FAQ's

Seeking wisdom through sharing...

Frequently asked questions about cohousing and our community in general are posted here with the corresponding answers. If you'd like more information feel free to contact us or even come to one of our social events

Check out What is Cohousing for general information about cohousing.
 


Community

 

What activities does the community share together?
The flippant answer would be . . . whatever we choose.  And this is indeed true. We have been sharing our lives together for several years. So far, many of life's ups and downs, marriage, babies, split ups, medical challenges, food (lots of food), games, movies, road trips, and more. Living in the same location makes it so much easier now.

Other than sharing meals, the community has not established formal plans for other activities.  We expect many informal and formal activities will evolve as we focus less on the tasks of getting settled in our home and more on how we wish to live.  Some possibilities that have been suggested by the community include:   movie nights, a singing group, cycling club, a Dungeons and Dragon group, yoga classes, meditation group, volunteer teams, etc. We anticipate sharing many celebrations with each other in our Common House.

We are enjoying informal get-togethers sharing coffee and news in the Common House Café, helping each other in the bike workshop, having after-work conversations and beverages at our gathering places on the walkways,  trading stories by the kid’s play area, and much, much more.

We share in the fun and the work of living together and maintaining the place we share.  Our extensive team structure has evolved to include the tasks of running our home with gardening, facilities/maintenance, common house organization, food program, and other business teams.

How often do you dine together as a Community? 
We currently are offering 2 meals per week and anticipate offering at least 5 meals per week as we settle.  Participation is optional.

Will the meals be vegetarian?  
Several members of the Community are vegetarians but we accommodate all eating choices.

Is Daybreak pet friendly?
Yes. Members have pets which are welcome in their homes, but not in the Common House (except service dogs).  The Community Pet Agreement is available upon request.


Where we live

What community-enhancing features do we have? 
Daybreak is configured in a courtyard orientation around our large maple tree to encourage community interaction and to provide a haven for kids and all community members.  The community was designed with external walkways that connect all the buildings to further encourage the neighborly flow of traffic that interior hallways would inhibit.  All our units face into the courtyard and have a ‘front patio’ space so we can be a part of the action.  We’ve placed ‘gathering nodes’ throughout the community, and not just on the ground, to give members lots of places to hang out together.
 
Our Common House is approximately 7,200 square feet, including the basement!!  The outdoor terrace is large and is settled comfortably under the shade of the maple for all to see as they come and go.  The Common House offers many functions for us to utilize and share.  The well-appointed commercial kitchen provides a great place to prepare the meals that we share on the terrace or in the large dining room.  The tables and chairs in the dining room can be stored easily to convert the room for other events and activities. The living room offers a fireplace, lots of shelves for books, a community office closet, and window seat.  A café area is part of the dining room to create a comfy socializing or work area.  The family room is acoustically isolated to allow for noisy activities, such as music, movies, general play and more.  The kid’s room strikes a community balance by being visible to the dining room (and kitchen) and acoustically isolated too.  The two guest bedrooms are nestled in a quieter corner of the Common House and share a full bathroom.  The Spiritual Space is here too, a space for your spiritual practice, whatever it may be.  And an Art Room. The basement offers a large bike room with bike shop and storage for nearly 100 bikes.  A general Workshop also is available for your project needs.   The Game Room is here as well. For those who choose not to have their own washers and dryers, the common Laundry room is available with lots of indoor line drying area (plus two outdoor drying areas). Extra personal and community storage is located here as well.
 
What facilities do we have for children? 
Cohousing is a great environment to raise a family!  Daybreak is a multi-generational community and welcomes children.  We have:

  • Six 3-bedroom units (three of these units are on the ground floor)
  • Sixteen 2-bedroom units
  • Kid’s playroom
  • Outdoor play area and sand box
  • Grassy play area (for kids of all ages!)
  • Drive up and drop off area for unloading parcels from the car next to the elevator
  • A ramp to enter the property on the Killingsworth side that is great for strollers and bikes
  • Bike storage Galore
  • Courtyard that provides a safe place to play with eyes on the kids
Does the design welcome those with disabilities and provide for aging-in-place?  
Accessibility has been a strong goal for the community. All units are adaptable and four (4) of the one-bedroom flats are easily able to be fully accessible. An elevator provides access to the entire community through walkways that connect all the buildings and is our legal ADA entrance. The loading and unloading zone is located next to the elevator and is fully accessible. There is a sloped ramp at the main entrance which is slightly steeper than a legal access, but works for wheelchair as well as stroller and bicycle access. The Common House is fully accessible, including the guest bedrooms and shared bathroom.  All the units have lever door handles and easy pulls on the cabinetry for easier access for those with limited fine motor abilities.

While the community is committed to supporting all members as close neighbors through events and needs in our lives, it does not intend to be the care providers for those that need regular assistance.

Does our units have a kitchen? 
Yes, even though the Common House has a kitchen and dining room for Community meals, each unit includes the standard household features. These include a kitchen, dining area, and living room, laid out in a great room fashion, plus bedroom(s) and bath(s).

How large are the units? 
The 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units are approximately 700, 900 and 1100 square feet, respectively.  Our personal space requirements are offset by the facilities available in the Common House

Can I have my own washing machine? 
Yes, each unit has a flex closet plumbed for washer & dryer which can be added at the unit owner’s expense. It’s called a flex closet because it’s also optimally located for a pantry, coat closet, or any other type of storage you’d like to use there instead.

What other appliances are be included?  
Electric stove and a refrigerator.  A space is provided and plumbed for a dishwasher if the owner chooses to install one. Garbage disposals and microwave ovens can be installed by the unit owners as well.

