Yalan Zheng, left, Fei He and their children stroll near their home in the Azul community in Portola Springs.

Hiking trails, views draw family to Portola Springs


Every community has its “original owners” on the block – the family that bought new, knows the history of the neighborhood and has watched a generation of children nurtured and raised.

That’s what Fei He and Yalan Zheng plan to be in the new community of Azul, in the Village of Portola Springs, where they found their “forever home.” They bought the first home made available last month.

Their new four-bedroom house features a high ceiling, making the living room feel open and brighter.

The spacious backyard appealed especially to daughter Claire, 10, who has always wanted an outdoor space to play with Taffy, the family’s pet Pomeranian.

The biggest draw, however, was its location.

Fei He likes to toss a football to his son Daniel, 13, when they’re at Portola Springs Community Park.

“This is a great place to raise a family,” says He, an investment analyst for asset management company DoubleLine. “There are activities like movie theaters and Irvine Spectrum. And there are a lot of after-school programs.”

The couple, who moved from nearby Cypress Village, say they’ve found the perfect home.

Portola Springs is just minutes away from jobs, shopping, trails, parks and the 241 toll road. The village includes the 32-acre Portola Springs Community Park, where He likes to throw the football to son Daniel, 13, during family walks.

“Having nature close to us is definitely appealing,” He says. “We can go jogging and hiking with the family over the weekend. If you walk the neighborhood, you can see nice views of the city. It’s quite satisfying.”

The family recently took a 10-day vacation to Florida. They were excited about the trip when they left home, He said. By the time they were on the plane back, however, the family couldn’t help but feel excited to return to Irvine.

“Once you live here, it’s hard to move out,” He says. “Even in SoCal, it’s hard to find a city comparable to Irvine. We just feel this is our home.”

Yalan Zheng and daughter, Claire, 10, are happy there is so much nature all around their new home.

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