What we're about

Greetings! Springfield/Eugene MicroDwellers is a community resource, a tour group, a social club, and a civic action organization, because we have found that all these levels of engagement are needed in Eugene/Springfield to foster, support, and increase small-scale living.

We explore and work for more local dwelling options under 400 square feet (smaller than the old-school apartment): microstudios, ADUs, co-living (sharing a house or apartment), 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 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 and, more recently, Instagram @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 writer and community organizer who's happily downsized to live in a 220-square-foot microstudio in Eugene. (More at my blog, 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.

ADUs (accessory dwelling units)

Encouraged in Springfield; currently discouraged in Eugene, so that only one person built one in 2018. We and other groups are working to change that.

--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)



Individually owned homes with extensive shared common spaces; residents usually eat dinner together at least once a week, with residents taking turns as cooks.

--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



The modern term for the age-old practice of multiple adult renters sharing a dwelling.

Many cities in the US and especially Europe & elsewhere have multiple coliving communities managed by different companies such as Common, Ollie, Starcity, 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 . We hear the next such 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 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.

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/). The annual YIMBYtown conference will be April 2-4, 2020, in Portland.

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+)

Better Housing Together Holiday Hour for Housing

Claim 52 Kitchen

This free event is a great opportunity to meet people from diverse occupations and organizations who are banding together to influence policy in a direction to legitimize and encourage development of more affordable and inclusive housing models. Please consider attending their Holiday Happy Hour to learn more about the organization, discover ways to become involved, and share your ideas. RSVP at https://www.evite.com/event/01BE76UQFRPWUULQGEPKCFUHM36BVM/rsvp About Better Housing Together Better Housing Together is the only multi-sector, community-led effort working to address the housing crisis in Lane County. Our network of partners includes social service organizations, businesses, builders and architects, advocates and leaders--all of whom want to see the southern Willamette Valley emerge from the housing crisis as an innovative, inclusive, livable community. As a place we can all enjoy and proudly call home. Together, our coalition is working to increase housing affordability, diversity and supply. We advocate for sustainable, walkable neighborhoods and champion well-designed infill redevelopment that reduces our impact on the climate and keeps our community welcoming and economically thriving. We can see a future that includes more quality, walkable, age-friendly housing—where families and individuals have choices and more opportunity to invest in their future here. And we want to partner with you—contact us to learn more about Better Housing Together. Find BHT on Facebook at @BetterHousingTogether Claim 52 Kitchen is a lovely venue, you can find their menu at: https://www.claim52brewing.com/kitchen/menu/ See you there!

Tour of St. V de Paul social service sites - First Place, Lindholm Center + more

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County offers this tour every other month. Meet at its HQ, 2890 Chad Drive. This one is limited to 6 people. Schedule: 9:00- Meet at our Administrative Offices at 2890 Chad Drive. Transportation will be provided to: -First Place Annex to tour and meet with staff running both the Annex and the First Place Family Center. -Girls Youth House to tour and meet with Stacey Yates, Director of the Girls Youth House program -Lindholm Center to tour our emergency services programs. -Bascom Village (still pending final confirmation)- to tour an affordable housing location. 12:00- We will return to our Administrative Offices and have a lunch and discussion until 1:00PM. If attendees need to leave early from the lunch that is not a problem. We may also have a few case managers from DHS as part of the tour. Some of the services these provide: * First Place Family Center + The Annex: services for unhoused families; located near South Eugene High School * The Annex: night shelter for 20 unhoused families * Lindholm Center: showers, laundry + food service for unhoused single adults; located on Highway 99 LTD routes: 12, 67 LTD Trip Planner: https://www.ltd.org Next month, St. Vinnies will offer a tour of their recycling sites, which we will post here too: Learn how SVdP recycles styrofoam, mattresses, books, clothing, and more. _____________________ BACKGROUND Podcast with Terry McDonald, SVdP executive director (along with Erin Fifield, Community Development Analyst with the City of Springfield), on affordable housing, from YIMBYES: https://anchor.fm/daniel-ivy/episodes/Episode-15-How-to-use-Federal-Funds-for-Housing-e93lsd Terry McDonald starts talking around 4:45. St V of Lane County website: https://www.svdp.us Homeless/emergency services: https://www.svdp.us/get-help Affordable housing: https://www.svdp.us/what-we-do/affordable-housing ____________________ More MicroDwellers: You can follow us (@microdwellers) on Instagram and Facebook, and Sherri blogs at RedefiningHome.org.

