Sharing, respecting and tending to each others lives......
For many years I have been seeking community as part of my spiritual practice, which centers around my yogic lifestyle and Buddhism. Once I realized I wanted to live among others who were committed to sharing and growing together ALL THE TIME, I have never looked back. Creating a cohousing community has been my passion and the center of my life for over 6 years now. So much so that I'm also now on the National Cohousing Association board. I have been challenged to learn, change and grow far beyond what I thought possible and know that community will continue to bring these challenges with the great joys. The community of people that we have become now and continue to become, is the most amazing part of the journey for me. I am grateful to the whole community for its willingness to walk this path together.
Kristin, Rich, and Xander
I came to cohousing through a theoretical study, as a solution to create integrated housing for people with disabilties. Through the research and visiting I did during school, I became interested in living in community myself. I eventually dragged Richard to a community potluck at Milagro Cohousing in Tucson, Arizona, where we were living. And he was hooked. So when we moved to Portland, we began looking for a cohousing community and eventually started Daybreak.
I recently received my license and am now a Registered Architect in the state of Oregon. I specialize in multi-family housing - primarily low-income and special needs.
We welcomed our little boy, Xander into the world last summer and shortly thereafter moved into Daybreak. It is ... almost ... a dream come true. There's still lots of work to do and it'll be great when we have the community full. But for now, we are enjoying living in the place we dreamed about for years. Xander is such a joy and I can't wait to come home to him every day. It's been amazing to watch the interaction between him and community members.
I appreciate all the love, support and energy that the group offers and shares. Like having meals provided to us for a full month when Xander came. The personal growth we have experienced since we've come together has been huge. I am grateful for every one of our members and prospective members. And I look forward to meeting our future members. We are creating an amazing family of people.
Kristin Teams: Development, Community Authorized Support, Facilitation, Landscape/Garden, and Kids
I'm often seen lurking around in dark and damp corners...well okay only when I clean the bathroom and kitchen. I like to keep things light in life–it's too short to be so serious all the time. If you have to do hard work, at least have fun doing it. Often I find that it makes work go faster. By trade, I work in IT for a growing wireless company based in Portland. It seems boring to a lot of people. I think it's all the acronyms that people have a hard time getting past. I am also the community caretaker of our mascot, the Daybreak Badger. Funny how people change over time. I've come to love community for not only the food, but the warm feelings of welcome that close friendships and neighborliness provide. That says a lot coming from a guy who wanted to live in a castle with a moat (to keep the neighbors away, of course).
Rich Teams: Development and Facilities
A "homeless cosmopolitan" from birth at the end of WWII, I now have no immediate family and few responsibilities. That leaves me open to develop my true response ability, even when one of my paths is to become a female curmudgeon. I have learned in my eclectic spiritual practices that I follow no guru or ideology and same in political matters. My parents gave me the gift of a great education in sending me to a private school (which I opposed politically). I think of them as the only parents I knew who seemed to truly love and respect each other. Although an Air Force brat who moved often, we never went very far from back east.
When I went to college at the University of Michigan, my father returned to college at the same time, leaving our lovely suburban home for the life of a Ph.D. student after a nervous breakdown caused by trying to become management when he just wanted to remain an engineer. The cohousing design with the walkway passing by everyone's windows reminds me of what my mother hated most about her downward mobility. In a state college I realized the benefits of my private Quaker schooling when I met students with no knowledge of the world beyond their hometown whether it be a rural small town, an urban ghetto, or a rich city. Our high school sent us to MLK’s March on Washington and social activism was in my blood in those days of civil rights and Vietnam protests.
When I moved to Cleveland, I did theater with the black arts center, Karamu House, and sold real estate for a black firm trying to open up the suburbs. I shook my booty in clubs to Funkadelic and got arrested for playing in a fountain. I wandered and ate in the immigrant neighborhoods and supported a levy and the poetry scene.
