Vacancy Status: We are currently seeking
new housemates - and we encourage people to look into becoming
a long-term prospect.
Read about what we've been up to recently on our
blog. (Where you will fnd more photos!) And for more information
about us, see our
directory listing at the Fellowship for Intentional Communities.
Walnut St. Co-op is a social change oriented, eco-cooperative
household in Eugene, Oregon. In September 2000 the first of us
moved into a large, rambling house together, seeking to build
community. As housemates, that means cooking for each other and
eating dinner together, attending house meetings, doing house
projects and chores, and fulfilling a basic commitment to resolving
conflicts. Over time we're finding that our friendships are deepening,
that we share more parts of our lives and help each other out,
and that many shared projects emerge from our passions, conversations
and life together.
Our home is a century-old duplex in the "Craftsman" style.
When we moved in we knocked out the dividing wall to create one
big house--almost 4000 sq. ft of living space on a 10,000 sq.
ft. lot. In addition to nine bedrooms, there are two kitchens,
two living rooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and a sunny shared office space.
We even have two basements and two garages. In our common spaces
we keep musical instruments, games and videos, and meet there
with friends and groups. While the house was in decent condition
when we moved in, we engage in many maintenance and improvement
projects, from setting up clothes lines and cleaning storage areas
to installing art on walls, windows, and cabinet doors. We've
also replaced the roof with light-colored reflective shingles
and swtched from oil heating to heat pump heating and cooing.
We are blessed with great soil and excellent drainage in the
front yard, where we maintain an evolving and expanding vegetable,
herb and flower garden. Our lot also has several fruit trees,
including fig, pear, apple and cherry. We even grow our hops.
All these offer us generous harvests in the summer and fall. A
small community of chickens cooped in the back yard eat some of
our kitchen scraps and give us great eggs and entertainment in
exchange. Earthy bugs process the rest of our food scraps in two
big back yard compost bins.
We are located near the Willamette River in the historic
close to the University of Oregon
campus and Hendricks
Park, which features a rhododendron garden and acres of hilly
is a wonderful town for progressive-minded folks. At 161,000 people,
it's large enough to offer a wealth of alternative cultural, political
and social events, and small enough that you can get to most places
by bicycle within 20 minutes. In addition to the U of O with 24,000
Community College, which enrolls over 34,000 students, is
just a few miles away.
THE NITTY-GRITTY: MONEY, FOOD & CHORES
In fall 2003 we successfully purchased our house from the
previous owner (one of our departing co-op members). The house
title is now held by the Walnut Street Cooperative corporation.
As a co-op we were unable to obtain bank financing, so we started
loan fund, where about 20 friends and supporters lent us the
money to buy the property. Private and cooperative lenders allow
us to keep Walnut Street Co-op alive as long-term affordable housing
option in Eugene, as well as a focal point of community activism
Each member pays monthly fees that go toward loan repayment,
taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and other costs. We
are self-governing and self-managing, handling all aspects of
the house and community.
We eat together five nights a week. Our shared dinners are vegetarian
and nearly all the food we buy is organic and local. Everyone
chips in monthly to the food budget, and every year we join one
or two Community Supported Agriculture farms in season. Each person
cooks once a week, most in pairs. We also have a separate kitchen
for personal items and meat.
Chores are split up among everyone on a volunteer and as-needed
basis, and we share what we've done each week at our house meeting.
Good communication is important to us. As mentioned above,
we are committed to addressing conflicts directly when needed
and sometimes help by providing mediation or empathy for each
other. We also trust that each person is holding a piece of the
truth, and we're committed to deep listening with each other even
during hard conversations.
We currently have weekly house meetings to deal with both day-to-day
business and larger household issues. Regular attendance is expected,
and everyone takes turns planning agendas and facilitating. Household
decisions are made by consensus, meaning all present must agree
before action is taken. More than a method or a set of skills,
consensus relies on the faith that we can find solutions which
will meet everyone's needs. Our unique approach to consensus is
somewhat informal, and we sometimes think of it as "co-sensing"
our way through our life together.
WHO ARE WALNUT HOUSEMATES?
The population of Walnut Street Co-op has continually evolved
over the years, with an average of 2-3 new people each year. We've
had many students, including graduate students in Planning, Architecture,
Law, and Linguistics. We've had activists in forest defense, community
resilience, homelessness, social justice, climate change, and
the Occupy movement. We've had professionals in massage, organic
standards, facilitation, programming, teaching, music, art, accounting,
city government, nonprofit management, writing, indexing, construction
and more. We've even been housemates with a comedian and a juggler.
We've had tall and small, gay, bi, trans and poly housemates,
couples, families, and lots of pets.
Our longest-term housemate Tom
Atlee has been with the co-op for about 15 years. He's a writer
and social philosopher focused on ways society can make wiser
decisions and runs the non-profit Co-Intelligence
We are part of the wider intentional communities movement. As
such, we are members of the Fellowship
for Intentional Community.
JOINING WALNUT STREET CO-OP
Applying to live here involves taking some time, to figure
out if there's a good match between what we want and what you
are looking for. While we prefer folks who are interested in making
a long-term commitment, we are also open to people who might only
be around for 6 to 12 months, as long as you participate with
good energy while you're here. We want housemates who are enthusiastic
about creating community and willing to take on some responsibility
to make that happen. If you are interested in joining us, please
get in contact about next steps.
If you would like to join the co-op and find that no resident
spaces are available, please email
us a request to join our wait list. We'll let you know when a
resident space opens up.
SOME FORMER HOUSEMATES
- Andrew Heben is a planner and advocate of tent villages and
runs the Village
Collaborative. He has been an instrumental part of Opportunity
Village here in Eugene and just published his first book, Tent
- John Abbe promotes and practices Nonviolent Communication,
does software design on Wagn
and is has been active in Occupy and climate activism - all
as part of his interest in a broad culture shift.
- Tree Bressen
offers facilitation and workshops in consensus and other group
process skills, and lives less than a mile away. She led a team
(including Tom Atlee and John Abbe) that created the GroupWorks
pattern language card deck.
- Elliot Shuford helped start Healthy
Democracy, which operates a citizen initiative review process
(inspired by the Co-intelligence Institute, above) for the State
- David Franklin is a skilled classical guitarist,
as well as a life coach and consultant.
Linnaea is a writer, teacher, and graphic designer. He initially
designed and set up this website.
back to top