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Wow! This dreamy Oregon community vision is grand and has many glossy pictures but is it feasible?

 
pollinator
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https://www.rogueriverecovillage.com/_files/ugd/a9eed1_ff3c52017254484ba6737be1393108c2.pdf
I skimmed through 53 pages of description and pictures. And there’s more!  It sounds like a permaculture fantasy? Disney world for permaculture. How much actually exists now? I’m still not sure. Someone has gone to a enormous effort writing and there’s a lot of information. We are looking for a place to retire and live. I personally have mixed feelings about such a development. It’s a huge amount of disturbance to the land to develop such a place. But permaculture is sometimes bold and includes a lot of disturbance. I’m suspecting the land is a former ranch as there are many ranchers dreaming of development and financial profit. It might not be the “wilderness” it suggests it is. Which in my mind is good because I do not promote developing what little “wilderness” remains but do not mind if it’s heavily impacted ranch lands. In the real world how much of such a dream like vision can come to fruition. Where do expectations meet reality where the rubber hits the road? Would you invest in such a scheme? Or is it prudent to go the more conventional and less ambitious route by buying a smallish plot and being more insular? I mean small homestead with a permaculture flair. Thanks
 
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I may have to go visit…. As I’m trying to figure out life. I personally believe working with others is best, having my own farm and the issues that arise from going it alone.  Was just searching Oregon for land to potentially sell, downsize (financially) with a possible move.
 
Jeremy Baker
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John Wibel wrote:I may have to go visit…. As I’m trying to figure out life. I personally believe working with others is best, having my own farm and the issues that arise from going it alone.  Was just searching Oregon for land to potentially sell, downsize (financially) with a possible move.


John:  If you find community or land of potential interest in Oregon or the PNW including N. California please post it here for fellow Permies to see? We are seeking the biggest plot of land we can afford and it occurred to me to split some land with other Permies. I’d prefer knowing my neighbor and knowing they have similar land ethics. Or if a Permie already has more land than they can afford perhaps they might split it?
I can relate to the challenges of going it alone on my first sizable permaculture project. I needed to step back and regroup. I’m open to sometimes trading labor helping a neighbor.
 
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i am so trying to be positive and not a naysayer on permies.. BUT...

i looked at the brochure...

it is a poster child for "scope and feature creep" and has already arrived at end-game..

they are going to have EVERYTHING.. i mean e v e r y t h i n g... it is exhausting just to read.

and another red flag is every possible buzzword of eco/sustainable/mindful/spiritual/etc.  you can think of..

this is a dream plan with no stone unturned.. you are not wrong... by the time all the goals and infrastructure are achieved - the place will not resemble the pics on the last page... even all the incoming traffic to support the activities will be a logistical challenge..

i am an IT professional... i see powerpoint decks like this a lot, page after page after page outlining the grand vision, diagrams, dataflows, technical specifications, governance principal, professional staffing requirements etc. sooooo much effort in practice.. and they falter in every case

i just looked at the link again.. page 39 has fighting knights and a mini-roman army.. the scope of the vision is endless.. it makes biosphere 2 look like lemonade stand..

plus if you show up early you will be worked to exhaustion with no end in sight... not maliciously but in the absence of any scope management.. and none of your effort will benefit you..
i would suggest a hard pass.. not on all communities... but on this one

i apologizes to anyone that thinks i am being negative - i just don't see this working and feel compelled to say so - i dislike false promises of this magnitude intensely for the havoc they can inflict in the well-intentioned participants

if you haven't already - check out this documentary on Black Bear ranch ... I found it to have a balanced view on challenges faced by communities and their eco-vision was WAY narrower.. they did, by many measures, succeed:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439511/


 
James MacKenzie
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Jeremy...

"We are seeking the biggest plot of land we can afford "

that isn't altogether necessary - make a list of features then see what you can find that meets it

5 acres (even 2!) with water, soil, solitude etc etc. is a better bet for putting down roots than 50 acres of... well, 50 acres.. unless you are intending to start a community of sorts yourselves

i sense you are a bit conflicted in your goal(s). there are pros and cons to joining up and going it alone - there are many threads on permies that can really help you with focusing your scope (i keep using that word ;-). you indicate you are nomadic - that is no doubt making this a daunting task.. you probably have  a lot of experience living in groups which is good for going that route. but maybe no so much with regard to land ownership.

i can't say more than that - i don't know what skill/resources you possess that are your own. these would factor heavily into  a DIY approach. as would temperament (individualistic vs communal).

i WILL double down on cautioning you against following along with someone else's' grandiose mega pipe dream.. "looks good on paper" .. permaculture is work no matter how you slice it... figure out what you can and cannot live with, can and cannot do, and go form there.

all the very best luck to you! peace!
 