BRING Tour -- Short Mountain Landfill, Glenwood Receiving Station + Reuse Store

NEW DATE BECAUSE THERE WAS A TSUNAMI ON THE 12TH! Emily Shelton, BRING Director of Education + Outreach, will be our hostess. (Apologies to those who work during the week. We always schedule on weekends if possible, but many of these tours are only offered during the business day.) We will meet at BRING and tour these three sites: Glenwood Transfer Station Total time: 45 – 60 minutes Lane County’s central transfer station in Glenwood illustrates the next step garbage and recycling take after leaving home. The transfer station recycling area is a centralized drop site where the public can bring over two dozen materials for reuse and recycling including glass bottles, plastic bags, car batteries, mattresses, fluorescent bulbs, old paint, appliances, newspaper and more. Participants will see garbage being thrown into “The Pit” by the public. They will learn why it’s important to divert these materials from the garbage, and ultimately the landfill. Machines pack material from The Pit into 18-wheeler trucks destined for the landfill, making for a visceral and eye-opening experience. Short Mountain Landfill Total time: 30 – 35 minutes Short Mountain receives between 800 – 900 tons of garbage every day from all over Lane County, which is a sight to behold. Tour-goers will see the black plastic draped mountain up-close as they circumnavigate its perimeter. They will see where methane gas is converted into useable energy, where the liquid leachate pollution is collected for transportation and treatment, where new garbage is being dumped, and the surrounding native wetland habitat. BRING Planet Improvement Center Total time: 25 – 45 minutes BRING is an engaging and inspiring place for any age group. The Planet Improvement Center warehouse is full of used building materials (lumber, brick, doors, windows, tiles), odds and ends (bikes, plant pots, jars) and many rarities. Plus examples of green building concepts everywhere you look – reclaimed materials, a rainwater bioswale, energy conservation devices. The Garden of Earthly Delights, with its Chapel of Second Chances, showcases native and edible plants, a stunning cob bench, with many examples of reuse art and innovation. LTD: EmX, Lexington Station (sort of near; not easily transit-accessible) LTD Trip Planner: https://www.ltd.org _____________________ BRING is a local nonprofit that has been stressing the need to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle since 1971. It organizes an annual Sustainable Home + Garden Tour in early September. Website: https://bringrecycling.org _____________________ More MicroDwellers: You can now follow us (@microdwellers) on Instagram and Facebook, and Sherri blogs at RedefiningHome.org.

Our monthly social hour! Meet others who care about small affordable housing

Viking Braggot Company Southtowne

Join us in the back room at Viking Braggot Southtowne on Willamette! You can come anytime, but we begin the social hour at 5:30 by offering everyone the opportunity to briefly introduce themselves + their concerns/interests. About two dozen folks attended our last social hour, and many great connections were made. After intros, we have one or two featured guests chat for 5-10 mins about a special project or area of expertise. In January, Heather Johnson will discuss the work of the group planning a tiny-house village in Lane County and invite participation. Second guest TK. Folks can then gather in smaller groups to chat about common interests + questions. Past interest groups have included: * Tiny houses * Downsizing, rethinking consumption, sustainability * Co-living in a group house, co-op, or community of multiple dwellings on one property (either finding one or creating one) * Finding an affordable room/place of ones own * Building an inexpensive ADU or garage conversion * Housing policy, land use, building code (wonks!) * Electing new City Councilors who will fight for small-scale affordable housing and compact urban development * People with land seeking people to share it, and folks who seeking land to park a tiny house on Some photos/descriptions of affordable ADU and garage conversions that we have gathered: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MicroDwellers/photos/?tab=album&album_id=147495859958862 Please share + invite your friends! To move Eugene ahead on small-scale housing, we need to build a visible pro-housing movement that will change some city councilors minds, or replace them in the 2020 election. Public transit options to the venue: LTD routes #24, 82 LTD Trip Planner: https://www.ltd.org If you have specific questions related to small-scale living, let us know in the Comments so we can bring resources that can help. _____________________ More MicroDwellers: You can now follow us (@microdwellers) on Instagram and Facebook, and Sherri blogs at RedefiningHome.org.

Past events (69)

Photos (472)