Growing up in a family of 6 kids in the warm southeast corner of Washington state was filled with swimming, water-skiing, scouting and all manner of outdoor play. Then off I went to Seattle for a degree in physical therapy, and work that followed, until 1979 when I bicycled across the United States ending up in Maine, where I lived for the next 28 years. Seven years ago, following the lead of my then 16-year-old son Toby who had fallen in love with the Northwest during family visits, we moved to Eugene, Oregon. Toby now lives 3 hours away in Bend, Oregon pursuing a career in environmental resource management and immersing himself in white-water rafting, back-country skiing,& bicycling while also building a tiny house. These days we meet at the summit of the Cascade Mountains to hike or backpack together. Such fun!
I have retired from my career as a pediatric physical therapist. These days my time is filled with “peace and justice“ activities and periodic travels. It has been a wonderful experience to travel and volunteer in Latin America – Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala and this coming winter (2018) in Nicaragua.
Eugene offers endless opportunities for the things that “fill my cup” – hiking ,biking, gardening and arts. Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk is a person who inspires me deeply. The Education of Little Tree, is a book that makes me both laugh and cry every time I read it.
Will, Lynn, Ben and Miles
Our family is most often a household of four, though one or two more sometimes flow through, as we support them moving into adulthood. Our four include Will, Lynn (me), and our sons, Ben and Miles. Other consistent members are the dogs, Guinness and Sissy; the cats, Mocha and Pabana; and the three hens.
I did most of my growing up in a tight-knit, rural community, where neighbors knew each other well and worked together in many ways for the benefit of the greater community, regardless of their opinions or backgrounds – working on road maintenance, supporting the community school and volunteer fire department, and helping each other with transportation and family care. For me, cohousing offers the benefits of that rural lifestyle in an urban or suburban setting.
I teach second grade at a small independent school. I absolutely love teaching, but it does take quite a bit of time away from family. I look forward to living in cohousing where we can support one another in order to create space and time for more connection – as a larger, inter-generational community working and playing together; and as a family unit since not having to prepare meals every night, or be responsible for property maintenance on our own, frees up a little more time to be together.
Will is an architect, and a builder whenever possible. He looks forward to having company playing music in the common house, as well as the possibility of a shared shop for woodworking and other projects. He believes that cohousing makes sense in the current climate for a practical way to house ourselves and to build community. It has been exciting for him to be a part of SquareOne Villages, Emerald Village Eugene, which is designing and building homes for people coming out of homelessness and into home-ownership. The SquareOne model is very similar to cohousing, in that connection is intentionally built in by design, both socially and architecturally.
Ben spends most of his time with working, hanging out, or away with friends, contemplating as many young adults do, life after high school. He enjoys games that involve strategic planning, and has a great sense of humor. Miles is juggling high school with his entrepreneurial endeavors that include buying and selling things on eBay, and starting a business related to social media for restaurants. He looks forward to living in cohousing before moving out into the world, and coming back to visit, as part of the community. We all look forward to having our home on this special piece of property, a block from where we have lived since Miles was born.
Frannie and Phoebe
We are a family of two: my 4-year-old daughter Phoebe and I (oh yes, and then there is our dog, Maddie). I returned to Eugene in ’08 to raise Phoebe, after many years away. I grew up in Eugene and have fond memories of biking all over town on the first bike paths and bridges and of helping sell my father’s wooden wares at the first Saturday Market and Country Fair. I left Eugene for college out of state and after many adventures on both coasts, I have now settled back in Oregon as a nurse and single parent.
We love living in Eugene for its many bicycling and other outdoor activities. We love music, gardening, dancing, and singing. My college experience at Evergreen in Olympia, WA, gave me my first taste of group living as well as many opportunities for working in groups of all sizes on any number of projects. Moving east in the early 80’s, I picked apples in Vermont and again lived somewhat communally with fellow pickers, and then began my stint working at summer camps and environmental centers around New England and in North Carolina. All these experiences gave me the opportunity to live, work, cook, and play with wonderful people. I find that though I love having my own home now, I miss that shared living experience, especially now that Phoebe is in my life, and I see how we both benefit from being around a varied group of people. The prospect of a co-housing community is exciting to me as it combines this private and shared living experience beautifully.