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To my mind, this thread is not about the Rogue River Ecovillage per se. This thread is about imagining an ideal future: a fantasy that drives each of us into the unknown. The person who put together this brochure did us a favor by offering a bunch of mini utopias / hells that we can consider and chew on. Our dreams and nightmares spur us to action. Along the way, we inevitably meet disenchantment when the dream and reality don’t coincide. We find ourselves on a wild journey that is completely unexpected. We grope for some sort of middle way and in the rear view mirror, see ourselves cobbling together a life. At least that is my story.
Though this is not about permaculture, the documentary Some Kind of Heaven is a fantastic example of falling for a dream and realizing that “Heaven” is elusive.
 
Jeremy Baker
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James MacKenzie wrote:Jeremy...

"We are seeking the biggest plot of land we can afford "

that isn't altogether necessary - make a list of features then see what you can find that meets it

5 acres (even 2!) with water, soil, solitude etc etc. is a better bet for putting down roots than 50 acres of... well, 50 acres.. unless you are intending to start a community of sorts yourselves

i sense you are a bit conflicted in your goal(s). there are pros and cons to joining up and going it alone - there are many threads on permies that can really help you with focusing your scope (i keep using that word ;-). you indicate you are nomadic - that is no doubt making this a daunting task.. you probably have  a lot of experience living in groups which is good for going that route. but maybe no so much with regard to land ownership.

i can't say more than that - i don't know what skill/resources you possess that are your own. these would factor heavily into  a DIY approach. as would temperament (individualistic vs communal).

i WILL double down on cautioning you against following along with someone else's' grandiose mega pipe dream.. "looks good on paper" .. permaculture is work no matter how you slice it... figure out what you can and cannot live with, can and cannot do, and go form there.

all the very best luck to you! peace!



James:
Thank you for your candid and forthright appraisal. I dont see your comments as negative. I know someone with 10 acres at there end of the road and adjacent to public land. It worked great for him and inspired me. I could do 5 acres or even less but I know myself. I love being near public land. So I’m leaning towards a straightforward purchase of land. A more conventional land contract. Maybe from a for-sale-by-owner website. I’m a bit scared of the legalities for buying land without a real estate agent. Thanks for the insight. I’m all ears if folks have ideas and suggestions.
 
 
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Oregon has some land use hurdles that would have to be jumped over to develop an "Eco Resort" . Has this been presented to Jackson County? 450 permanent homes and 150 rental units is not a small footprint.  Even if the dream is off grid, the infrastructure is still enormous for a development of that size.  Sounds wonderful but will it be feasible?
 
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Howdy,

I have been here, where I live, 45+yrs. and off the grid for as many. My growing food for myself is limited. I have 40 mtn acres and only 4-5 on a ridge is semi-level. I have many BIG trees to cut down to make more grow space, sun lite, or for more solar openings, not willing to do it. I have permitted use of year round creek for micro hydro-electric and domestic drinking water/garden.  I WOULD NOT like to see this type of industrial industry in my neighborhood. I can only envision the TRASH(so much plastic) that to many humans take/leave where ever they/we go.  I don't see where this fits in Jackson County or anywhere
 
Jeremy Baker
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Thanks for the input and perspectives on a contentious subject. I agree the thread is about the utopian dream. What is that to you? What is the new dream now the virus, global warming, inflation, “plastic”, and influx of people, etc are in effect? And the grid reaches its tentacles further into the countryside! I’ll respond more soon. We are tired and want to go to bed. But the question that pops to mind right now is: are there any simple cohousing communities that have lots of land. Most are near or in towns with very little land. Should I be looking at community land trusts instead? I’ve visited a couple cohousing near towns.  I like the cohousing concept (but want rural) of sharing land and building with sustainability in mind. And we have begun reading the descriptions in the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC) website again since it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. We want a simple cohousing that shares a microhydro and solar and lots of land. We don’t need it to be permadisneyland. This might be disturbing to people who dont want it’s their backyard. But is it inevitable the Interstate 5 corridor will get developed? Perhaps the Rogue River Ecovillage might be more desirable than strip malls and single family dwellings on 1/4 acre lots?! I’m neither for it or against it. If someone has the ability to pull off even half what is written I’d not stand against it. Thanks and goodnight. Will check the thread in the morning.
 
