The Clay Creek Gardens HOA is dedicated to creating a great Ashland neighborhood characterized by architecturally distinctive homes, beautiful open spaces and neighbors that know and support each other. For some of us that have lived here awhile we think of it as a new ‘old school’ neighborhood reminiscent of the neighborhoods in which we grew up.”

street signs: Clay Creek Way and Takelma Way, east end.
Street signs: Clay Creek Way and Takelma Way, east end. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

In this photo essay, I will introduce you to Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way, which are part of a neighborhood of 61 homes between Tolman Creek Road and Clay Street. The neighborhood also includes Takelma Way, which you can learn about in my photo essay here. Most of the homes in this neighborhood were built between 1998 and 2005.

map showing Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way.
Location map of Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way. (from Apple maps)
street signs: Mickelson Way and Clay Creek Way.
Street signs: Mickelson Way and Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Let’s look – through a variety of photos – at some of the qualities that make these streets so pleasant to live on and walk along. As I wrote in my photo essay about Takelma Way: “The neighborhood was built following the principles of ‘new urbanism.’ The HOA website describes new urbanism as ‘a concept that encourages walkable communities, compact design with a focus on smaller lots, extensive shared community spaces and homes that encourage neighbors to interact with each other.’ Practically speaking, the houses have covered front porches that face the sidewalk to encourage communication with neighbors who are out for a walk. There are narrow streets with wide sidewalks, so it doesn’t feel like cars dominate the space. The architecture of the houses is not ‘cookie-cutter,’ but encompasses a variety of styles.”

Pocket parks and shade trees make a difference you can feel

pocket park at corner of Clay Creek Way and Takelma Way.
Pocket park at corner of Clay Creek Way and Takelma Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

I started my walk on the east end of Clay Creek Way. There is a lovely pocket park here, at the intersection with Takelma Way, a communal space for locals to meet. 

First house, east end of Clay Creek Way.
First house on the east end of Clay Creek Way, at Takelma Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Ukrainian flag on Clay Creek Way.
Ukrainian flag and shade trees on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

The twenty year old street trees on both sides of Clay Creek Way provide soothing shade for a 90 degree July walk. 

Little Free Library

A spot to read in the shade, looking west on Clay Creek Way.
A spot to read in the shade, looking west on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Near the pocket park, in the park way, you’ll find a Little Free Library. Ashland has dozens of Little Free Libraries around town, but the extra touch of a nearby bench where you can sit in the shade to read your new (to you) book makes this one extra special.

Little Free Library and reading bench on Clay Creek Way
Little Free Library and reading bench on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Alleys and paths

path south from Clay Creek Way to Takelma Way
Path south from Clay Creek Way to Takelma Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

One of the many details that makes this a walkable neighborhood is the way alleys and paths reduce car and truck interactions with pedestrians who walk the shady sidewalks. The path in the photo above gives people a shortcut from Clay Creek Way to Takelma Way. The alleys in the photos below move the garages, autos and trucks (trash and recycling) away from the narrow street and friendly sidewalks. 

Access to alley behind the houses along Clay Creek Way
Access to alley behind the houses along Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way
Alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
View to the north from alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way.
View to the north from alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Nice balcony along alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way
Nice balcony along alley behind houses along Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Path from Mickelson way to alley behind houses.
Path from Mickelson way to alley behind houses. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Front porches can make a difference

Comfortable front porch on Clay Creek Way
Comfortable front porch on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Large front porch on Clay Creek Way.
Large front porch on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Front porches are sometimes a marketing gimmick in new house construction. Even if a front porch is lovely, if it is too far from the sidewalk or elevated too high, it will be less likely to encourage interaction. Here on Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way, the front porches really work to knit the neighbors together. They are near the sidewalk but still have plant-filled front yards as a buffer zone and beauty zone. The porches are covered to protect sitters from hot sun or wet rain. They are large enough for a bench, sofa or several comfortable chairs, but are not ostentatious. Here are several more photos of front porches I liked on these two streets. 

