RoseWind Cohousing is in Port Townsend, Washington, a city of 8,400 which prides itself on its historic charm, maritime heritage, and stunning natural setting. The city, situated at the tip of the Quimper Peninsula, is bounded by water on three sides and is a one hour drive from the Olympic Mountains. RoseWind occupies 9 acres inside the city limits, west of San Juan Avenue, between 35th and Umatilla Streets. Schools and shops are easily accessible by foot, bike or 5 minutes in the car. Public transit passes close by. The climate here is mild, with only 17 inches of precipitation per year. Check our RoseWind map, or see maps of the Olympic Peninsula and the Quimper Peninsula.
We are 23 member families, all but 3 of whom live on site. One home is yet to be built. We range from families with young children to folks well into retirement. Our occupations, past and present, include construction, carpentry, legal, medical, scientific and teaching work, counseling, music teaching, choral directing, parenting, engineering, organic gardening and orchard management, and computer programming and analysis.
RoseWind's youth range in age from 2-20, and we welcome children of all ages. Port Townsend is full of wonderful children's activities, all just minutes away.
We welcome diversity of all kinds. As a group we value non-violence, helpfulness, consideration for the natural environment and for each other.
An initial group of members created the physical layout for the development, which was approved by the city as a Planned Unit Development. The property has the shape of a bowl open and sloping to the southwest, with good solar exposure; we are located on the side of a shallow rise in the land along our north side. The overall layout encourages a combination of privacy and community, with opportunities to get to know each other, look out for each other, and enjoy working and playing together.
Our Commons is a car-free area of about four acres bordered with home sites. This land contains small, dense thickets of wild rose, snowberry and hawthorns, much loved by birds, as well as a common garden, chicken yard, children's play structure , and lots of open space for play. We also have a number of smaller, discontiguous common areas.
The open areas have good garden soil, and vegetables flourish almost year-round in the protected common garden. We have expanded beyond the fence with deer-safe crops (potatoes and rhubarb) and have planted a small apple orchard. An agricultural well supplies irrigation for the commons.
Our first community building project, in 1997, was this custom designed garden shed which houses the well water tank, and serves as a garden tool shed - and work of art!
An area adjacent to the common house, on Umatilla St., is permitted for home office and hobby use, but we have not yet made the decision to develop it.
Our common house is a one story, 2800 square foot building created with the help of much volunteer labor. It includes comfortable spaces for formal and informal gatherings, cooking and dining, recreation, and youth and children's activities. Each Monday one or two of us cook dinner for all to share, on Thursday evening we gather for potluck, and on most Fridays we have a late afternoon TGIF get- together. In addition we meet in the Common House for discussion circles, business meetings, a monthly brunch and occasional coffee klatches. The Rec Room is used for ping pong matches and TV viewing, and the Children's Room keeps young residents and visiting grandchildren busy with toys and dress-ups. During the warmer months some of our activities move outside into the walled patio which was created in 2004. Members may also use the Common House for non-RoseWind events in which they are involved, such as house concerts, meetings of local organizations, or retreats.
The kitchen in our common house gets a lot of use.
The inlaid design in the great room oak flooring sets off the ceiling "quilt" and the handsome wooden window trim. Furnishings include a glass front gas hearth and an upright piano.
The North and West facing windows in the common house look out toward our central commons, the largest of our common areas.
Houses at RoseWind include a variety of styles and building materials: a dome, two EnerGrid and stucco houses, a straw bale, and many stick-frame houses. Sizes range from 760 to 2880 square feet. Two of the houses were built by Habitat for Humanity.
The handbook "On Conflict and Consensus" by Butler and Rothstein is our guide to successful consensus decision making. Residents organize cooperatively to meet our changing needs, with various committees and task forces. Bylaws and a Master Declaration of Covenants spell out legal matters. We are incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Washington, and all adult members are on our "board of directors".
The term was coined by architects McCamant and Durrett in their book Cohousing, which profiles dozens of successful communities of this sort in Scandinavia. There, and in the US, cohousing groups have characteristics in common. All have part of their land in private homes. The balance of the property is held in common, and developed for the use and enjoyment of all. Typical common amenities are open space, gardens, and a "common house" where residents can meet, eat, and socialize.
Individually owned homes ensure privacy and personal freedom. Common areas and facilities invite frequent use, foster a sense of community and afford many opportunities for shared practical and social activities. From start to finish, the development and management of the community is in the hands of the people who live there.
Click here for information about a great many cohousing communities, including quite a few in the Pacific Northwest. While some people thrive on cohousing, it is not a good fit for everyone. And each individual community is unique.
Other sorts of intentional community: The Federation of Intentional Communities (FIC) publishes a fat Directory with useful information about a very broad range of communities.
Ongoing operating expenses for maintenance and improvements of the common holdings are shared through the work that we do ourselves and by our annual assessments. The annual budget is determined by consensus of the members and has so far been under $900 per year.
Some openings are materializing at the present time (June, 2008). Call Jack Gordon at 360-385-5019 for details. Or, contact us via e-mail, as described below (the e-mail contact may be on vacation during August, and hard to reach).
Current population of 23 RoseWind households (22 resident) includes nine children: 2 3-year olds, 3 6-year olds, 3 children aged 8-9, and one 14-year-old. We have a well-equipped play room at the community house, a good climber-swingset on the central commons, and lots of open space for play.
All 23 RoseWind memberships are owned, and 22 have homes already built. The only way to join is via the occasional resale. To be able to make an informed decision quickly, in the event of a future resale, please consider becoming more familiar with RoseWind ahead of time!
To receive notice of future resales, please e-mail us and indicate your time frame, something about your interest, and what sort of property you'd want to hear about, as we have houses in a wide range of sizes.
One requirement for being able to move to RoseWind is the ability, if needed, to make a living in PT's limited economy, or via telecommuting. On a map, Seattle might seem close by, but it takes 2-3 hours to get there from here, so it's too far for a daily commute. Some ways to get an idea of what is available here, in terms of work, and in terms of local culture and politics, is to check the websites ptguide and ptleader (the local weekly newspaper).
RoseWind: If you have specific questions about RoseWind, feel free to contact us. If you are seriously interested in RoseWind, and can get here, you should visit. We do not have a community guest room, but PT has many accommodations. The Olympic Hostel at Fort Worden (1-800-909-4776/360-385-0655 or e-mail them) is not far from RoseWind, very scenic, and under $20/night per person. Visitors who can come to a Thursday evening potluck will be able to meet more members of our community than might otherwise be around.
PLEASE give us advance notice, and we'll do our best to find someone(s) who can answer your questions and give you a walk around. And if you schedule a visit and your plans change, PLEASE let us know.
We keep a list of interested parties who would like to be notified of any future resales (of lots or homes), new lots, or rental opportunities. Contact us via e-mail to be added to this list, or to find out more about becoming part of RoseWind. Or, call Jack Gordon at 360-385-5019.
Maintained by: Mike Murray