What we're about

Greetings! Springfield/Eugene MicroDwellers is a networking salon, community resource, tour group and social club, and civic action organization.

We aim to foster awareness of, and increase options for, small affordable living in Eugene/Springfield, including homesharing, social apartments (quads), housing co-ops, group houses and ecovillages, roominghouses and boardinghouses, backyard cottages (ADUs), tiny houses, and more.

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 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, especially in Eugene due to zoning/building regulations that need changing.
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 and our Instagram account, @microdwellers.
If you would like to learn more about different aspects of microdwelling & sustainability, read on below.

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


About Me

I'm a lifelong professional editor, as well as a writer and community connector. I have happily downsized to live in a 220-square-foot microstudio with private bath in a boardinghouse near the UO in Eugene. (More at my blog, www.RedefiningHome.org.)

I edit housing-related posts for Sightline Institute, and was the editor of their "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.

ADUs (accessory dwelling units)

Encouraged in Springfield; currently discouraged in Eugene, so that fewer than a dozen have been legally built in the past five years.

--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
--AccessoryDwellings.org: A website compiled by Portland experts that's a 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)


Coliving: A modern term for the age-old practice of multiple adults sharing a rented dwelling. In Eugene, coliving can take place in a house or in social apartments (quads), where residents have private bedrooms and share a kitchen and living area.

Major cities in the US and (especially) abroad have multiple coliving communities, managed by companies such as Common, Bungalow, and OpenDoor. A database of options worldwide is at http://www.coliving.com .

The agenda for the last international co-living conference sketches the scope and concerns of the coliving movement/industry: https://medium.com/coliv/co-liv-summit-2018-paris-a5dc7a5b80eb .

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: Smaller, more-affordable housing types such as 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 under 400 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: By new Oregon building code, 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 short + entertaining 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.

A few resources:

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

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

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 a cluster of 13 tiny houses 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/).

Sustainability and Resilience

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. AARP is very active in encouraging cities & towns to allow more ADUs and Missing Middle housing.

Foundation for Intentional Community (a network of more than 1,000 communities around the world -- includes ecovillages and cohousing communities): 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


Vegging Out (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)

[ONLINE] Sanity checkin + social hour w/Sarai Johnson, County Housing Strategist

Join us and Cooperation Eugene online to envision the world After, when the urgent need for our goals -- microdwelling, compact development, reducing commuting and consumption, and overall more sustainable living -- should be that much more apparent. In a new feature on Meetup, the Zoom link to click at the designated time now appears in the right column ===> We will have introductions and check-in at the beginning to see how everyone is doing, and then hear from Sarai Johnson, Lane Countys newly hired Joint Shelter and Housing Strategist, and have Q&A. You can read about her here: https://www.registerguard.com/news/20200223/meet-sarai-johnson-first-joint-housing-strategist-for-eugene-and-lane-county After Sarais chat, we can chat among ourselves in small groups about common interests (via Zooms Break Rooms feature). Or perhaps we will have one big chat. The social hour may move along faster than our in-person social hours, and end in an actual hour ... or go on longer if folks have a lot to discuss/process/share/ask. We have set the length for this first one at an hour and a half, but lets be flexible as we reinvent. Note: Sarai is one of the front-line workers in the coronavirus response. We assume and hope it will be sufficiently managed by April 8 for her to join us as planned. But if not, we will still convene. Beginning next month (May), we will return to our regular First Tuesday time. ============================ For those new to Zoom, a primer (others can skip this): Zoom is free and easy to use - no extra equipment needed, just the camera and microphone that are almost certainly part of your computer, and an app you can quickly download. Here is a very short (1-minute) video tutorial on how to join a Zoom meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting- If you would rather listen only and not be on video, Zoom will give you that option when you join the gathering. Info on privacy issues, as more and more meetings move to videoconferencing platforms: https://www.consumerreports.org/video-conferencing-services/zoom-teleconferencing-privacy-concerns ============================ Past topics of small-group conversation, after the speaker(s), have included: * Finding affordable lodgings * Tiny houses * Downsizing, consumption, sustainability * Group houses, co-ops, villages w/multiple dwellings * People w/land + people seeking land - often to park a tiny house or RV on * Housing policy, land use, building code (wonks!) * Tips on building an inexpensive backyard cottage (ADU), or converting an attached garage or basement to a livable space (not considered an ADU): bit.ly/cheap-ADU If you have specific questions on small-scale living, let us know in the Comments so we can have resources available that can help. _____________________ More MicroDwellers: You can now follow us (@microdwellers) on Instagram and Facebook, and Sherri blogs at RedefiningHome.org.

Neighborhoods Housing Committee with Sarai Johnson, County Housing Strategist

Note: Presumably this is happening online via Zoom or not at all - we will post the link in the right column if we receive it. ===> ===================== The NLC HHS* hosts Sarai Johnson, the recently hired Lane County Joint Shelter and Housing Strategist (and a fan of microdwelling). She is also the speaker at our April 8 social hour. If you miss that, here is another opportunity. In May, I believe the NLC HHS will host Marissa Cade, director of the new statewide program Home Share Oregon, as their speaker, so stay tuned for that! __________________________________ About the NLC HHS *The Neighborhood Leaders Council Housing and Homelessness Subcommittee is open to all. It offers great educational presentations + networking for people concerned about and working on housing/homelessness. You dont have to be involved with your neighborhood association to attend -- although please consider it. Eugene needs pro-housing voices on the boards of all neighborhood associations. You can receive notices of each NLC HHC meeting by signing up at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/nlc-hhs. Website: https://eugeneneighborhoods.wordpress.com/committees _____________________ More MicroDwellers: You can now follow us (@microdwellers) on Instagram and Facebook, and Sherri blogs at RedefiningHome.org.

