Perspectives on Living at Cascadia
One of the things that people enjoy about living in community is the presence and participation of someone else with whom they share something important: a profession, personality style, household make-up, activity/hobby, age, relationship style/sexual orientation, special need/medical condition, etc. Several members have shared their stories to provide glimpses into life at Cascadia.
I have lived in Cascadia Commons for over 13 years now, so almost a “senior resident”. My cats have lived with me during all those years, as well as my two sons for just a brief period. I love living here because the community is social, supportive and never dull. We have lived through various crises, losses and are still together. In fact we are all the stronger for it. I love celebrating with the kids, creating wonderful dinners and have tea parties. We share harvest from our veggie gardens and fruit trees, which I really appreciate, because it’s my favorite way to eat! When I was sick or had deaths in my family, everyone stood ready to assist. When I come home from work, (home health physical therapy) my neighbors greet me. When I am out of town ( my family lives in The Netherlands), my neighbors feed my cats.I work as home health physical therapist and I am also a graduate of the PSU Conflict Resolution program. I also enjoy hosting Couchsurfers and it has been a pleasure sharing my traveling visitors.
Minnette: Adjusting to Life in Community
In 1989 I moved to Alaska and hooked up with a community group called Green Fire. They were in their early formative stages. They seemed to be a pretty knowledgeable group and I just didn’t have the grit to go through all those stages of looking for land, making all the decisions about how we would live together and settle all those nitty gritty problems that founders have to deal with.I came back to the “lower 48” and started my search all over again. In 1993 I attended an “Intentional Communities National Conference” in Olympia Washington. I met two members of Portlandia (the origin of Cascadia) at that conference. I still was doubtful about certain aspects of the cohousing concept. After visiting Songaia in Bothel Wa. I knew where I was headed–even if I was still questioning which one. Visited quite a few cohousing communities and it came down to either Songaia or Cascadia and the decision was made based on geography. Cascadia is my home and Cascadians are my family. Like any large family we have celebrations and events that speak of our appreciation of each other. When one member is hurting from tragic events or illness we “circle the wagons” and do whatever we can to make life better. When we disagree we sometimes do or say hurtful things; we apologize, explain and do anything else we can to mend the relationship. We don’t have to be perfect, which is good, because none of us really is. We just work together to make the best community possible with the knowledge and abilities we have. This life is not for everyone, but it is most decidedly the way I want to live. No matter what need we have there is almost always someone who has a solution and is willing to help.
What I most appreciate is the sharing of tools and equipment. One lawn mower is shared among 26 households; shovels, hoes and rakes are kept in a central place for all to use. When things break all who use that item share in the expense of having it repaired or replaced.
Cohousing is a great model of life for all of us. The children learn about sharing because we share. They learn about living with a small footprint because we do. They learn to love the outdoors because we have the freedom to explore. They learn to communicate respectfully and clearly with others because, well, at least we TRY to! We cannot even imagine living anywhere else.
Julie and Nate
We moved to Cascadia 15 years ago. At the time I was a single mom with a 7 year old boy. Cascadia gave us lots of support for those initial difficult years of single parenting and adjusting to a new city, new job and new schools, without the friends we had relied on in San Francisco. My son had instant “siblings” and playmates in the community. I had neighbors who would help out, with watching him after school, picking him up from games when I couldn’t leave my intense job at OHSU. Neighbors taught him skills I couldn’t, like car repair, wood chopping and how to hang out like a guy leaning on a shovel in the work party. In the teenage years he was initially embarrassed by his weird community (bunch of pinko commies his friends jokingly called us). But soon his friends wanted to come here to sleep over in the common house, and hang in the recreation room. Now he is grown and on his own, I have new little ones to befriend and play with in the community. There have been hard times, when egos, our needs for control and to be heard clashed like poorly tuned instruments. Some people have left the community because the fit was poor and at times there is still strife, but we are a fairly well-tuned team now, having worked through many challenges (and decided not to work through others). It is hard sometimes when I’m frustrated with the direction we take on an issue, but then I think back to cooking a meal for everyone after the work party, and the pure pleasure serving food and eating together after working together.