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.
Sonja: Relationships in Community
My own decision to live in community grew out of a desire to experience relationships that were based on more than a pleasant present. I was tired of friendships that coalesced around shared interests and outlooks but that didn’t seem to survive conflict very well. I wondered what it would be like to have relationships that included a stronger expectation of a shared future.
I have many such relationships now. I don’t have as much in common with the people I live with as I had with the people I used to choose as friends, but my cohousing friendships are among the most sustaining I have ever had. I also don’t have as much time for the friendships that began before I moved here. In a few cases, this has been difficult. The friendships that have weathered the transition are very important to me. I need to get away from Cascadia sometimes.
Living in community can be a little like living in a rock tumbler. We all have rough edges that could use smoothing. Do you want to find out about some you didn’t know you had? Are you prepared to deal with other people’s rough edges? It helps to be able to experience misunderstandings and disagreements as opportunities to grow.
I like to think I am pretty good at this, but accepting that other people are usually not willing to work things out with me according to the schedule I had in mind, has been a challenge. I’m learning to appreciate that true healing takes time, and that there are some people it isn’t realistic for me to try and be close to. My boundaries are a lot better than they used to be. The world feels safer all the time!
My enthusiasm for community living was awakened during my stay at the famous Findhorn commune in Scotland. I grew up in The Netherlands and thus feel quite comfortable in a tightly built area. I have learned to live peacefully with my neighbors and share resources. Thus it was a natural fit for me to move into cohousing when the (financial and space) timing was right. I last lived in Sherwood, a nearby town, where my younger son went to High School. When he was ready for College, we moved to Portland. As I realized that both my sons would soon move out of the house, and my own family still lives in the Netherlands, so was an excellent time to move into cohousing. In Cascadia Commons, we found the ideal location, good access to public transportation, a lovely home and safe space for our two cats.
I work as home health physical therapist and I am also a graduate of the PSU Conflict Resolution program. My oldest son is now a Marine Staff Sergeant, father of two lovely children, and my younger son is studying Psychology and Public administration in Leiden, the Netherlands. My passions in Cascadia are gardening and socializing. I enjoy the common activities, such as meals and gatherings of various types and I attended this year's National cohousing Conference in Boulder. I love the greenery here and the wildlife, right in the city! My neighbors are my best friends and family!
Minnette: Adjusting to Life in Community
I’ve been living in Cascadia Commons since July 2001. Before I found Cascadia I had been exploring the idea of intentional communities for many years and even tried to create some semblance of one in the neighborhood where I lived in Austin TX.
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
Silas and Rhonda
Silas and I moved into Cascadia when our two sons were 5 and 9. I remember the big knot in my stomach as we drove up with our moving truck. Were we doing the right thing? Was it going to work out? Would the community embrace our very active young lads, one of whom has high functioning autism?
Three years and who knows how many community events later, we have only positive things to say about parenting in cohousing. My children can run out the front door, and I don't have to worry about where they're going. Our boys have benefited from a wealth of friendly adult role models who have sparked their interest in bird watching, grafting fruit trees, gardening, sewing, playing board games, and various other things. And the friendly adult role models have forgiven the boys for such things as eating dessert first, being too loud, and landing a few frisbees in their gardens. The boys have safe and fun outdoor space to play in, people to play with, and other people's pets to enjoy (I like that one!).
We feel that living in community is great for our kids, and for us, and are very thankful for our experiences here!
Hi! My name is Suniti. I'm originally from Nashville, Tennessee. I have always wanted to live in cohousing and think Cascadia is great. I am learning how to garden and it's been great to get the advice of everyone here. I'm also working towards using my bicycle as my primary mode of transport. Having other eco-conscious folks around has been wonderful for my committment to making this change in my life. I love to be outside, play with kids, cook, and read.