Before I left Lost Valley at the end of the month, I planned a few excursions in the area and around Portland, Oregon.
There was a SquareOne Village tiny house community, Emerald Village Eugene, grand opening for the public in Eugene, and I was really looking forward to seeing it! Most of the houses onsite were finished in terms of their exteriors, and several already had residents living in them. It was great to see a city supported, experimental community for the chronically homeless. The model they operated on was that after a rigorous interview process for residency, community members were given a fully furnished space and were required to pay a percentage of their personal income to cover costs. Many of the current residents relied on bicycles and public transportation for travel to their jobs, and some of them were married and dual incomes that helped them financially afford to get back on their feet.
With the end of the Holistic Sustainability Semester program, many of the students left and went on their own separate journeys, and a handful of us stayed. I made the decision to stay and pursue residency to see community from a different perspective while serving as the marketing manager/outreach coordinator, and for the opportunity to practice permaculture and community building.
Saying goodbye to the other students wasn’t easy, as most of us became good friends having bonded through the program and extra-curricular adventures. And as they left, the community decreased in size and some of the energy left with them too. But that didn’t stop me from going head-first into this new chapter of life!
HSS Week 12
The weekend before our final week, Bri and I went over the Bethany’s to make final touches to our PDC project design and PowerPoint presentation. I was very proud of our design, and really appreciated Bethany’s proactiveness and follow-through, because those weren’t common characteristics of the people living in the community.
HSS Week 11
As the final weeks of the program were before us, Sara Siegler (Lost Valley’s Executive Director) and Colin Doyle, approached me to see if I was interested in working as the part-time Communications Manager for Lost Valley Education and Event Center. I accepted the position knowing I could put my marketing skillset to use and help Lost Valley move forward with their marketing and outreach. I was even given my own office space that I overhauled and organized for myself, and anyone else who needed public space to work.
HSS Week 10
That weekend before classes started, Rich – the friendly neighborhood vagabond – returned to Lost Valley, and we got the dragon pizza oven fired up! Rich has a long history with cob fire pizza ovens, which started at his grandpa’s and was also how he wound up staying at Lost Valley and became an approved seasonal traveler.
Pizza days at Lost Valley generally attracted a large crowd, and this weekend was no different. We had residents making fresh dough, cutting up ingredients and toppings, and others just hanging out around the cob booth area while Rich tended the pizza oven.
HSS Week 9
Our guest instructor for Monday’s classes was Laird Schaub, who has spent over 40 years living in various communities – primarily at Sandhill Farm with his former partner, and then Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Laird is a shrewd man, and has been a community networker and group process (facilitation) consultant for over 25 years, so he had a wealth of contextual knowledge.