What we're about

Greetings! We are a community resource, a social/outings club, and a political action group, because all levels of engagement are needed in this area to foster and support small-scale living.

Our group was founded to explore local living options that are smaller than the single-family home and the conventional apartment: micro-housing (under 400 square feet), ADUs, co-living (sharing a house or flat), housing co-ops, rooming houses, intentional communities and ecovillages, RVs and motor homes, tiny houses, vans, skoolies, yurts, and more.

We also attend events on related topics such as sustainable living, permaculture, and environmental justice, according to our members' interests.

We had hoped to take turns hosting gatherings in our small homes, but we quickly discovered that most of them are currently illegal or quasi-legal, due to zoning/building regulations that we think need changing.

Along the way, we explore how to build support for small-scale living as an honorable, deliberately chosen lifestyle, and how to encourage the development of more micro-options.

We post photos of most of our events and include key info in the captions, so if you want to see what you missed, take a peek at https://www.meetup.com/Micro-dwellers/photos . We're also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/redefininghome1 .

If you want to know more about different aspects of micro-housing & sustainability, read on below.

Otherwise, check out our events & we look forward to seeing you soon!


About Me

I'm a writer and community organizer who's happily downsized to live in a 220-square-foot micro-studio in Eugene. (More at the blog I'm beginning at www.RedefiningHome.org.)

I edited Sightline Institute’s "Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Communities," a 2012 e-book that argued for (among other things) the return of the rooming house and the easing of restrictions on ADUs: https://www.sightline.org/research_item/unlocking-home (https://www.sightline.org/research_item/unlocking-home/). It's a great, short read that explains some reasons why small, affordable living spaces are hard to find these days, although they were once a common part of the fabric of American life.


A Few Definitions

ADU: accessory dwelling unit. Related terms: DADUs (detached from a main house), JADUs (connected to/within a main house).
--Two free guides from AARP: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/housing/info-2019/accessory-dwelling-units-adus.html
--Portlander Kol Peterson's blog & guide to building an ADU: http://pdxadu.blogspot.com

Cohousing: individual homes within group property.
--Description & lots of history: http://www.cohousingco.com/blog/2019/7/18/the-best-of-both-worlds-the-promise-of-cohousing
--Directory of US cohousing communities: https://www.cohousing.org/business-directory-2/wpbdp_category/comm

Coliving: multiple individuals sharing a dwelling. Some larger cities in the US, Europe & elsewhere have multiple co-living communities managed by different companies. The agenda for the last international co-living conference sketches the scope and concerns of the movement/industry: https://medium.com/coliv/co-liv-summit-2018-paris-a5dc7a5b80eb .
--Insider's tip: Co-liv told me the next international coliving conference will be in June 2020 in Paris :)

Ecovillage: an intentional community organized around ecology and sustainability. Inspirational talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWa3mFKM84

Intentional community: a community organized around common values/vision; http://www.ic.org has a directory; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBA19OeNMIo has inspiration

Missing Middle housing: more-affordable types such as ADUs, duplexes, triplexes, and cottage clusters; term coined by Daniel Parolek in 2010 (https://opticosdesign.com/missing-middle-housing (https://opticosdesign.com/missing-middle-housing/)). Currently illegal in many neighborhoods in America. (About 70-80% of land is currently zoned to allow only single-family homes.) In many areas, movement is under way to relax or eliminate regulations against this housing; this year the Oregon Legislature mandated that all larger cities and towns do so.

Microhousing: in the US, commonly 160-350 square feet
--An example in Portland: http://www.arthurpdx.com (http://www.arthurpdx.com/)
--How small is microhousing?: https://microshowcase.com/microdwell/microhousing-an-overview
--Some of the microhousing in specific large cities now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microapartment

Tiny house: One that's under 400 square feet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTPsASRO7WA . A tiny-house village in a Portland backyard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VG0Ikpl41k . Updates on making tiny houses legal around the country: https://tinyhouseexpedition.com/tiny-house-advocacy-news

--What does zoning have to do with housing affordability? This cute video explains: https://www.facebook.com/SightlineInstitute/videos/2038769343092610
--How the single-use zoning in many American neighborhoods, which bars anything smaller than a single-family house, helped ensure racial and socioeconomic segregation: https://www.registerguard.com/opinion/20190224/lamar-exclusionary-zoning-fuels-our-housing-crisis


Downsizing Resources and Inspiration

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." --William Morris

Benefits of downsizing include a fresh start, less cleaning, more time and energy for your true priorities, more money, less stuff, and helping to save the planet.

