Touring Communities

So I was given the advice to visit some communities, even if they’re not the type of communities I specifically want to live in, just to be in that space and feel what its like and learn more. So I took that advice.

Myself and a couple of friends toured Columbia Ecovillage in Portland at the beginning of January, there were aspects we liked and aspects we didn’t, but they said I could set up a time to come back and walk in the gardens and fields and I want to do so, so we’ll be back there, even though we aren’t open to living in Portland, just to learn and feel some more.

And on Feb. 4th we have a tour at Kailash Ecovillage, also in Portland (because that’s where most communities around here are at). Again not the community we seek, but my friend who wants to start a commune is kene on the rental model they use over there so it will be helpful for her, plus just being in another space will be good for us as we learn.

Have others in here visited lots of communities? What did you like about visiting? Even if it wasn’t quite what you sought, did it feel helpful to see what is working for others?

Hi Riona and Logan- Touring cohousing communities to find the one for you is a tried and true tradition. Raines Cohen in California hosts tours for groups and is a great resource (, each annual cohousing conference for US Cohousing Association includes tours of cohousing, and there are likely hundreds of you at any time who are in the process of touring or planning visits. So you are not alone. In some of the best communities, you will be lucky to find any home at all and should jump at the chance.

As I do the membership outreach work for my community, I find that there is a small percentage of those people who take longer than others and become a bit obsessed (not that this is you)l. They end up touring many many communities over many years with a pretty long check list-- I feel like they are looking for perfection and and at some point in my opinion they lose the forest for the trees. Just picking a community and moving within a year will get you where you need to be. You have to let the cohousing magic happen, and it wll not be what you want but something different and better. As for your social check list, you will not like everyone no matter where you live, but you can almost always find a good friend and many who care about you. As for your checklist about weather and taxes and healthcare, etc–sometime you have to let go and choose a community and make it work- much like extended family. Chuck Durrett’s matrix for successful communities is in my opinion better than a self made check list. But if this advice is not helpful, my apologies, and no worries, ----call up Raines Cohen or Cynthia Tina-- Cynthia is an intentional community matchmaker, and Raines has been doing just about everything in community for decades and is very wise. Tell them Pare sent you. Raines’ info. was above ,and here is Cynthia: ( —Or just join a forming group and help shape your own community rather than try to find one that matches your criteria, but you will have to compromise for community there as well but perhaps less so. I personally find teh sense of belonging and meaning to be even greater when you go through the very difficult process of creating a community together. Hope this helps.

So we toured Kailash Ecovillage a few weeks ago now, they really maximize their almost 2 acres of space, we saw some cool gardening techniques there. Again not somewhere we want to live, with its rental-only model, but still informative.

And a few days ago we visited Cascadia Commons, which is right on the line between Portland and Beaverton, and we feel it could potentially work for us. We liked the beautiful woods, though are sad no harvesting or foraging can occur in there due to conservation easement, but that could be okay for us. We are becoming more open to sharing a wall with other people, as long as its not our bedroom wall, and we liked the people there, they had gardening projects going, fruit trees, a workshop, a nice commonhouse, a bridge over a mini-creek, close to transit, etc. Maybe that’s where our future lives?