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I suspect that whoever dreamed this up didn't think much (or any) about some of the things in the brochure. One that popped out at me was the plan to divert some of the Rogue River to flow down a race and run a hydroelectric generation rig.

!!!

Good luck getting that one through planning and permitting. Oregon riparian law is often cited for its toughness and lack of wiggle room for diversions and alterations to any natural watercourse.

It looks like someone got a group of ambitious and optimistic folks to spend a day brainstorming all the cool stuff they would like to do if they had some land to play with.
 
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Oh good grief. I got 20 pages into the brochure and am ready to puke.  The table of contents hit me first with pool, jaccuzi, spa.  How does that fit into off grid permaculture? They even have horse therapy!!  I mean run as fast as you can away from this 'concept' of take your money and leave you high and dry.  
 
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According to the related website, the project is backed by some very powerful investors. On the "investor" page, your eye is immediately grabbed by a list of 10 of the most wealthy people in the world -- Musk! Bezos! Gates! etc.

Oh wait... the top of the list says "people we're trying to reach".
 
Jeremy Baker
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Thanks for input folks. Might you agree the general consensus so far is healthy skepticism? With some outright indignation? Ive been thinking a lot about what kind of world would we agree to live in? But there’s more mundane issues I’m wanting my lawyer to look at:
 When I began reading the directory of the Foundation for Intentional Community (where I found the listing for Rogue River Ecovillage) I was hoping to find communities with very well thought out and established legal structure so every investor is clear where they stand and what their obligations are. Ive seen no mention of the legal structure or links to the legal structure so far for the proposed Rogue River Exovillage but have not looked at all the links. My hope is community land trusts and cohousing communities have this available to prospective investors. If not it’s a major red flag for me. The legal foundation might be missing.  
    There’s several reasons I’d never join a “hippie commune”. A main one is no legal foundation. Not long term foundation anyway. Maybe for a brief time I’d visit for the experience haha. Lack of a solid foundation is why hippie communes evaporate. No solid foundation leads to “tragedy of the commons” and lack of the sense of ownership. No long-term feasibility.
   For now I’m withholding judgement on the vision, “scope”, and mission of the Rogue River Ecovillage. And it’s negative or positive impacts. I’m wanting to email a few cohousing communities and community land trusts to ask what I legal structure they have. I know, it’s boring! But I got ripped off on a land partnership before and not going there again! I read years ago community land trusts or cohousings are often are a LLC or Non-profit corporation and get a grant for the legal work.
  A friend who lives at OPAL (Orcas People and Land, a community land trust) said the legal work cost $50,000 but was paid for by a grant. One of the stipulations of the grant was this legal foundation was to be made available to any other groups that might need it. So folks, there might be $50,000 worth of legal bylaws out there up for grabs. This is all part of the social permaculture aspect of permaculture. Some folks go to college for 6 years to learn how this stuff works in the realm of non profits and social engineering. .
 
John Wibel
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Robert Ray wrote:Oregon has some land use hurdles that would have to be jumped over to develop an "Eco Resort" . Has this been presented to Jackson County? 450 permanent homes and 150 rental units is not a small footprint.  Even if the dream is off grid, the infrastructure is still enormous for a development of that size.  Sounds wonderful but will it be feasible?



I doubt that it is feasible
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:

John Wibel wrote:I may have to go visit…. As I’m trying to figure out life. I personally believe working with others is best, having my own farm and the issues that arise from going it alone.  Was just searching Oregon for land to potentially sell, downsize (financially) with a possible move.


John:  If you find community or land of potential interest in Oregon or the PNW including N. California please post it here for fellow Permies to see? We are seeking the biggest plot of land we can afford and it occurred to me to split some land with other Permies. I’d prefer knowing my neighbor and knowing they have similar land ethics. Or if a Permie already has more land than they can afford perhaps they might split it?
I can relate to the challenges of going it alone on my first sizable permaculture project. I needed to step back and regroup. I’m open to sometimes trading labor helping a neighbor.



