Founding, Joining, and Needs

I’ve been interested in community for a few years now, inspite of community houses/coliving arrangements not working for me. Back in spring I started dreaming of founding a community, where everyone had their own dwelling, a good mix of community life and a bit of privacy. So this winter I tried starting the founding process, quickly gathered six other people who wanted to move forward. There aren’t a lot of communities in the suburbs of my area, which is where my husband and I like being, so we thought that starting one could be the answer.

What we realized though is that we’re not founder material. Our enthusiasm isn’t the problem, I’ve done so much research and have lots of ideas, work well with others, etc. But what I ran into is that being someone with multiple disabilities was getting in my way (what else is new?). This isn’t the fault of the other cofounders in the group, they were great and super understanding and some of them have disabilities too. But everyone’s situation is unique, and mine gets in my way enough that the emotional stammina needed for founding won’t be there for me, even though my inner being is pumped and stoked and dialed in. But my inner being is trapped in my brain and body so it is limited. Plus my husband’s job is very socially demanding and he needs to just be able to come home some nights and not do any peopling for the rest of the night.

Our plan now, being older and wiser, so to speak, is to either join up with the community that I got the ball rolling on later when they have infastructure, or for us to eventually buy a home in the local resident owned community park, which is basically a type of cohousing or intentional community for modular homes. (I found out that the public transit goes there, which is huge for me, I was kind of afraid of committing to something where the bus doesn’t go since driving isn’t an option for me. I mean we were talking about creating some sort of shuttle system, but I don’t know how realistic that is since I’ve never seen a community do that in my research). Would the modular home community be the land-based community of my dreams? No, but its something and I know that intentional community is a need for me to eventually join and have in my life. Could we eventually join the community we hoped to help found? Maybe, we’ll see what direction the current cofounders (now down to four) will take things, I hope they succede, whether I end up joining later or not, they have some great ideas and they want to acquire land in springtime, so they’re on the fast track goals wise.

Why am I word-vommiting here about my recent experience? Because I guess I don’t want others to feel alone if this has happened to them, to let people know their needs are valid. To let people know that we won’t always succede as we hoped we would and that you have to listen to what you know is right for you. And to help myself feel more okay about these experiences myself. Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve hit these walls in my life, it has happened, and it will happen, many times. But I don’t like feeling alone in it and so I’m letting others know my experience so they don’t feel inadequate or alone the way I feel right now.

We still have our community goals and we are going to do whatever we can to meet this need for community, but we must do it in a way that works for us. Remember wants are negotiable, needs are not negotiable.


Hi Riona
Thank you for your post. I’m at a point where we are starting to think about realising plans for a community - but also becoming aware it may be different and much more modest than we’d originally thought. So I hear what you are saying about wants and needs, and for me this translates into not being overly attached to a pre-conceived vision (much as vision can be valuable) and rather to see what is really possible. Also that there may be real ways to live the core underlying values of our vision, that look different to what we’d originally thought.

could i know location & contact info for the “the local resident owned community park, which is basically a type of cohousing or intentional community for modular homes.” without outing your post for YOU? please be sure.
it sounds like something i mite like, but there are only certain parts of certain states i would be drawn to.
are there ways you can reply to me, and/or i write to you in private? if so, please tell me, i don’t know—my apologies.
maybe i could google what i’ve quoted here, i’ll try that. but would all so appreciate more from you and clues to which one you’re near. greatful ole marty and highest blessings to Riona

So its the Clackamas River Community Cooperative, in CLackamas OR. Currently they have 2 houses for sale, both are 3 bed 2 bath and both are bigger than what we seek. There’s also a 55+ resident owned mobile home park near by in Gladstone OR, which wouldn’t be applicable for us. There is a website that lists all ROCs in the US, I believe its So you can find something near you.

wonderful Riona. exactly what i need to know to soar onward! you just wisened an old man/elder (peripatetic) communitarian way way up! grateful ole marty

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We visited a cohousing community recently and we liked what we saw, we may choose to pursue that community and joining it. I’m sending them an email to let them know and see what would be the right way to get involved for now, as there aren’t any units available to buy and we’re just starting to prepare to buy, having never bought a home before.

Another option that came up is the idea of potentially homesteading with my in-laws, buying land to share in Yamhill Co. and having 2 seperate houses and doing homesteading farm things together. This would be a big maybe, can my MIL and I work together successfully like this? How to organize my life in a completely different way re. getting to town, transit, etc. But they have some decent dial-a-ride options county wide over there, so maybe homesteading could happen without community, do I want that? Etc. So my process continues with yet more options. We’re going to the first-time homebuyer appt. soon so we’ll see what will happen.

Hopefully these process writings aren’t driving everyone to distraction.

Thank you for sharing your experience and insights. It’s important to recognize and prioritize your own needs and limitations when pursuing community initiatives. Your journey highlights the importance of flexibility and adaptability in finding the right path to community living that works for you and your husband.

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Well here we are, I tried to kick my interest in community but it keeps sneaking back into my mind, renewed by season 2 of the Inside Community podcast as new episodes come out. Even though there are no current plans I want to just sit with the idea and let it perculate for us. One of the people we were looking at forming community with was able to connect with land for her and her family! 2 and a half acres about an hour northwest of Portland in a town, too far away for us to join her unfortunately. I encouraged her to potentially still look at creating community there for more than just her family if possible. The other folks we were working with are doing their best, they like us don’t have a lot of money, one got the RV she wanted and lives in a friend’s driveway, so maybe micro community? We’re still here in our small one bedroom apartment in West Linn OR without any immediate plans, but I believe that even if the timing isn’t right now, the timing and situation could be right later. So I’m quietly learning. We gave up on the mobile home cooperative park, because the houses there are way more expensive than most mobile homes, plus I had to face the reality that we can’t afford to buy anything really if we’re honest with ourselves, plus a huge credit hickup set us wayyyyyy back on goals.

I think this journey, like many others in life, can be nonlinear and so I’m not fully ready to give up yet.

We put ourselves on the interest list for a community which meets most things, and wwhich we feel we’d mostly fit into. Bad news, its in Portland, which we’re trying to avoid. Good news, its on the edge, in unincorporated Washington County (our goal is to not have to move back to Multnomah County which most of Portland OR is in). People there are nice, good age range, modified consensus, we’d be waiting for a unit to come available for rent, as we can’t afford to buy anything right now, and I’d be hesitant to buy something that touches walls with other units. I think if we can experience community then we can really learn whether its for us in the longrun, and we won’t ever know until we try. My husband is embarking upon a period of learning in order to change careers, so in the summer hopefully he’ll be working in his new field and thus we could afford to potentially live in this community! Our current lease ends in June, but we can go month to month for a while if we have to.

Additionally I’m also on the lookout for other viable options in case no units come up for rent anytime soon.

The journey continues.

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Grats! I’m pleased your plans are making progress. I’m also in the Portland area and have been looking into communities for the past few months. Hopeful I can find or create something :muscle:

Hi Lissa, feel encouraged to tell us all more about you. So that you know there’s a zoom call on Sun. Dec. 17th from the Northwest Intentional Communities Association, they do it once or twice a month, I’m hoping to zoom in for it this time.

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