Loving the old neighborhoods and houses, I decided to learn more about them by going back to school for architecture, which is how I came to Oregon. My friends had a plan to buy abandoned houses around Karamu House and fix them into a neighborhood for local artists. But a great tragedy happened in my "family" in Cleveland while I was in Eugene and all our dreams fell apart. I dropped out of architecture school and bought a fixer house which I shared as a rental for architecture students. So that is how over the next 15 years, I fell into my "career" as a landlord. Finally, I quit my job working for the tax assessor and followed friends to Portland. So I like to joke that I am in the two most hated professions (maybe worse than lawyers?). But I consider myself a frustrated architect and am sad that I will have no roll in Daybreak's design. There is always landscaping, which I do on all my rentals. I love the impermanence compared to buildings. I have taken several trips to Japan to study their art of gardening.
After trying to get into design/development in Kansas City, Missouri, and losing most of my money there, I have a new second home in a poor town in New Mexico in between the rich towns of Santa Fe and Taos. My friends who suggested it to me are back-to-the-land movement people from the 70s and I enjoy their multigenerational community. So I am looking forward to Daybreak's.
Teams: Landscape/Gardening, Facilities, Communication, and Food
I have been living in Portland for two years with my golden retriever, Barney. I am currently going to school to become a midwife. I am passionate about supporting women to give birth outside the hospital. By the time we move into Daybreak, I will be a full-fledged midwife! Moving to Portland was like moving back home for me, because I grew up just an hour outside Portland in a town called McMinnville.
In between living in McMinnville and Portland, I lived in Davis, California, for 17 years. I first moved to Davis to go to college and received my Bachelor’s of Science in civil and environmental engineering from UC Davis. But most of my time in Davis, I lived in the Muir Commons Cohousing community while working as a civil engineer for the county. Even though engineering was interesting, I did not feel passionate about it. After a lot of soul searching and personal growth, I discovered that midwifery was my passion. I loved living in cohousing and have missed living in community since moving to Portland. I love being part of Daybreak and very much looking forward to living in community again.
As if I didn’t have enough things on my plate, I just started an Internet mail order business called Radiant Belly. I am selling home birth kits, supplies for midwives and some organic cotton baby clothes. Owning and operating my own business is very exciting and it is going well.
In addition to midwifery, I am passionate about connecting with people, traveling the world, knitting, good food (eating and cooking it), living sustainably and protecting the environment.
Laura is an authentic Pacific Northwesterner, having spent her first 18 years in Spokane, Washington, where she became a proud alumna of Holy Names Academy (which sadly no longer exists). For college, she moved to the wetter side of Washington to attend the University of Washington in Seattle during the 1970s protest era. In keeping with the spirit of the times, she dropped out of college to spend a year living in Germany where she worked in a restaurant. The realities of working in steamy kitchens and the constant bending and lifting required led her to reconsider her decision to leave the Establishment.
After finishing college, Laura went to France for a year to work as an au pair and then to Iceland for another year. Back then she dreamed of becoming a medieval historian, so knowledge of French was important. Modern Icelandic is almost the same as Old Icelandic, so it seemed a good idea at the time to study Icelandic. Watching medieval scholars at the Arne Magnusson Institute in Reykjavik, however, sobered her up about how few career opportunities were available in medieval studies. Back in Washington state, Laura worked in schools as a speech therapist, but then became interested in audiology.Missing the University of Washington’s application deadline by one month, she went to Guatemala to learn Spanish while waiting for the next academic year to come round. 1985 was not a good year for tourism in Guatemala; the country was only three years away from the height of the US-sponsored political massacres, and the terror from those times was still very palpable.
Laura got to see close up what abject poverty and political repression looked like, and how they worked hand-in-hand. She returned to Seattle with a fascination for current events in Central America. Two years later, after graduating in audiology, she volunteered for nine months with the organization Witness for Peace in Nicaragua, collecting personal testimonies of Nicaraguans victimized by the U.S.-supported Contras. After returning to Washington state, she worked contentedly as an audiologist in Yakima for five years. Then, itching for further education, she moved to Austin, Texas, to pursue a doctorate, and later taught college-level classes in California and Texas before deciding that the Pacific Northwest was a pretty special place, and being close to relatives had a lot of advantages.
