When anyone asked about Matthew Green and how he was progressing with his apprenticeship, Greg Mebust always replied with the same answer:
“I would always say ‘I wish I had hundreds of Matthews,’ ” said Mebust, president of Trinity Gate and Door in Redmond. “He was that good.”
The 21-year-old Green was working toward getting certified as an electrician and learning new skills on the job, Mebust said. A native of Haines, Alaska, Green had lived in the Seattle area for about two years.
Green and Zane Durr, who also grew up in Haines and was Green’s roommate in Seattle, were snowboarding in British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Park Monday when they were caught by an avalanche. Green and Durr, also 21, were killed.
A third friend, also from Haines, survived after he was partially buried and used an SOS emergency locator, according to Avalanche Canada, a nonprofit that tracks avalanche fatalities. The Haines Volunteer Fire Department said in a statement that Canadian authorities are working to make arrangements to bring their bodies back to the United States.
The pair are being mourned in the Pacific Northwest, and in Haines, a small town with about 2,000 people on the northern area of the Alaskan Panhandle. Durr had extended generations of family in Haines, and Green’s family has lived there for more than a decade, said Haines Borough Manager Debra Schnabel.
They graduated from Haines High School in 2016 and moved to Seattle together. Charlie Henry, who grew up in Haines, described Green and Durr as opposites who fit well. Green was quiet and stoic; Durr was open and outgoing.
“They really played off each other,” said Henry, who lives in Portland. “I think they ended up learning a lot from each other in their brotherhood.”
Henry said he and Durr met in middle school and bonded over their interest in the arts. In high school, they performed in “The Jungle Book” together at a community theater. In a place where everyone seems to know everyone, Durr seemed especially connected.
“It was impossible walking through a crowd with him, because he knew everybody,” Henry said. He would take five steps and be gone. He carried that openness everywhere he went.”
Durr worked as a maintenance technician in the University District and as a project engineer at a contracting company in Snohomish County, according to his LinkedIn profile. He described himself on the page as “a young creator looking for an opportunity hidden as a challenge.”
He was thinking about moving somewhere else, Henry said. Maybe New York, just to see what it was like. He came down to Portland to visit Henry and other friends in September. On one night, he was waiting at Henry’s home for another friend and said he would hear back in a few minutes. So Durr and Henry started chatting; the discussion turned to politics and love and life.
They thought it was a short talk until they checked the time — their five-minute chat had lasted 2 1/2 hours.