Is there be an option for a garage or on-site parking? 
No, all parking for cars will be on the street.  Bus and Max line service is close by and we have a bike room for nearly 100 bikes.

Are facilities available for guests? 
Yes, the Common House has two (2) guest bedrooms with their own shared bathroom.  These facilities are fully accessible as is the whole Common House.

What type of internet and cable access will we have? 
We are wired for high-speed internet and a wireless connection in the Common House.  All units are wired for cable TV.

What outdoor facilities do we have? 
Each unit has some “front patio” space.  The ground floor units have differing amounts of back yard space.  At the moment, we do not have plans to fence them.  There are four units with terraces or balconies for private use.  The outdoor common space includes:  the Common House terrace; a roof terrace with clotheslines, garden beds and hang out space; “gathering nodes” in a variety of places to accommodate 2 to 6 people; ample garden space, a grassy area; a kid’s play area and sand box.
 
Can we do some gardening? 
Yes, the Garden Team is designing many garden areas to keep your green thumb green.


A Sustainable Daybreak

What types of sustainable features does Daybreak have?
 
Social Sustainability: First and foremost, we believe that living in community in-and-of-itself is one way of being ecologically and socially sustainable. Supporting one another in our life paths and frequent meaningful interactions is essential to living rich lives.

Ecological Sustainability: There are a number of ways we are achieving our sustainability goals.

  1. Day to day living
    • We are committed to developing day-to-day practices and ways of living that are more sustainable and to supporting individual community members in those efforts.
  2. Having a smaller footprint
    • We will be roughly 50 people plus kids living on an urban plot. We are using what many would consider to be a small property to accommodate the needs of many.
    • Our units are modestly sized.  This has both immediate and long-term resource savings that are significant and often overlooked. We used fewer resources to build our homes and use fewer resources in the long run to maintain them. 
  3. Saving Resources
    • In typical cohousing fashion, our modest homes are possible, in part, due to the existence of the Common House, our common resource. This is another significant savings on footprint and resources, particularly for the number of people that will use the Common House throughout the day and throughout our lives.
    • We also are sharing multiple other resources such as workshop tools, gardening tools, hopefully cars, bike trailer and other amenities.
  4. Smart Design - There are a number of ways the buildings themselves are sustainable and are just a matter of thinking sustainably when building.
    • Orientation – Though gathered around the courtyard, most of the units are arranged to allow optimal solar orientation. With south facing windows and properly sized sunshades, they allow direct sun in during the winter for maximum heat gain and light and they block out the direct sun during the summer, helping cool your house.
    • Shading – Both horizontal shades to allow the optimal amount of solar in on the south combined with vertical roller shades on the west will allow us to block out the hot afternoon sun in the summers.
    • Ventilation – By locating windows on both sides of the home, air can to be drawn through to help cool it during the summer. Casement windows catch breezes no matter what direction they are coming from. And a combination of casement and awning windows allow for stack effect, i.e. drawing air from low to high, to increase the air flow even further.
    • Water Management – Living in the NW, we get a fair amount of water throughout the year. Rather than putting our stormwater into Portland’s already over capacity sewer system, we are managing all our stormwater on site. Through a waterfall and multiple swales, water will be filtered into the ground. For heavier rains, the water will flow into an infiltration bed located under our grassy area.
    • Green Space – Our 30 units and 7,200 SF of Common House uses less ground area than the previous twelve 1-bedroom apartments with parking. It’s amazing what happens when you take parking out of the equation. This means we have more green space with 30 units than what was previously there with 12.
  5. Building Facts
    • Deconstruction – Rather than demolishing the existing structures, we deconstructed, assuring that all materials will be reused/recycled whenever possible. Some of it even in our own home.
    • Framing – We used advanced framing, which is a way of designing in modular dimensions to reduce material waste during construction. Nearly all of our wood is either FSC or engineered lumber which are both sustainable wood products.
    • Envelope – The building envelope includes a rain screen and a well-designed system of flashing and screening to provide optimal moisture protection.
    • Soundproofing – Our soundproofing on the exterior walls, between units both floor to floor and through to wall is above standard practices to provide excellent barriers between units.
    • Roofing – We installed a TPO roof membrane that is white to reflect light and heat away from the buildings, reducing heat island effect.
    • Windows – Staying away from vinyl windows which produce terrible off gassing in production, we provided wood windows with a metal-clad exterior for durability and maintainability.
    • Heating and Cooling – Units are designed for optimal passive cooling and do not require air conditioning, thus limiting our resource use during the summer. All the units have hydronic radiant floor heating, a very efficient heat source.  It uses thermal mass in the floors and locates the heat where the people are, thus lessening the heating you need to provide in order to feel warm. In the Common House we use a high efficiency ductless split system. Eliminating ductwork saves much of the heat/cooling loss that usually occurs through it. The system allows us to completely separate ‘zones’  which permits us to heat/cool just one room at a time, if that’s all that’s needed.
    • Efficient Fixtures – extra low-flow faucets and dual flush toilets will reduce our needs for water.
    • Planning for the future – We are building the infrastructure to be able to install PV panels or solar hot water in the future.

Logistics

When can we move in? 
Now. We began move in mid-October 2009!!

How much do we pay for HOA (Homeowner Association) dues? 
Homeowners dues currently vary between about $200-$400/month depending upon the unit size. Community members share maintenance chores to help keep costs to a minimum.

How are utilities handled? 
All electricity, water, sewer, and gas costs are billed to Daybreak, and the total cost is allocated to each unit by its size. Each unit pays a monthly utility amount which is determined annually.  Currently, monthly unit utility costs are between $100 and $175.


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