I grew up the oldest of three kids in the Midwest (Illinois). My family moved to Eastern Pennsylvania when I was 15 and, since then, I’ve had the good fortune to live in and experience just about every corner of the country. I returned to Illinois for college and here I got married, had a daughter and eventually/thankfully an amicable divorce. My daughter, Bridget, and I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I completed my degree and lived for the next twenty years. I must say, I still miss the most incredible sunrises/sunsets I have ever seen. Not the 114 degree summers, though! Four years ago, my path brought me back to Eugene (for good!), as I truly love it here. To add to my happiness at being here, my daughter and my 4-year-old grandson, Lucian, have moved to Eugene as well. I recently retired from my career in social services, mostly in administration, and am enjoying being a retired person. I’ve worked in corrections, Medicaid and other health care programs, behavioral health, in child welfare and with seniors and the disabled. My favorite jobs have been those where I’ve been involved in creating new programs, and I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in several start-ups during my career. I’m hoping that this experience will be helpful in getting River Song off the ground! My interests include Buddhist studies and practice, the arts, the outdoors and spending time with my many wonderful friends. With my new retired life, I’m also finding time for tai chi, NIA (dance exercise) and learning to play the ukulele.
Greg, Hollie, Miles, Beth, and Uncle Jason are all very excited to join River Song!
Hollie grew up in the Portland area, and Greg in the Seattle area, and since getting together they’ve lived back and forth between the two over the last twenty-five years, including a few lovely years in cohousing! Jason moved to the Pacific Northwest after growing up in Illinois.
Hollie’s love for people and community is the real motivating force that brings us all to cohousing again. She loves the idea of getting away from the big city and being in a place with trees and rivers again, and having a community around her to share that joy with. She collects and plays ukuleles, sews, and is learning how to do urban sketching and watercolors.
Jason tai chis and chai teas and spends all this time on actual plants and things instead of just being on the computer like a normal person. He looks forward to living in cohousing and in Eugene – which has far more delicious gluten-free food than Seattle!
Greg is a programmer and gamer, whose work and hobbies are both generally spent behind a keyboard. He’s generally introverted and quiet, but enjoys the feeling of knowing and being connected to the people around him. Having that steady background presence and providing the same for others is what he most look forwards to in living in cohousing again.
Our teens Miles and Liz have grown up in Seattle, and while they’ll miss some friends, are looking forward to a new adventure in a new city and are willing to give this whole cohousing thing a try. Miles wavers between planning either his future as a film director or as a game designer, and spends most of his free time online with his friends. Liz is an artist and musician, and wants to study audiology.
I try to remember the intention I set as I retired from active ministry: “I will practice gratitude, creativity, and cultivate kindness toward the earth, others and myself. I will continue to trust the Holy One, as She guides and invites me to deeper living, and teaches me where sin calls for transformation in my daily dealings with others and myself. If I can live in this way, I will be blessed.”
I grew up the eldest of four children, on just outside of Pendleton, Indiana. We had 2 acres of sweet corn that funded my years at Ball State University, so it is impossible for me not to plant things wherever I live. My career and identity are as Ordained Clergy in the United Methodist Church. I moved west to be where women clergy were welcomed (at least officially) in 1978. The Bishop appointed me as a pastor in mostly rural Oregon communities from 1978-1996. My ministry shifted then toward Chaplaincy, so I moved to the hospital in Kalispell, MT for eight years. Homesick for Oregon, I returned to Newport, as a Hospice and Hospital Chaplain until I retired in 2015.
Since retiring, I did more kayaking, gardening, photography and watercolor sketching. I traveled to Nicaragua, Baja with the OSU Marine Mammal Institute, and a two-week Spanish immersion in Mexico.
I decided to travel the USA in my Road-Trek “River” in the spring of 2017, just as my youngest brother was struggling with ALS in Indiana. River and I have seen over 16,000 miles, from Oregon to Utah to Oklahoma to Indiana; Oregon to Glacier and Yellowstone NP and Highway 20 to Chicago; Michigan to Maine, North Carolina to Florida then across to Los Angeles and finally back to Oregon. I volunteer at United Methodist sites; mostly I simply soak up new places, take photos and post on FB. It is good to be home in Oregon.
