|Williams Oregon Community Proposal||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson -- WB0YQM (FRED%JWHVX.CIS.UMN.EDU)|
|Date: Sun, 21 Nov 93 05:24 CST|
WILLIAMS OREGON COMMUNITY PROPOSAL WILLIAMS OREGON COMMUNITY PROPOSAL COHOUSING-L Sysop's note: The proposers not themselves on Internet; this article was received from a net connected friend of theirs. It is a long statement of their proposal, 290 lines long total. To follow up: Write or call: Kevin/Melanie, 130 4th Street, Ashland, OR 97520 (503) 482-7909 Two world traveling, skeptical, spiritual, self-employed, creative bohemians with incredible land seek a select, eclectic assortment of responsible, interesting people of any race, gender or sexual preference to live together forever and ever. We love children, mountains and wordplay. What follows is, in a way, a glorified personal ad. Hopefully, you'll be both patient and interested. Read on. GENERAL PURPOSE AND GOALS Why intentional community? We feel that certain social arrangements of the past -- the extended family, the tribe, the village -- offer lessons for combating the alienation of late 20th century life. These "relics" of the past can be a clue to creating new forms that transcend the limitations of isolated nuclear families and individuals in providing such things as child care and emotional, intellectual and physical support. Our vision of community is one of living among our friends, family and co-workers. It involves working and playing together, celebrating life and seasonal passages and addressing problems and solving them together. For us, community provides for a more comfortable, interesting and healthy existence than living by ourselves in city, suburb or country. Rural co-housing (in effect a small, planned community development with separate houses/kitchens, community building and a commons) offers the physical infrastructure for achieving much of the above, the private spaces taking the rough edges off of unlimited interpersonal interactions. However, we expect people to want to have a high level of involvement in the community. We would like to see the following: childcare provisions (and with the right people possibly co- parenting); intergenerational involvement -- children and parents of parents; a sense of personal and community responsibility; interest in progressive politics, feminist values, personal growth and self- examination, involvement in local and no-so-local issues of the day; playfulness; some land-based business, such as farming or cottage industry; self- employed people; creative people. What wouldn't work for us? Dogmatic spiritualism, heavy or dependent use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco; survivalist with end-of-civilization illusions; people who are homophobic, racist or mysogenistic; people with a history of violence or abusive behavior; growing or selling of drugs. The OCA, Ronnie Reagan, Pat Buchanan or Rush Limbaugh need not apply. We are committed to using consensus process in our community, at least for important decisions. We feel it is the best method of decision-making because it allows all opinions to be aired, a synthesis of different ideas and needs can be formed, and solutions can be agreed upon which look toward cooperation and participation of all parties. THE LAND The land we've bought is in the Williams valley of Southern Oregon. We chose Southern Oregon because land is relatively inexpensive; there are a variety of cultural activities in the area; and we are out of the immediate impact of large urbanized zones, but we can still go to San Francisco or Portland -- a half day's journey away. Our lovely site lies at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains. A tributary of the Applegate River, Williams is a minor agricultural region of farms and ranch land surrounded by mixed conifer forested mountains with Grayback Mountain (over 7,000 feet) at the head of the valley. Our land is in the flat part of the valley with south facing views of the mountains across our meadow. The 43+ acres includes a 5 acres spring-fed reservoir, about 10 acres of field and meadow, with the remainder primarily mixed pine and fir forest with some oak and madrone. The "town" of Williams has a post office, general store, care, gas station, a few other small businesses, library, public elementary school and a parent-run alternative school. There are a large number of "alternative" people living in the area. Sources of full employment in the valley are minimal. The closest towns are Grants Pass (20,000 people, 30 minutes away), a retirement community and whitewater rafting capital; Medford (50,0000 people, 45 minutes away), which has a large wood products and canning industry, the largest city of Southern Oregon; and Ashland (16,000 people, 60 minutes away), a cultural center noted for theater, tourist and college economy. The land is at 1500 feet elevation, getting occasional winter snow. The frost-free period is usually considered to be May through September. Summers are sunny and hot with occasional thundershowers. Spring and fall are variable, alternating periods of rain and lovely balmy days. Southern Oregon is known for its orchards, especially apples, pit-fruits and pears, vineyards and livestock ranches. Our fields are primarily a silty loan with sandier sections and some subirrigated acres. The field/meadow has been dry farmed in the past. Most of the land has been maintained for its timber potential, but has not been recently cut. The land is fairly private, both from the county road and other dwellings. It has good access roads, three good wells and access to another spring/pond area -- all of which have done very well in prolonged drought conditions. The reservoir, built in the '20s, is used for swimming and fishing (nativized bass, bluegill and trout). On the land is a contemporary, over 3,000 square foot house with 5 bedrooms and a large garage, an 800 square foot workshop and a 1500 square foot mobile home. The land is zones so that we can legally have 8 dwellings. There are potential homesites at the edge of the meadow or in more private, wooded locations. Fire protection services are just minutes away. WHO WE ARE (or Were) Melanie's story: In my early years I danced, investigate psychology and spiritually and way very involved in anti-nuclear politics, especially nonviolence preparation, group facilitation and direct action. My "working" career has been in law, bookkeeping and small business administration. My current interests are: healing myself to enable another pregnancy and participate more in dance, gardening and building; designing and managing our building projects and