Pretty front porch on Mickelson Way.
Pretty front porch on Mickelson Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Another Ukrainian flag
Another Ukrainian flag, Black Lives Matter sign, and front porch for greeting neighbors. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Front porch comfort and front yard beauty.
Front porch comfort and front yard beauty. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
A lovely entry on Clay Creek Way.
A lovely entry on Clay Creek Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

Yard art, flowers and more flags

Patriotic and spiritual on Mickelson Way.
Patriotic and spiritual on Mickelson Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Front porch meditation spot shared with Christ, Buddha and an angel.
Eclectic front porch meditation spot shared with Christ, Buddha and an angel. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

I saw both American flags and Ukrainian flags during my July 2023 walk. The front yards are small, but give homeowners enough room for creativity with greenery, flowers and yard art. Here are more lovely yard details I noticed during my walk along Clay Creek Way and Mickelson Way.

"Petrichor" -- What does it mean? Look it up!
“Petrichor” — What does it mean? Look it up! (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Beautiful hydrangea flowers on Mickelson Way.
Beautiful hydrangea flowers on Mickelson Way. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Pretty entry to this Clay Creek Way house and garden.
Pretty entry to this Clay Creek Way house and garden. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Very retro garden bed.
Very retro garden bed. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Lots of vibrant colors!(
Lots of vibrant colors in Glen and Ken’s garden! (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
2680 Clay Creek Way, flowers
More vibrant colors. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)
Small and large flowers at the home of Glen and Ken.
Small and tall flowers at the home of Glen and Ken. (photo by Peter Finkle, 2023)

See photos of the other street in this HOA neighborhood – Takelma Way.

10 Comments
  • Barb settles
    Posted at 09:17h, 16 October Reply

    I’ve ridden my bike through this area many times, visited friends who live there, all a corner of care in our city. Thank you, Peter, for bringing it out center stage. Barb Settles

    • Peter Finkle
      Posted at 10:02h, 16 October Reply

      You are very welcome, Barb. I enjoy finding new gems and “corners of care” to share with people.
      Peter

  • George Kramer
    Posted at 07:51h, 26 July Reply

    Good for you to give this neighborhood some love. It was purposefully designed to be “old-fashioned,” by the original developers who included a group of contractors that included Suncrest Homes and others. They pushed the city to allow alley-loaded garages, freeing up the streetscape so the houses could be more closely set to create a strong pedestrian character. I was hired to provide input on historic treatments for the set of house plans and once the lots were sold owners were given some flexibility about exterior detail, all with the intent that the houses would be individualized and all look different. We purposefully tried to mix styles and eras, as occured in typical neighborhood, rather than design everything to look alike, as usually happens in new development. 25 years later, the wisdom of that approach certainly pays off. I wish more new development followed a similar model.

    • Peter Finkle
      Posted at 07:58h, 26 July Reply

      George,
      I appreciate you sharing more information about the development of this neighborhood. The details that you and others focused on really came together to create a positive, human-scale neighborhood. Thanks for your contribution to making that happen.
      Peter

  • Peggy Wallar
    Posted at 16:43h, 22 July Reply

    This is one of my favorites, thanks Peter!

  • Lynn Reid
    Posted at 12:37h, 22 July Reply

    Another special adventure “touring” this lovely area with you Peter!
    Thanks for sharing

  • Gina DuQuenne
    Posted at 11:09h, 22 July Reply

    Peter, thank you for capturing some of the beauty of Ashland. I am so grateful that I get to live here! July 22, 2023
    -Gina DuQuenne

  • Robin Thompson
    Posted at 22:51h, 21 July Reply

    What a wonderful world — our neighborhood. Thanks for sharing the beauty around us!

  • Glen Scoty
    Posted at 15:39h, 21 July Reply

    Peter,
    It was an honor meeting you. You are truly famous. We were honored to have our house and garden shown in this wonderful photo essay! What a great community we live in!

  • Andrea Good
    Posted at 12:45h, 20 July Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I was glad there is a street called “Takelma”. I wish we could know more about and have a larger Takelma presence here. And… a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. … Nice…

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