The words of Sebastian Junger, in his book Tribes: On Homecoming and Belonging help me understand who I am as a wondering Clergywoman, who now is able to choose a home and settle. He says your TRIBE is the people you take responsibility for, the people you help feed and help protect, the people you make significant sacrifices for. I think of several “tribes” I belong to. The UMC is a tribe. My siblings in Indiana are part of my tribe of origin. My return to Indiana was not to “feed and defend” against my brother’s diagnosis of ALS, but rather it was a season of being present and contributing to my tribe, because I had the life skills and the time to be present with them. My Facebook Tribe are followers who respond to glimpses of beauty, surprise and wonder from my wanderings. Occasionally, I blog at brenbits.blog.wordpress.
I am a believer in listening to my internal wisdom and noticing, with gratitude. Constantly on my travels, but also daily in my chaplain work, I am astounded by the gift of being in the right place at just the right time, with the right people. I want my living to care for the earth, yet I also know I value my own messy space for self-care. I bring to our community, a be-prepared motto and my willingness to learn. I look forward to deepening friendships and sharing meals, garden and home maintenance with others as I learn to be present in gratitude with River Song Cohousing.
Chuck and Lorraine
Married in Sacramento, Calif, in 1982, Chuck and Lorraine called the San Francisco Bay Area home for seven years before relocating to Southwest Arizona, where they lived for 30 years. Though they had never previously lived in the desert, they relocated for Chuck’s job – civilian Public Affairs Officer at a large military installation.
With summer temperatures frequently rising to the simmering 115 – 120-degree range, both consider it time for a move. Having discovered the unique charms of Eugene many years ago, River Song Cohousing presented an opportunity they latched onto.
Both are avid travelers, having crossed Canada by rail, sailed to Alaska and the New England coast by cruise ship, and journeyed throughout the United States, which they find endlessly fascinating. Chuck is a history buff, so many of the trips have included visits to historic sites.
Lorraine spent most of her work life in the credit union field, most recently working as a part-time bookkeeper at her church. Chuck is a retired 27-year Coast Guard veteran and worked for the Department of the Army as a civilian Public Affairs Specialist between 1984 and 2018. He taught political science at Arizona Western College for 25 years on evenings and weekends and wrote a book published in 2013 about the early World War II campaign on Bataan and Corregidor that led to the largest surrender of American military forces in history. That book is titled “Decision on Corregidor.”
Lorraine keeps busy today with a variety of interests. These include yoga, physical fitness, meditation, metaphysics, reading, and represents Doterra Essential Oils part-time. Chuck is an avid writer, photographer, and amateur historian. They both are general lovers of the outdoors.
Raised on the California coast in the 60’s and the 70’s, I had the amazing good luck to be a part of a socialist youth movement. We learned and taught each other about the importance of building community, working together for the common good, and singing and dancing too. We connected with nature, and were aware of our connection to right injustice worldwide. Those were heady times, when we believed we could change the world.
I graduated from UCSC, with a degree in “Creative and Expressive Modes Of Therapy”. Over the years, I worked with various forms of using Art Therapy, first in Santa Cruz and then Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, and Eugene; teaching at University, working with children and adults, leading workshops. Today, I still lead workshops in a practice called SoulCollage r, and do business coaching in Eugene and worldwide.
I lived abroad throughout the 80’s, including 7 years as a member of Kibbutz Gezer in Israel, where my friends and I moved together to create a community committed to progressive values. It was hard work, physically and socially, and I loved it. It was a wonderful place to start a family, and experiment with high ideals.
I settled in Eugene in 1990, where my then partner and I raised our two sons, Jo Jo and Jesse, and our organic vegetarian business Holy Cow for the next 25 years. The “natural foods community”, as we were called then, was a wonderful community of idealistic, food and environmental activists. “Radicals” who made it possible for us to enjoy amazingly bountiful access to clean, local food, grown without poisons today. I am happy to have contributed to the conversation and raise awareness of the environmental impact of one’s food choices that is an important value of Eugene today, and a key to the future.
These chapters having reached maturity, I’m now ready to launch my next project. And return to the answer for our times. Creating Community. So, I am excited to discover that River Song Cohousing is ready when I am, and this adventure is to be my next co-creation. My third act. Co-Creating a community of sharing, caring, and daring to do it differently. Oh yea, and I’ll also still be singing & dancing, and traipsing around the globe.