She moved to Portland in 2007, met the Daybreak people in 2008 and decided that community living close to downtown in an eco-friendly environment encouraging sustainability was the way to go. Laura joined Daybreak in June 2008. She continues to work as an audiologist, and is starting her own business specializing in auditory processing testing in Portland. Over time, she has been a member of various symphony choirs or choruses. Today she is a happy to sing in a choir at the First Unitarian Church of Portland, and enjoys the many films and concerts available in Portland.
Teams: Landscape/Garden, Membership, and Social
Baird and Karen
I was born and spent much of my life in New York City - mostly in Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan. Working as a design engineer in the early 1960's, I came to realize that a new machine, called a computer, could do all my work in a fraction of a second. And so I became enchanted with the tool, and embarked on a wonderful thirty year career with IBM working as a systems programmer and then teaching at their computer science research institute.
Into this whirlwind of technology and worldwide lecture tours came the love of my life – Karen, from “out West” in Oregon. She was an IBM systems engineer “back East” for some technical education, so we immediately got married and started life together living in a loft apartment in an old warehouse and helping to start up a community known as Greenwich Green Cooperative. Here we raised our two daughters, and commuted to work by bicycle before bike lanes or helmets or spandex had been invented.
About twenty years ago, we moved to Portland, built our dream house up on Skyline, retired from IBM, and enjoyed life in the woods with a wonderful group of neighbors we call The Hamlet. I resumed my interests in theology and art and became especially enchanted by the art of the Northwest Pacific Coast Indian tribes – especially the Haida - who influenced my paintings for several years.
So now it is time to downsize, simplify, and get back on the grid (public transportation). Daybreak is a natural for us with its communal life, and we are looking forward to growing and learning in this new cohousing adventure.
Baird Teams: Membership, Workshop, and Communication.
I was born in Seattle and moved to Portland at age 1 which makes me “almost a native” of Oregon. My immediate family members still live in Portland although our daughters have emigrated, one to Eugene and the other to Cambridge.
I spent a year in Paris as part of my education at Willamette University. When I realized that I didn’t really want to teach French, I switched my major to math and enrolled at University of Washington. I joined IBM after graduation, hoping for an assignment to Norway at some point (I took Norwegian at UW while finishing up the requirements for a degree in French).
Then came the life-changing trip to New York City for a 13-week course at IBM’s Systems Research Institute where I met Baird and his daughter Margaret. After a short courtship (we became engaged on our second date), we were married in Portland and I moved to New York City into the beautiful co-operative apartment that was our home for the next 13 years (and was my introduction to “communal living” and consensus government). Elizabeth was born two years later. Much to my surprise, raising children in the City was a wonderful experience. There were parks to play in, museums to visit, and a carousel to ride. We all rode bikes everywhere. I rode to work in my work clothes and heels and wore a long poncho when it rained. As an infant, Elizabeth rode in a front pack. When she out grew the Snugli, she rode in a Dutch seat that clipped on the handlebars. Margaret had her own bike and enjoyed riding as well.
Having decided to retire in Portland, we moved our schedule ahead by 15 years when we were unexpectedly offered a transfer to the Portland IBM office just about the time Margaret enrolled at University of Oregon. I retired from IBM after 30 years and found a new life in my extensive garden on the hill. We have always entertained a lot and found a role as the center for social life in our little hamlet. We celebrated 4th of July every year with a potluck and fireworks in our driveway and had a neighborhood open house every New Year’s Day. We walk down into Forest Park every morning with the neighbors and their dogs.
I have always enjoyed traveling and did a fair amount of it before I got married. My job with IBM allowed me a chance to travel as well. As a family, we loved to explore the country, and every summer went on a family vacation, usually somewhere along the east coast. We even drove back and forth across the country twice. Now that our children are gone, we have taken some fun trips on our own.
I am looking forward to life in our new community. We have experienced lasting friendships from both our New York life and our life on the hill and believe that Daybreak will be another experience in building new friendships.
Karen Teams: Finance, Landscape/Gardening, Kids and Social
Tammy and Sarah (and Rachel)
Tammy spent much of her life on the east coast. She was born in Canada, and moved on an average of every 2 years from birth until high school, when Endicott, NY became home for a stretch of nearly 8 years. The rest of her 20’s were spent in Washington DC, where she studied Public Administration and earned a Master’s degree.
