National Cohousing Conference May 30-June 2 in Portland

PHOTO: PDX Commons is one of 12 cohousing communities in the Portland area. About 20% of the residents are Jewish.

More than 550 cohousers or those interested in cohousing are coming to Portland for the National Cohousing Conference, “Community for the Health of It,” May 30 through June 2.

Among those living in cohousing nationally, about 10% are Jewish. Now, more than ever, folks feel the pull toward needing this type of connection. There are 23 cohousing communities in existence or forming in Oregon, with 12 in Portland area. For more information, see Oregon listing.

What is cohousing?
Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Condo Association, or Housing Cooperative. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and work party days. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.

Why is it important?
Loneliness is epidemic in the United States, and living in an intentional community can be the antidote. Watch architect and cohousing expert Grace Kim’s Ted Talk, “How cohousing can make us happier and live longer.” Then join us at her free public talk at 7 pm May 31 at the Eliot Center Main Street Sanctuary at The First Unitarian Church at 1211 SW Main St. RSVP for free tickets.

What is the Conference?
The national conference of the Cohousing Association of the U.S. will feature workshops on all aspects of cohousing from building, living and sustaining. There are 115 sessions throughout the four days with attendees from around the world including 35 states and 124 communities from eight countries. The keynote speaker will be Courtney Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream. See her Ted Talk, which explores how people are redefining the American dream, thinking of more fulfillment, community and fun and less debt, status and stuff. She draws from her personal experience of living in cohousing with her family.

Conference co-chair Ann Lehman lives in senior cohousing (Portland’s PDX Commons), one of the fastest-growing segments of the cohousing phenomenon. “This is our largest conference ever, I think in times of stress and divisiveness people are motivated to come together to create community and interconnectedness for health and well-being,” says Ann.

For more information on the conference, visit

Associated with the conference are free open houses at cohousing communities throughout Portland on Sunday, June 2.

Post-Conference Cohousing Open Houses

The following cohousing communities will be holding open houses from 3:30-5 pm on Sunday June 2 (Green Grove will be open 2-6 pm). Stop by after the conference, meet cohousers, take a tour, view homes and find out more about how cohousing really operates. To learn more about these communities, consider signing up for a Pre-Conference Bus Tour. You can click on each community’s name below to visit their web site. Click their address below to go to a Google Map of their address for directions.

Cascadia Commons

4377 SW 94th Avenue


Kailash Ecovillage

4311 SE 37th



Cully Grove

4745 NE Going Street


PDX Commons

4262 SE Belmont Street



Daybreak Cohousing

2525 N Killingsworth Street


Trillium Hollow

9601 NW Leahy Road


Green Grove Cohousing

3900 Coho Circle


Mason Street Townhomes

5900 NE Mason Street

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