Some Eugene resources: https://www.randyancell.com/fine/real/estate/downsizing/custom

General resources:

Eliminating Chaos (Sasquatch Books, 2006): https://www.powells.com/book/eliminate-chaos-the-10-step-process-to-organize-your-home-life-9781570614675

The ubiquitous Marie Kondo, speaking at Google: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1-HMMX_NR8

The Minimalists: https://www.theminimalists.com (https://www.theminimalists.com/)

Project 333 (tips on paring your wardrobe to only things you love): https://bemorewithless.com/project-333

TEDx Talks:

--"How Many Towels Do You Need?": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlA7qgySO0I
--"Getting Rid of 1,000 Things": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T33vGEPL-wg (lots of specific tips in six minutes)
--"Get Rid of the Unnecessary to Get Down to Basics": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXlNvlzd9M8 (Colin Wright on creating a unique life that reflects you)
--"How Much Is Enough?": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFlYnL_SHQc (Portland developer Kevin Cavenaugh)

A few personal tips:

--Take photos of items you want to remember but don't physically need or have room for, then let them go.
--To sell furniture and other items: Nextdoor and Craigslist
--To give things away: the Buy Nothing group for your neighborhood on Facebook, and the charity of your choice
--To sell coins and jewelry in Eugene/Springfield: Eugene Coin and Jewelry, 1410 Willamette

Anti-Overconsumption Classics

"Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us -- and How to Fight Back" (PBS documentary by John deGraaf, 1998): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2m32ZUeAIA

"The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Do Not Need" (Juliet Schor, 1997): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdaQnGgWoPg (one fact: the average house has doubled in square footage since the 1970s, despite the average household being smaller)

"Walden" (Henry David Thoreau, 1854): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16902.Walden

"Your Money or Your Life: Nine Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence" (Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, 1992; newest revised edition, 2018): https://yourmoneyoryourlife.com (https://yourmoneyoryourlife.com/)


Other Local Organizations Working on Affordable/Sustainable Housing Issues

Better Housing Together (a coalition of about 50 groups, including many non-housing groups such as AARP and the League of Women Voters): https://www.betterhousingtogether.org (https://www.betterhousingtogether.org/)
--BHT has an excellent 4-minute video on our local housing crisis: https://vimeo.com/256725187 (this has all the facts you need for a letter to the editor or social media post/debate)

Cornerstone Community Housing (affordable-housing developer, mostly for families): https://cornerstonecommunityhousing.org (https://cornerstonecommunityhousing.org/)

Cottage Grove Coalition (building tiny-house village of 13 at 1430 E. Madison): https://cgsentinel.com/article/cottage-village-project-now-80-percent-funded

Springfield/Eugene Tenant Association: https://www.springfieldeugenetenantassociation.com

SquareOne Villages (tiny houses for people with very low incomes): https://www.squareonevillages.org (https://www.squareonevillages.org/)

Tiny Houses and Tiny Villages Meetup group: https://www.meetup.com/Tiny-Houses-and-Tiny-House-Villages

WECAN (Walkable Eugene Citizens Advisory Network): http://www.wecaneugene.org

YIMBYES (Yes In My Back Yard, Eugene/Springfield): https://yimbyes.org (https://yimbyes.org/)

Some of the Many Local Sustainability Organizations

Cooperation Eugene -- A New Economy Working Group (time banks, gift economy, co-ops, community finance): https://www.facebook.com/EugeneNewEconomy

Eugene Permaculture Meetup Group: https://www.meetup.com/Eugene-Permaculture-Meetup

350 Eugene (an active local group working on many aspects of sustainability): https://world.350.org/eugene

Homelessness in Lane County

Excellent City Club forum: https://www.klcc.org/post/city-club-eugene-homeless-and-unsheltered-eugene

2019 Lane County Point-in-Time Survey (annual count of the unsheltered): https://www.lanecounty.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_3585797/File/HSD/FINAL%202019%20PIT%20COUNT%20report%20ver%201.0.pdf

Carry It Forward: https://www.carryitforward.net (https://www.carryitforward.net/camp-cleanup)

Community Supported Shelters (provides Conestoga huts and Safe Spot Communities): http://communitysupportedshelters.org

Nightingale Hosted Shelters: https://nightingaleshelters.org


Other Resources

AARP's Livable Communities initiative: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities. Very active in encouraging cities & towns to allow more ADUs and Missing Middle housing.

AccessoryDwellings.org: A website compiled by Portland experts that's one-stop source about ADUs, multigenerational homes, laneway houses, granny flats, and in-law units: https://accessorydwellings.org (https://accessorydwellings.org/2019/07/08/adu-legislative-initiatives-history-in-the-making)

Foundation for Intentional Community (a network of more than 1,000 communities around the world -- includes ecovillages, cohousing, and coliving): https://www.ic.org

Local resources for those in need (clothing, food, internet, mail, medical care, shelter & much more): https://whitebirdclinic.org/resources

Sightline Institute, Seattle: https://www.sightline.org (https://www.sightline.org/series/legalizing-inexpensive-housing)

--Legalizing Inexpensive Housing series: https://www.sightline.org/series/legalizing-inexpensive-housing
--"Unlocking Home: Three Keys to More Affordable Communities": https://www.sightline.org/research_item/unlocking-home

Some YouTube channels that cover all kinds of micro-homes:

--Kirsten Dirksen's channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/kirstendirksen/videos

--Exploring Alternatives: https://www.youtube.com/user/explorealternatives/videos
--Cheap RV Living: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAj7O3LCDbkIR54hAn6Zz7A/videos
--Tiny House Expeditions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmpHOZ6GqCvcWyPX3svgz-g/videos
--Tiny House Giant Journey (Jenna Spesard): https://www.youtube.com/user/tinyhousegj/videos


