About VAST

St Johns Bridge Portland OR

St. Johns Bridge – Portland, OR

Like most of the small businesses and organizations that we serve, VAST Digital Design takes pride in providing professional, personalized services. VAST is owned and operated by Tamara Haspels, located in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland. Currently, “we” are a one woman operation and have been from the beginning in 2001.

More about Tamara Haspels

Educational background

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My professional experience as a web designer/developer comes from direct experience creating and maintaining websites for small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. But, my education deserves a little mention, too.

  • I received an undergraduate degree from Lewis & Clark College of Portland, OR in 1994, with a major in art and a minor in religious studies.
  • I completed a masters degree in digital media in 2002 from a consciousness-based university in Iowa – by creating my own service-learning project at the University of Pittsburgh as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. That experience, creating websites for service-learning and nonprofit initiatives based out of the University of Pittsburgh, fulfilled the practicum requirement I needed to receive a graduate degree in digital media.
  • I have received training and completed coursework in web development and computer science at the University of Pittsburgh, Human Factors International and Mills College.

I am a local in my North Portland neighborhood, St. Johns

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I love where I live. I love my local North Portland neighborhood, St. Johns. I love Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

When I’m not working in front of the computer, I’m often working in the yard – my “evolving oasis.” I’m in the process of building an urban farm on my regular city size lot with existing apple trees, new fig and persimmon trees, hazelnut shrubs, plenty of veggies and, maybe soon, chickens. I’m learning to can, dry and preserve as much as possible from my own landscape.  An occasional quick and renewing trip to the coast brings mussels and clams into the mix.  Growing my own food and gathering from the wild makes me feel incredibly connected to where I live, and inspires me to keep learning how to create a more sustainable lifestyle.

I love to explore the Pacific Northwest

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I hike and/or snowshoe every chance that I get.  I’ve discovered so many beautiful trails in and outside of Portland.  I’m always coaxing friends and complete strangers to join me in these explorations.  In the process, I sometimes find myself organizing outdoor adventures for groups of people.

Hiking inspired me to do more difficult treks which introduced me to mountaineering. As a novice mountaineer I’ve climbed the following peaks in Oregon and Washington: Mount St. Helens (a few times), South Sister, Middle Sister (near summit), Old Snowy, Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Adams. Through it all, I’ve gradually been acquiring the skills and level of fitness required to do more technical climbs.

I also enjoy more gentle activities that keep me engaged in the environment with a different kind of intensity, including mushroom hunting. Spring introduced me to morel mushrooms and a variety of edibles. Fall is the optimum time for mushroom hunting in the Pacific Northwest and I’m already enjoying the season’s bounty.

 I am a citizen of the world

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From the beginning, in my web work, I’ve chosen to focus on all the good things that the internet can bring to people and communities everywhere.  I’ve done this mostly by choosing to work with people and organizations that are working to build a better world, and helping them leverage the power of the internet to further their goals.  Even while I appreciate the sense of place and belonging that staying within my local community affords me, I recognize that we are all connected in some way to localities everywhere.  We have a lot to share and learn from one another. The internet can help facilitate this process as we all learn how to be global citizens in our local communities.  My parents were teachers in international schools abroad when I was a child.  So, I  had an early start connecting and communicating with people all over the world.