Re: Eugene Cohousing (Lynn Dixon)
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 14:23:20 -0700 (PDT)
Oh dear! Please don't read it as determining the long term
relationship with the community!!

Mosaic Commons and Camelot cohousing were also delayed by about a year
with one impossible to meet restriction after another. When we were
finally approved people from town came to see our "commune" and were
shocked to discover we have kitchens in our homes.

Less than one year after move-in most people in town liked us, and by
two years they mostly love us. And it didn't take much on our part--we
invite the whole community to halloween, we had one person serve on
one of the town committees. We are much more involved now, but they
liked us before we did all that.

Similarly, I worked at a homeless shelter that the entire neighborhood
had fought coming into the neighborhood. About two years after opening
the woman who led the charge against it found a woman from the shelter
in her kitchen one morning. So she asked her if she wanted one egg or
two, made her breakfast, and called us to find out what she should do
next to help the poor women.

People feel out of control of their lives and try to control their
neighborhoods, but once decisions are made they get on with their
lives and do the best they can with the new situation.

Mosaic COmmons, Berlin, MA

On Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 2:34 PM, T G <triciamill9 [at]> wrote:
> I guess the bottom line is that this sounds like a very horrible toxic
> environment for all that seems to offer no amicable solution. Not a place I
> would want to live out my retirement. I hope to find a community that is
> living in peace with its surroundings. Very bad energy surrounding this
> whole situation.
> Good to know before buying in.
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2018 15:00:51 -0700
>> From: Lynn Dixon <ld61069 [at]>
>> To: cohousing-l [at]
>> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Eugene Cohousing
>> Message-ID:
>>         <CAN1bcJgHUA2oVXyqVzogrCg3QZad_XjU8dBU7KUwnH7bhYUWGQ@mail.
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
>> in response to :
>> T G triciamill9 [at] via
>> <>
>> Aug 1 (3 days ago)
>> to cohousing-l
>> Katie,
>> Maybe you could explain some of the things that the Eugene cohousing group
>> did to try and work with the neighbors, types of compromise that were
>> offered that they were unwilling to accept? This could be beneficial to
>> other groups facing this type of opposition. Maybe others could talk about
>> things they did to address the concerns of the existing neighbors when they
>> built their co housing communities.
>> I do think it is important that groups moving into an already established
>> neighborhood need to respect the concerns of the established neighbors. It
>> is a bit self centered to not think you will need to work together with
>> people that will be your future neighbors, people you will see on a daily
>> basis. Ideally it would be great to be in a situation where they can become
>> a part of your community.
>> TG,
>> Before there was any opposition, we made decisions with neighbors in mind
>> regarding backyards facing the lane needing to be "front yard" &
>> neighborly, landscape screening, etc. After there was opposition, we had
>> two meetings:  one "mediated" dialogue, which quickly moved away from
>> dialogue and into name-calling and threats without mediator intervention;
>> and what was supposed to be a "fish-bowl" conversation, which got set-up as
>> a panel instead, that again became a session of blame and threats, rather
>> than a modeled conversation (the purpose of a "fish-bowl"). After those
>> attempts, we met with local multi-family builders/architects to explore
>> making it smaller without pricing out members, and were told (again) that
>> it wasn't possible. After that, conversations with neighbors who opposed
>> the project happened one-on-one, with a variety of different outcomes.
>> One of the concerns in our situation was that there is no emergency vehicle
>> turn-around on the street and we have provided that which is beneficial to
>> those living on the street now. + for everyone.
>> The issue around widening of the street is a conundrum. Most people on the
>> street currently do not want to give up front yard to widening of the
>> street and/or sidewalks. When that topic has come up in the legal process,
>> I am caught between wanting that to happen so those who feel that would
>> make it safer would be pleased, and not wanting it to happen because those
>> who want to retain their yards and see no need for curbs would be pleased;
>> and also knowing that once a road is widened and with sidewalks, drivers
>> tend to be less mindful of potential dangers than when it is a more narrow
>> road. Conundrum.
>> Honestly, there is no way to win here. Members of OMC are in no way people
>> who have no care for others, and ?refuse to negotiate?. Conversations we
>> have had with individuals or groups throughout this process have made it
>> very clear that there is not complete agreement about solutions that would
>> be acceptable to those in opposition. Agreeing to one thing for one person,
>> makes another upset. So there is always a moving target for a definition of
>> what?s reasonable. And it does feel like hypocrisy- we do training in NVC
>> and we strive in building and sustaining relationships in community, and
>> yet we are stuck when it comes to the very neighbors who will live closest
>> by. Watching arguments come through in legal docs for things that we know
>> some neighbors don?t want feels like their goal is just shutting the whole
>> project down, rather than finding a solution to making it work for all. So
>> we contemplate solutions for after the build - shared cars and carpooling,
>> volunteer pool for crossing guard and street monitoring at school traffic
>> times, off-site parking away from Oakleigh, and on and on. No one wants to
>> talk about those things now, but perhaps those conversations and shared
>> ideas can grow into something that feels beneficial to everyone.
>> Lynn
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(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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