Moving to Oregon in 1988 to attend law school was a huge change. She came to Oregon to begin this new chapter because Oregon is known to have a substantially more collegial legal community than many other states, and certainly much more than the major cities of the east coast. She currently practices law at Kivel & Howard, LLP in Portland.
Having lived here longer than anywhere else, she considers herself an Oregonian. Both of her daughters are native Oregonians. Her older one is in college back east in Washington, DC. Her younger one resides (happily!!) with her at Daybreak, until she too, spreads her wings and takes flight.
The family also consists of 2 dogs. Sadly, the pair of guinea pigs, the only rodent residents at Daybreak, grew old and recently passed on, but the dogs entertain with plenty of gusto to fill the spaces. One of the dogs was raised by Tammy and Sarah as a guide for the Guide Dogs for the Blind program, but with her nervous stomach she ended up returning to fill the job description of adored family pet and enjoy a life of leisure. She is also a capable participant in the Delta Society’s Animal Assisted Interactions program, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Sarah. Now she is regularly read to by children at the local library in the “Read to the Dogs” program.
Tammy teams: Finance and Community Authorized Support
I am currently attending community college and working on my general courses. Between classes I am a nanny for a couple families whom I adore. I also spend a large amount of time volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society walking dogs and giving them the love they deserve. On the rare occasion that I have spare time I enjoy walking our doggies in the neighborhood and sitting back to watch movies.
Living in community was a good move for us, we are now surrounded by a support system we wouldn't have had otherwise. I am thankful for the respect that everyone has for one another and the positivity of the group. I love that there are always yummy leftovers in the Common House fridge so I rarely have to make myself lunch. Not to mention the abundance of desserts!
Sarah’s teams: Steering
Sarah Teams: Steering
I was born and raised in New England, and after high school in Florida returned to Boston for college. I went to California for law school and ended up practicing law there for many years. In 2004 I was ready for a change. I ended up in Bulgaria, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan working for a nonprofit. I loved the opportunity to live abroad, learn about other cultures and travel. I realized in the last year that I missed having a sense of community in my life. I started researching and learning more about intentional communities and cohousing. I'd heard great things about Portland and it has all the things I want in a city: it's near water, has a vibrant arts scene, yoga studios, amazing book stores, good public transportation, a variety of restaurants and micro-breweries, and fabulous farmer's markets. Then I found Daybreak. It's a perfect fit and I look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.
Teams: Community Authorized Support, Process, Facilitation, and Membership
How does a native Hoosier (what's that?!?!?) who spent her whole life in the Midwest (Indiana, Chicago, Minnesota, and back to Indiana) end up living blissfully in a cohousing community in Portland? In the words of Jerry Garcia, "what a long, strange trip it's been".
I grew up in Indianapolis, daughter of conservative parents who grew up on small farms in southern Indiana, left to go to college at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (promising myself I'd never come back), got married, spent six years living on the south side of Chicago, moved to Minnesota where I spent 25 years living in a small town, trying to keep warm, raising two kids, getting divorced. I moved back to Indiana 10 years ago to be close to my aging mother, when my daughter left for the Pacific Northwest to go to college, solving the "empty nest" dilemma by leaving the nest myself. After my mother and brother died two years ago, there was little to keep me in the midwest, so when my employer offered early retirement to nearly one-third of its employees as a way of solving its financial difficulties, I thought about it for a long time, and finally made a giant leap of faith, took the retirement offer, decided to move to Portland (where my daughter and son-in-law live), and started trying to figure out where to live. While watching an HGTV episode of a show called "House Hunters" one day, I first heard about cohousing, and a few months later, visited Daybreak and realized what a wonderful place it is. Six months later, I listed my house in Indiana for sale, packed up a greatly pared-down selection of all my worldly goods, and headed off on a road trip to Portland, via Graceland, New Orleans, South Padre Island, Texas, the Alamo, the Grand Canyon, and Hoover Dam (truly the long way around).
