New Oakland CoHo group forming
From: Raines Cohen (coho-Lraines.com)
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 13:49:18 -0600
[see the P.S. for Contact info; please _don't_ reply to me for info on 
this new group!]

Last week I went to the 3rd planning meeting of a new cohousing group 
forming in Oakland (no name yet; I call them the "new Oakland CoHo group" 
to distinguish from ours, which is at least five years old and developing 
downtown at the Swans Market in the "Old Oakland" neighborhood), and I 
thought I'd share news and impressions:

They're in the very early stages, just working on educating one another, 
working out a mission statement, goals, ID'ing a shared vision, etc. 
About 20 people were there (at the Bus Stop co-op on Ashby near the 
Claremont hotel), and many more are apparently interested but couldn't 
make it. Very impressive meeting dynamics/facilitation - I knew several 
people there (including Jeff Hobson (who lived at N Street CoHo) and Kim 
Seashore, who visited our group for a bit last year) and at least one 
member on our waiting list, and know that many have coho and 
nonprofit-management experience. One CoHo Co. employee is involved, and 
active in the site selection process... driving around, looking for 
potential sites anywhere from San Leandro to El Cerrito.

A couple of interesting projects mentioned there:

- The Northern California Land Trust is developing a property on the 
Oakland-Emeryville border (Haskell-San Pablo) labeled as "cohousing" but 
it apparently has not worked with the CoHo Co. at all, and seems to be 
developing before having any members, not quite the classic model. They 
advertised it in the East Bay Express newspaper. They are known for doing 
affordable housing projects.

- There's a Temescal neighborhood (Telegraph & 42d St., North Oakland) 
co-op project.

Mostly younger folks, centered around Berkeley, one kid (2-4 years old?) 
that I saw so far.
They haven't formalized "membership" or dues yet, so the exact 
composition of the group may be a little fuzzy. Fairly idealistic, nice 
feelings in the room. They are still in the "we want to do it all" phase: 
build, infill, renovate, affordable housing, sustainable development, 
environmentally appropriate, ability for renters to participate... they 
are a ways off from the hard choices and fitting in to 
budgets/spaces/timetables.... but they know that and acknowledge it.

At check-out, I told them: "Remember this feeling... you'll need it when 
you're doing the hard work ahead." Personally, I enjoyed seeing the 
process early on (Old Oakland CoHo had been together for nearly four 
years by the time I joined) and getting the infusion of energy, and the 
info/experience I've been able to share has been much appreciated.

Raines

P.S. _Don't_ contact me for info on the new Oakland group! Try "BC Capps" 
<spare [at] norcov.com>.


Raines Cohen <coho-L [at] raines.com> <http://www.swansway.com>
Member, Swans Market Cohousing - Old Oakland neighborhood, CA
We've reached consensus on an issue after 8 months of processing!
Construction well along; Developer says Sept. but we plan on Dec.


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