Monday, January 26, 2009

join us for pizza tomorrow night!

Come learn more about Columbia Ecovillage and the membership pathway at our weekly information socials. This week we're meeting for pizza and drinks at 6pm on Tuesday 1/27, at It's a Beautiful Pizza, 3342 SE Belmont, near Zupan's in the Sunnyside neighborhood.  

Here's a map if you need one, or check the Trimet schedule for the #15 (Belmont), #14 (Hawthorne) or #75 (SE 39th to Milwaukie) buses that'll bring you within pizza range.

Make sure to swing by our community website to learn more about our vision and values and membership pathway. To see the beautiful renovation which is nearing completion and the ecovillage land, and for information on remaining available homes, visit the developer's website. 
Then come on down on Tuesday for some pizza and to meet our members in person. We'll have a slide show of the site and can answer any questions during the info social.  This is a kid-friendly event :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How we decided to join Columbia Ecovillage

Our journey started 20 years ago, when my husband Dennis and I first heard about cohousing. At that time, we were living in Los Angeles, our son was only a year old, and it seemed like a dream come true. With a few names gleaned from a cohousing newsletter, we embarked on a month long trip up the west coast in an old leaky camper. We had a few names from Washington gleaned from a cohousing newsletter and a lot of hope. Unfortunately, none of these nascent communities were actually built yet. Winslow, on Bainbridge Island near Seattle was the closest. We attended a meeting and tramped around their newly purchased plot of land. We went to a planning meeting in Pt Townsend, WA and drove around Whidbey Island with a family who hoped to form one. They were all lovely people, but we didn’t want to live in any of those places. But we liked Portland, so a year later moved there and bought a house.

Over the next 19 years whenever a cohousing group would crop up in Portland, we would come to a meeting or have a tour. But we always said no. We lived in a wonderful neighborhood in a beautiful old house on 2/3 acre. We had remodeled every room and Dennis had grafted and planted 50 fruit trees in the orchard. It was impossible to imagine moving. Instead, we rented rooms to a series of housemates, mostly single parents with children.

But last summer, Dennis came home from a Home Orchard Society board meeting even more excited than he is normally. Joe Leitch, a fellow board member, had told him about Columbia Ecovillage. “I want us to join this community” Dennis said. “Let’s do it.”

“Okaaaaay,” I said. I had wanted us to move for years, but Dennis would never consider leaving his trees. Our son was in college and Stan, our most recent housemate, had just moved out. We didn’t need such a large house anymore. That night neither Dennis nor I could sleep. It felt like Christmas Eve did when I was a child, except better. I wasn’t going to get a pile of new toys, I was going to leap off a cliff into a new life.

The next evening we went to an informational social at Old Wives Tale restaurant. The only thing I remember was sitting with Barbara, a member, telling her about my fears of leaving our house. The rest was a blur. The next tour wasn’t until the weekend, but Dennis and had to see the site for real. The next day, close to dusk, we drove down Killingsworth Street trying to imagine this as our new neighborhood. When we got to the area near the community, my heart took a dive. How could I live on an ugly street like this? We turned into the 1970s apartment complex and parked. The old walnut trees were there in the middle of the parking lot just as Joe had described. But the buildings were ugly with small cheap windows and faded grey siding.
We looked at each other and shook our heads. “We can’t do this,” said Dennis.

But on the way home I had a nagging thought. “We don’t have the full vision,” I said. “We haven’t even had a tour.”

He shook his head. “No, it won’t make any difference. We can’t live here.”

Over the next two weeks, we talked about forming our own community instead. We had enough land to put up one or two small houses. Life went on and I flew east for my annual visit to Cape Cod, where I grew up. One night Dennis called me.

“I was in the yard working and feeling so lonely and Joe called me. I told him how I was scared. He said he wished I had called him before so he could help us through that, even if we decided to not join. I went right over to Killingsworth and Joe gave me a tour and I went to a business meeting. I’ve got the vision! I want to join Columbia Ecovillage,”

My heart started to beat fast. Maybe we didn’t have to form a community all by ourselves. Maybe we could join with this wonderful group in their experiment. Maybe we could leave our house after all. Maybe Dennis didn’t have to garden alone for the rest of his life. After thinking we would rent our house, in case the community didn’t work out, we have just put it on the market. So far, Columbia Ecovillage has been better than I ever imagined and we haven’t even moved in yet.
Anne Mavor