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This event took place on March 2, 2015 at Impact Hub Oakland, hosted by the Sustainable Economies Law Center

Dignity Village - Portland

Opportunity Village - Eugene

  • Opportunity Village in Eugene - about a year and a half old
    • Houses 42 people, about 30 houses, 8x8 or 8x10 and small huts
    • Andrew Heben
    • 1 acre plot in an industrial part of town, donated by the city as a pilot project
    • Scary town meetings when attempt was made in more public parts of town
    • Shared toilets and showers, sign up for a shower
    • Kitchen trailer, front desk, community yurt
    • Village council makes decisions
    • City planner wrote a biz plan, then they built a structure and travelled around getting local stakeholders and the city interested
    • No existing zoning for the units - often considered trailers. No real precedent, city tends to approve
    • Playing the game, of 'transitional housing' toward transitioning back into society

O.M. Village - Madison

  • O.M. Village in Madison
    • Well-insulated, have heaters in each residence
    • Currently 3 structures, 9 planned
    • 1/3 of an acre, purchased for ~150K
    • Build out of the old gas station garage
    • Want to train people to build them
    • Residents also help build, sweat equity involved
    • Build and sell furniture made from recycled pallets
    • One of the activist-organizers a former city councilwoman
    • Movement toward zoning/coding regulations for tiny homes
    • Brenda Konkel
    • Also on the outskirts of town


  • Trying to start one in Santa Cruz
  • Some more in Seattle, Fresno, Ventura, Chico
  • Right to Dream 2 - tent city in downtown Portland - supported by a private individual
    • 15 people living there, ~70 folks who can come in to sleep for the night
    • Portapotties for the public
    • Large tents - mens and womens - and residents tents in back
    • Part of the deal for living there is 20hrs/wk of shifts and some involvement in activism
    • Food Not Bombs makes food in the communal kitchen once a week, otherwise donations
  • Group creating a tiny house development - one structure has all the things. But camps/RV parks etc have lots of restrictions
    • Postworks in West Oakland
  • No stated minimum dwelling size in original International Building Code; worked out ~220 sq feet. Removed req. for a 10x12 room in the IBC on Jan. 1,

so now is 126 sqft

  • Costs: Opportunity Village - $100K + donated land for 1yr + materials
  • Community Land Trust - you own improvements to the land, but not the land
  • Governance - committees to decide admission; Village Council elected by the residents


  • Where to house released prisoners?
  • How do we hack the city?
  • Partner with Habitat for Humanity & Timebank
  • What counts as an official 'dwelling'?
    • No plumbing and heat
    • Dwelling includes food prep *and* bathing

Other projects mentioned:

1930s - housing villages supported by the federal govt, created as cooperative worker housing. Part of the public housing policy in the US until 1981

Works Cited

Meetup tomorrow!

  • Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage @ East Bay Media Center, details @ EBCOHO website