I've now been living at Daybreak for not quite a year, most of the boxes are unpacked, I have acquired two new feline roommates and a bicycle (making me an official Portlander, I think), I have a new job (couldn't really stay retired yet!), and have a wonderful new extended family of over 30 people of all ages. I LOVE living at Daybreak! I get to be a "grandmother" to some of our younger residents and there are always folks to feed my cats if I'm away or provide transportation to and from the airport or to make the two-block trek to the Scoop food-truck for ice cream. At Daybreak, I can often be found in the gardens looking for giant zucchini lurking in the raised beds or making Sunday dinner in the Common House kitchen. And it's the best thing in the world to be driving home from work in terrible traffic on a Tuesday evening knowing that at the end of the road, there will be a delicious dinner in the Daybreak Common House and warm, caring friends to share it with.
Teams - Landscape/Gardening, Food, Steering
Moving into cohousing – and moving to Portland - have been my dream for many years. But detours were my life story ‘til now. Grew up mostly in NY, a 2-hr train ride from Manhattan, but born in Finland, short stints in VA and MI as a kid. Never knew what I wanted to do for a living, came to West Coast for the first time to go to grad school in Berkeley – Russian history, then an MBA.
I stayed in California (both north and south) – working in marketing communications for hi-tech companies, an ad agency and finally my own business for nearly 20 years, returning to NY in 1992 so that I would be there if and when my parents needed me. In 2006 my dad had a paralyzing stroke. Before that, I’d worked in, and eventually managed his public relations firm, handling both travel and technical clients – mostly with a rail travel company. Have traveled extensively in Europe – adore it. When my mom also developed serious health problems, I realized I should be working in healthcare and went back to school (oldest in my class!) to become an RN. I’ve been interested in alternative, holistic approaches to health for many years and eventually hope to work in public health nursing/policy-making to create a system that focuses on prevention.
Cohousing and sustainability have been passions since my California days, when I was a contributing editor for New Village Journal (no longer published). I met a green architect and planner who had designed cohousing communities – and I wrote an article based on his work. Writing another article about Portland’s great transportation system and Oregon’s approach to land use convinced me that like-minded souls dwell here. As soon as I got my nursing license, I moved the whole family to Portland – and felt immediately at home in Daybreak. I have been longing for community for as long as I can remember, and I believe it is a fundamental human need that is unfulfilled in modern life.
Cohousing is, to me, the natural way people were meant to live – a wonderful combination of privacy and sharing. The Daybreak family includes so many amazing people. Come and join us!
Karen C and Sofia
Xander and Lila
Born and raised in Manhattan, I moved to Portland in 1981 to attend Reed College. Aside from a two year stint covering the civil wars in Central America from 1989-1991 and a year helping a nonprofit set up a wine bottle washing operation in Port Townsend, WA, I have lived here ever since. My career has taken a lot of twists and turns, but always in the direction of progressive social change. I worked in recycling when it was still a movement, in media with a public affairs show on KBOO and a column on the op-ed page of The Oregonian, in politics as co-chair of the Pacific Green Party, elected director of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and candidate for Multnomah County Commission in 2006. As ED of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility I played a significant role in organizing all those don't attack Iraq rallies in the run up to the war. Most recently, I was the business manager at Cedarwood Waldorf School where Lila is in second grade. It was a bit of a digression, but it kept me close to my daughter through a difficult divorce. I don't have a job at the moment and am using my freer time to finish a book I started a long time ago and to resuscitate a nonprofit management consulting business I had on the side for many years.
Lila is an eight year-old enchanted thespian. Ever since she could stand up, if you threw a phone book on the floor she'd hop up and start performing. She's constantly enrolled at the NW Children's Theater and the Classical Ballet Academy. She recently started piano lessons and loves the stand up we have in the Common House. She's precocious, gregarious, and great fun to be with. Her mother and I share her time in 2 week shifts.
We moved into Daybreak last July. I’ve had friends living in co-housing since the early ‘90s. When we had to move over the summer I looked at a couple in Portland and Daybreak seemed the best fit. If it takes a village to raise a child, there’s no better place for a family.