TENTATIVE[ONLINE] MicroDwellers/Cooperation Eugene social hour: Housing Co-ops

We are currently planning a May event (online via Zoom) on housing co-operatives, with Cooperation Eugene, as part of the run-up to their broader summit, currently projected for December, on what a cooperative/regenerative economy would look like. The summit will address many aspects of life, including food, education, and workplaces. Our May event will focus specifically on housing. We will have several featured speakers, who will address questions like: * How can we create more housing co-ops in Eugene? * What can we learn from those we have*? * Would it help to establish an incubator -- a central place to go for information and advice -- for people who want to create housing co-ops? * What are different models for financing the acquisition of property? * (How) can a Community Land Trust be helpful? * What are the obstacles to creating more housing co-ops in Eugene, and how can we address those asap? There will be time for discussion w/speakers and individual chatting on this and other topics afterward. Feel free to share with/invite others who may be interested. We need all hands on deck as we move forward to create housing solutions in Eugene. Contact one of us if interested in contributing your skills, time, energy, knowledge, connections, or other resources! =============================== Optional background for those who want to learn more Housing co-ops in Eugene: * East Blair Housing Cooperative [c. 1982] * Walnut Street Co-op [c. 2000] * Emerald Village Eugene [c. 2018] * the three student co-ops [c. 1935, 1981, 1990] * two Christian student co-ops - Alpha-Omega House (men), Trinity House (women) * and perhaps others Podcast by Jan Spencer on local urban housing co-ops, including East Blair Housing Cooperative - about two dozen households in adjacent/nearby dwellings; many children, gardens + orchards, sauna, tool shed + more: https://player.whooshkaa.com/creating-a-resilient-future?episode=392633

MicroDwellers social hour + Jan Spencers One-Earth Living talk/gathering

Central Presbyterian Church

[Rescheduled from March 11.] __________________ THIS MONTH ONLY: In May, we will be combining our social hour with this excellent event, since it is much like our social hours in theme(s) and format. It will be at Central Presbyterian Church, on 15th near the UO. The theme of the evening is Moving Toward a One-Earth Lifestyle, Economy and Culture.* It is organized by River Road permaculturist and home-sharer Jan Spencer. There will be some mingling/conversation/browsing time at the outset, a presentation on One-Earth Living by Jan, and then hosted small-group conversations. Public transit options to the venue: LTD route #28, 82, EmX LTD Trip Planner: https://www.ltd.org Hummingbird Wholesale [thank you very much] is supporting the event and also doing social media. ================================================ * More from Jan on the theme of the event: Question - How can we address many of the deepening social, economic and environmental challenges of our time? A critical part of the answer - By reducing our eco logical footprints and building community culture. The concept of One Earth Lifestyle is a very useful approach for making meaningful changes in our lifestyles, homes, economy and culture. Measuring our ecological footprints is the starting point that can lead to taking action for a broad spectrum paradigm shift. Human eco logical footprints impact our climate, public health, the natural world and our quality of life. A one earth lifestyle is a lifestyle that everyone on planet earth could enjoy and that planet earth could sustain for both humans and the natural world. A one earth lifestyle would be very different from what most Americans experience. A core ideal - private sufficiency, community enhancement. The presentation, by Jan Spencer of Eugene, will show and tell what a one earth lifestyle, culture and economy might look like in terms of home, transportation, food choices, recreation, urban design and how we make a living. There will be a variety of community groups and individuals participating in the event, including MicroDwellers, car-free for 30 years, Sharing Economy Community, 350 Eugene, Cooperation Eugene, Eugene Permaculture Meetup, Suburban Permaculture and others. Topical conversations will include microdwelling, permaculture, cooperative living, cooperative economics, transforming a suburban property, plant-based diet, 30 years car-free, neighborhood associations, faith-based mutual assistance groups, various community campaigns and others. For more event information, go to www.suburbanpermaculture.org ============================================================== Some resources for further learning/involvement: * Microdwelling: http://www.bit.ly/EugeneMicro ADUs: https://www.wecaneugene.org Homesharing: https://www.homeshareoregon.org * Some local housing co-ops http://dumacommunity.blogspot.com http://www.eastblairhousingcooperative.org https://walnutstcoop.wordpress.com Communication/group process for living cooperatively: https://treegroup.info * Car-free living facebook.com/groups/[masked]/ * Sharing economy Cooperation Eugene + Lane Service-Sharing Network (online bartering platform): https://cooperationeugene.org =========================== Future MicroDwellers social hours: We are moving! We enjoyed Viking Braggot, but given our low-consumption patterns, we must move on to another space where up to 40 people can hear speakers and chat in small groups. Check this Meetup page each month, or watch for our event notices, as we try out a few possibilities. Days may vary slightly to accommodate the schedules of the venues.

Photos (496)