business affairs; cultivating new friends in Southern Oregon and potential community members. I am 38 years old. Kevin's tale: Now 35, my profession is fine-art photography and shooting for photo stock-houses. A native Oregonian, my forebears homesteaded very close to Williams in the last century. My interests include contact improv dancing; art-doing it, talking it, seeing it; history; politics; travel abroad; mountaineering; discussion; carpentry; ritual; community affairs; coffee; and romantic gossip. Am I eclectic yet? We have been in a committed relationship for six years. We share in common an enthusiastic but realistic belief in intentional community. We have lived in less ambitious community schemes for over 12 years, mostly in Santa Cruz, including exciting, political co-op houses and our own land where 4-7 adults plus kids experimented with community methods. This land became too small for us once people started having children. We share a commitment to progressive social change, both political and personal. In so much as it is possible without becoming didactic zealots, we have tried to live our ideals. Responsibility in our personal lives is am important and natural value; living simply and with low impact on the planet. We have a rather personal sense of the spiritual, reflecting neo-pagan, inner journeying, nature- respecting beliefs. We don't follow anyone. We are interested in raising children in a supportive environment. After the tragic loss of a newborn in 1992, we are working on medical issues to prevent a repetition in the future. We may adopt. We moved to Southern Oregon in 1992 to set the groundwork for a potential community. We now live in a small house in Ashland, scheming. MONEY AND LEGAL We're not planning to write our by-laws until we have at least a couple more families involved in the project. Early members get lots of input. Ideally, we would like to community to be owned on a completely egalitarian basis: one family/household = one share; one share = a fraction of total cost. If we have 8 households, we each own 1/8 of everything except our own house. Questions to be resolved: What do we do while looking for those 8 households: What if we never get the full number? The cost will be somewhere between $55,000 - $70,000 per household not including the building of your house. A more detailed financial breakdown is available to those who are interested. We recognize that we may need to hold several shares for some period of time while we look for more members. We're willing to do this up to a point. Early members will choose among several legal possibilities, including condominium-style ownership, co-op, land trust or dividing the land into individual parcels. We're initially open to any of these options. To keep the community intact, we will need to have a buy-out plan. We favor one which is heavily weighed towards the viability of the community without being a rip-off to the individuals who need to leave. Some ideas which are being tossed around are: 1. limiting future appreciated value to a certain percent per year; 2. allowing an extended period for buy-out to be arranged, at least 2 years. During this time, the household be rented (Williams is a desirable rental area); 3. limiting dollar amount or size of houses. For example, you could build a 3,000 square foot house, but only 1,500 square feet would be included in buy-out amount. We feel strongly that it should be possible for some people to live in our community who do not have the resources to invest. Rental, work exchange or other possibilities should be part of our agreement. Other issues which will need to be addressed in our by-laws include: shared responsibility for land maintenance and community property; whether building code is required; possible design review; limitation on mortgages which could negate our buy-out arrangements. Finally, it is not our intention to offer employment or financial assistance to members. You will need to have income from outside the community. The land could probably support one or two people through farming, but it would be totally the responsibility of those wishing to do it. GETTING INVOLVED: VISITING AND SELECTION Still interested? Or better, more interested? You might want to see the place. Here's the scoop. Our home in Ashland is an hour away from Williams. We don't plan to move to the land until we have other potential members to live there with us. We hope this will happen in 1994. You should first make a short visit of 2-3 days. Please check with us in advance. That way we can meet you, answer your questions face to face and give you the guided tour. After we move to the land, you will be able to stay with us there. After an initial visit, if you are really interested, we would want you to come for a longer visit/pre-trial period of 2-3 weeks duration when we can get to know each other better and experience our styles of living, working, talking. We will make time during this visit to share ideas about the form and direction of the community, taking your suggestions into serious consideration. On this longer visit, we would expect you to contribute to food and utilities. Consider it vacation time with some involvement in work projects such as gardening or building. Finally, if you decide this community could be your dream come true, we like you and feel that your involvement would work for all concerned, then you would be a provisional member for one year, with a review at 6 months. At the end of that time, if accepted, you would be expected to invest and/or build. During that year, you would live in either the house, which would accommodate up to 2 families with a shared kitchen or the 3-bedroom mobile home. You would pay rent or its equivalent during this time. The probation period could be extended if either party is still not sure. There should be a place for people who don't have money for buying in to rent or share special skills instead. Nobody (except us) will be buying in until we have a firm committed group of at least 3 families or 2 families and a couple of single people. Earlier in the process, provisional members would probably have full decision-making involvement in the selection of newer provisional members and in the writing of the by-laws. By using consensus process, we are retaining the right to block any proposal or member. Once a core group exists, provisional members would have input into decision-making, but no blocking powers. PARTICIPATE EARLY AND OFTEN IF YOU WANT TO BE A FOUNDING PARENT. Write or call: Kevin/Melanie, 130 4th Street, Ashland, OR 97520; (503) 482-7909
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