The thought of starting everything over is daunting…. But I just took a vacation and I’m so burnt out, I’d like a better climate, somewhat.  However I have near unlimited water, a facility (that yes might push some permits buttons) to milk cows and make cheese, a thought on how to expand housing (kind of a connected earth ship (with two bedroom condos - hope to build the first one next year if I can find like minds that have some capital to buy part of my land LLC) and if enough people were found for this location buy a small adjoining property to allow more structures as my property is limited because of a conservation easement,  

But in essence I hoped to allow others to share my 250 acres outside of Steamboat Springs…. But I’m nearing the point of joining others elsewhere. So I’d be open to looking, and was before coming here, in the Oregon area.
 
Jeremy Baker
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John Wibel wrote:

Jeremy Baker wrote:

John Wibel wrote:I may have to go visit…. As I’m trying to figure out life. I personally believe working with others is best, having my own farm and the issues that arise from going it alone.  Was just searching Oregon for land to potentially sell, downsize (financially) with a possible move.


John:  If you find community or land of potential interest in Oregon or the PNW including N. California please post it here for fellow Permies to see? We are seeking the biggest plot of land we can afford and it occurred to me to split some land with other Permies. I’d prefer knowing my neighbor and knowing they have similar land ethics. Or if a Permie already has more land than they can afford perhaps they might split it?
I can relate to the challenges of going it alone on my first sizable permaculture project. I needed to step back and regroup. I’m open to sometimes trading labor helping a neighbor.



The thought of starting everything over is daunting…. But I just took a vacation and I’m so burnt out, I’d like a better climate, somewhat.  However I have near unlimited water, a facility (that yes might push some permits buttons) to milk cows and make cheese, a thought on how to expand housing (kind of a connected earth ship (with two bedroom condos - hope to build the first one next year if I can find like minds that have some capital to buy part of my land LLC) and if enough people were found for this location buy a small adjoining property to allow more structures as my property is limited because of a conservation easement,  

But in essence I hoped to allow others to share my 250 acres outside of Steamboat Springs…. But I’m nearing the point of joining others elsewhere. So I’d be open to looking, and was before coming here, in the Oregon area.



John. Sounds interesting. I’m sending a purple message.
 
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It's my understanding that Cob Cottage Company http://www.cobcottage.com/ ( in coastal Oregon) is looking for someone to purchase (or help fund via the GoFundMe) the land they lease which is like 30 out of 400+ acres, I think in a land trust. I have no idea what the lease costs them, but I can imagine one or more people coming together to purchase the land, which the GoFundMe looks like they are trying to raise money to purchase the property for $250k: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-cob-cottage-company It sounds like they may have a deadline to reach in the next month or so.

Having been there that price is a steal per acre but my understanding from years ago was that the purchaser put it into a conservation trust, so developers can't do anything with it, thus the lower price. There is a conventional house up there, and then the corner that Cob Cottage is on has a bunch of cob buildings and the big garden with year-round gravity fed water. It has a community kitchen/dining room, outdoor shower and composting toilet systems, and a bunch of buildings that people could live in if there were a group rather than a solo person or couple.

The big brochure in the original post is definitely a promo looking for funding where the sky is the limit and the goal seems to be more of a resort/showcase to bring in tourism money, rather than a functional, living community. I can see it as a possible checklist though, where people could read through and see if it comes up with any ideas that I had not considered, if I was making a list.
 
Jeremy Baker
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Linda was very generous to give us a tour of the Cob Cottage Company site last August even though they were mostly shut down due to Covid. It’s a special place and shows the dedication and devotion. We made a donation for the tour. We are looking for land similar to that special place nested deep in the forest. So peaceful and secluded.
 
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I also looked at their site and considered a visit just to determine how much, if anything, has been done yet.

It sounds less like a community to me, and more like an HOA + BOA. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with them, but I am personally wary of HOAs. There are a lot of property investors in the rural West who create HOA subdivisions of undeveloped land for various unscrupulous schemes. That might not be the case here, but it is good to keep in mind if you are considering buying out here.
 
Jeremy Baker
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Alicia Smith wrote:I also looked at their site and considered a visit just to determine how much, if anything, has been done yet.

It sounds less like a community to me, and more like an HOA + BOA. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with them, but I am personally wary of HOAs. There are a lot of property investors in the rural West who create HOA subdivisions of undeveloped land for various unscrupulous schemes. That might not be the case here, but it is good to keep in mind if you are considering buying out here.


 Thanks for the cautionary warning. I turned my attention to Washington. I’m wondering if Evergreen Communtiy Land trust is open to new communities so sent them an email. They dont have any in central Washington and I’m sure there’s a need.  It Oregon is not totally out of the picture.
 
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