Other Inspirations

On the road: "Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg37Cbx-kak

Upcoming events (5+)

Free biking/walking noontime webinar, hosted by the City of Eugene

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) presents monthly webinars covering various topics. The City of Eugene hosts a meeting space to participate in the webinars and meet City staff in person, followed by a 15- to 30-minute discussion. Where: City of Eugene Engineering, 99 E Broadway, 4th Floor, Lyle Room From https://www.eugene-or.gov/Calendar.aspx?EID=20664 October 16 If We Build It, Will They Come? Estimating demand for biking and walking It is an age-old question: How do we make the case for investing in bicycling and walking without solid evidence that the results will pay off? This webinar will explore traditional methods, as well as emerging practices for estimating demand and benefits of bicycling and walking. _______________________________ Future webinars, from the full schedule at https://www.apbp.org/page/Webinars: November 20 Aging in Place: Designing communities to support mobility One of the greatest challenges for maintaining the health and independence of our aging population is designing communities that provide accessible connections to support the changing mobility needs of our elders. Designing communities with the senior in mind can provide improved opportunities for healthy transportation while preserving independence and dignity for people who wish to age in place. What’s more, communities that work for our eldest populations benefit users of all abilities. December 18 Education and Encouragement: Bringing the right people together What really change a person’s behavior? How can agencies and activists help inform and encourage appropriate behavior on our streets and pathways? When new infrastructure or operations are introduced, how can we ensure that users understand intentions and exhibit safe operation? How do we best utilize the resources of agency staff and advocacy resources to help this process? This webinar will examine the effectiveness of Education and Encouragement, how to we broaden the tent of who’s involved in the so called “soft” E’s. Earlier: August 21 Getting the Green Light: Improving Actuation and Detection for Cyclists & Pedestrians September 18 Can We Talk About the Street? Building Support for Controversial Projects

Bike tour of Greenway sites in River Road w/Jan Spencer

This tour is presented by River Road permaculture evangelist Jan Spencer. From the web page (https://www.suburbanpermaculture.org/fest-site-tours.html): "Residents of River Road have adopted six sections of the Greenway. Each person adopting has a written agreement with the city of Eugene to perform tasks and organize a set number of work parties to improve the condition of the site. Most sites focus on removing invasive species. One site had accomplished a significant amount of planting native species. One site is a restored 65-tree filbert grove. Another site features a new information kiosk, thanks to a neighborhood matching grant." Questions: [masked]

Last chance in 2019: Tour Cornerstone's beautiful affordable housing for all

This is the last opportunity this year for this wonderful tour. [Note: This is not Capstone, the developer of the mammoth student-housing complex at 13th & Olive!] "Experience affordable housing directly with a property tour of Cornerstone Community Housing’s ’Villages’ – a collection of three properties serving over 70 low-income residents. Plus you’ll get an exclusive sneak peek at a future opportunity for an upcoming development. "Tours meet downtown [register on Cornerstone's website for exact location] and finish with an opportunity for Q&A while enjoying refreshments and snacks. "With a safe place to call home and access to services, Cornerstone’s properties support family resiliency, break the cycle of generational poverty, and build a foundation for families and children to thrive. "We’ll transform your perspective of affordable housing, by experiencing firsthand a thriving Cornerstone community." Transportation to the sites is included, so no need to drive. Register on the Cornerstone website (which will also tell you where to meet): https://cornerstonecommunityhousing.org/healthy-homes-tour ETA: This tour is open to the public, so you can bring as many people as you like-- just have everyone register on the website so they will be sure to have a seat in the van for you all. I am pretty sure they visit the same locations on every tour. They just give the same tour repeatedly so many people will have the opportunity to visit. Here are photos & info on all of their communities: https://cornerstonecommunityhousing.org/housing-communities/ ____________________ Our members who've gone on these tours have been very impressed!

Tiny House Village Meetup group's monthly community potluck

We support & admire the diligent work of this group, which is planning a tiny-house village within the urban growth boundary of Lane County, with access to transit and bike trails. They have developed an extensive mission/vision and are searching for others who would like to be members of the village. They have adopted sociocracy as their mode of governance. They have a community potluck on the 4th Friday of every month, 7-9pm, and anyone interested in becoming a member or serving as a resource is welcome to attend. Plates, cups, and utensils are provided; bring a food or beverage item to share. The McNail-Riley House is on a corner across from the Lane County Fairgrounds; parking lot entrance on Jefferson Street. Best to RSVP directly on their page, so you will be notified if there are any changes: https://www.meetup.com/Tiny-Houses-and-Tiny-House-Villages/events Some of the broad areas they would welcome help with: * Land use & construction * Membership * Outreach * Community relationships * Business & finance Historic structure note: The McNail-Riley house was built in 1889 on 10th and Mill Street for Amanda McNail, who operated her colorful millinery shop "The Temple of Fashion" there. It then was moved to the southeast corner of Willamette and Broadway, and finally was moved to this site and carefully renovated.

Photos (398)