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Deston is the product of a family of journalists on one side, and good-humored artisans on the other. His father, R. Gregory Nokes, served as an Associated Press foreign correspondent and Washington, D.C. bureau chief before retiring to Oregon to author books on Oregon history. His mother, Audrey Nokes, was an artist in Kauai, making angels from natural materials gathered on the island.

Early years

Deston grew up living in New York, Puerto Rico, Buenos Aires, Cambridge, Mass., and Washington, D.C. He learned Spanish from playing with the local kids on the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. He attended Willamette University in Salem, Ore., where he spent a semester abroad in Central America, furthering his interest in politics, Spanish and writing. He graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

His first job was working at the Oregon Journal writing sports agate, before getting a full-time position at NW Natural, a natural gas utility in Portland. Nokes eventually served as NW Natural’s director of communications, managing crisis communications, press relations, its speakers’ bureau and contributions committee. He also wrote the utility’s website, earned a Public Relations Society of America APR certification, and a Toastmasters International, CTM.

Forming Nokes Communications

In 2000, he started Nokes Communications, where he works as a copywriter, editor, and public relations consultant for a variety of public and private entities.

Deston worked as a freelance journalist and travel feature writer, which took him to destinations around the globe. His articles have been published in Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, Alaska Airlines Beyond, CityPASS, The Oregonian and other publications.

Deston makes his home in Gresham, Ore., and has a daughter and son.