We are giving away 4 copies of Rosemary Morrow's book, Earth User's Guide to Teaching Permaculture
Rosemary will be answering your questions in the permaculture education forum Monday through Friday!
See this thread for details
Permies likes intentional community and the farmer likes Pacific Northwest Homestead Cooperative permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » community » intentional community
Bookmark "Pacific Northwest Homestead Cooperative" Watch "Pacific Northwest Homestead Cooperative" New topic
Forums: cascadia intentional community
Author

Pacific Northwest Homestead Cooperative

Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
My family and I (mid-thirties with kids), and two other couples (same approximate ages, with kids), are interested in purchasing approximately 20 acres of cultivable land in western Washington or Oregon (Washington lacks an income tax, but Oregon has no sales tax). The western regions of both states are preferable due to rainfall considerations and the temperate influence of the ocean. We would also consider New England and Hawaii, but greater weather extremes and land prices are concerns, respectively.

We would like to build naturally with cob (www.thiscobhouse.com), so unless we can find cheap land with an existing structure, that likely means finding land within a pocket of freedom from the tyranny of unreasonable building inspectors (earthship.com/pockets-of-freedom). To save you the trouble of following the link, in Oregon, that likely means Tillamook, Lane, Marion, or maybe drier Curry or Josephine Counties. In Washington, that likely means Pacific, Wahkiakum, Thurston, Mason and Kitsap Counties. I really like Lewis County in Washington, but it appears their building department is unreasonable. Also, remote is a real plus for security and land cost purposes.

We want to build as self-sufficient a homestead as possible using permaculture design principles, and emphasizing a transition to post-fossil fuel world. To be clear, we are not opposed to any fossil fuel inputs, we just do not want to design a system around a finite resource that will either not be available in the future or become unreasonably costly.

I am posting this for three reasons. 1. On the off chance that someone out there has a lead on a suitable property. 2. To find other, likeminded, individuals who would like to locate in the same area for cooperation, security, political clout, and loose knit society. 3. To possibly pool resources for a land purchase, with the goal of obtaining a cost per acre discount by buying in greater volume.

With option 3, the property would have to be able to be subdivided, as long term common ownership will lead just lead to problems for everyone (although a land trust or non-profit corporation might be alternate possibilities, and not without possible benefits). For either 2 or 3, we do mean loose knit. We are concerned about avoiding excessive regular meetings and impractical consensus building. That said, it is impossible to do everything yourself, and the more of us there are the more resilient, content and collectively self-sufficient we can be.

We are looking to purchase cash in the next year or two (give or take), so there is some time if people are interested, but still need to put their business in order.
Lori Morris


Joined: Mar 25, 2012
Posts: 1
Alex, I like your vision and I may be interested. I currently live in the PNW but I am looking to relocate to Hawaii. If you guys end up doing something in Hawaii, let me know. Also, I am always interested in meeting folks who share my same passion so if you guys ever have any PNW permaculture meet-ups or anything of that nature, let me know. Take care!
Daniel Clarke


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Posts: 67
try these sites below

http://reach.ic.org/postings/

http://www.ic.org

anybody can make a ic.org group there. Even the ones that say they are formed verses forming can be hardly anything.

Now if you want to check out other wwoofer positions try

http://www.growfood.org

or try

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/opport

or

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/classifieds

or

http://www.off-grid.net/forum/





http://directory.ic.org/22661/Central_Pa_Mountain_farm___for_Hip_open_minded_people
Dave Turpin


Joined: Dec 07, 2012
Posts: 107
Location: Groton, CT
There are several parcels for sale in Eatonville (Pierce County), between 5 and 20 acres under 100k. A couple on the little Mashall river. There is also a 134-acre tract on the Nisqually for sale for $178k, though only 30 acres of it are buildable (the rest is Nisqually migratory zone, which is still usefull for hunting, fishing and foraging)

Pierce county is not on the pockets of freedom but I would not put any credence in that map.

There are also thousands of acres for sale in Eastern Washington; very little with waterfront, though.

The biggest issue with subdividing is that in order to legally do it, you have to provide access easements, water and power to the parcels, which is not feasible in areas that don't have utilities to begin with. Also, make sure to get a perc done on any land you buy because if you want a building permit you will need to get an approved septic design, even if you don't use it.

Another option would be to get a 90-day occupancy permit to get your cabins built, then just sort of live there illegally.
S Bengi


Joined: Nov 29, 2012
Posts: 1032
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
    
    5
I am interested in living in PNW, FL or HI. I see myself needing more than 4 acres, but for the right price I would not turn down more land, lol.
I don't mind a land trust. We are also a family.
PM me.


Currently living in a tiny city lot in Boston this is my current backyard experimental garden.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E
Eve McKie


Joined: Aug 17, 2012
Posts: 8
I have no idea why Lane County in Oregon is on that map, it is the exact opposite of a "pocket of freedom". You can't even camp on your own land, let alone build without building codes. In fact they will levy $1,000 a day fine until you take down whatever structure you built without permits (ask me how I know). You can also not live in and build at the same time, you must have a certificate of occupancy before you can move in. We have some of the strictest codes in Oregon. I don't know about the other Counties on that map but I would disregard it just for putting Lane on there. We do have a gray area where you can build under 200 sq ft without a permit but this is not for a primary living residence, more along the lines of a shed but some people do push the limits of this, maybe that is why it is on the list?

Tillamook is our dairy cow County by the way, not much else there. Very green and pretty but wet.

Where are you moving from? I am not as familiar with the other Western Counties in Oregon but I would look farther south, like Douglas or Josephine and try to find out about their building codes. I am not sure of any county that allows building in Oregon without permits but you never know. If you want to buy in Oregon I would look for something with a permitted residence already there, we have gotten around some of the codes by having a permitted single wide trailer as the "residence", this only gets you so far if they want to mess with you though.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
I'm not that familiar with western Oregon but ReCode might have some info that would be helpful.

http://www.thedirt.org/node/3658


"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
Kyle Williams


Joined: Jul 09, 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Portland, OR
    
    3
Hi Alex,

My girlfriend and I are planning on doing almost exactly the same thing (reading your post freaked me out a little as it could've been me who wrote it) when she finishes nursing school. We currently reside in Western Oregon, and are planning on staying here or going back up to Western Washington where her family lives.

We're leaning towards the Gorge area, (Wasco county is a pocket of freedom, and still gets enough rainfall to be a viable homestead option) or Thurston County, and we'd like to have at least 30 acres to call our own. Both places offer plenty of properties that might be able to be subdivided into 30 or 40 acre parcels, and would be much more affordable with 2 or more families buying in rather than just one.

Some of the things you mention also lead me to believe you might be a TSP listener. If so, I've been listening to Jack since around episode 80, and I'm very much in agreement with his thoughts on homesteading.

If you want to chat more, either to bounce ideas around to see if we're a good fit, OR if you want some tips on land in this area, let me know. I'm happy to help you as much as I can even if we decide a pseudo-partnership might not work out.
Steven Johnson


Joined: Mar 14, 2012
Posts: 59
Location: south east mo
Hi Alex and Kyle, Susan and I are ready to find a place and start doing it, I have been describing my vision in a couple places here today. I think we are all trying to do a similar thing with only minor variations that might be possible to work out.
Any one interested in active discussions leading to some real action?
Eve McKie


Joined: Aug 17, 2012
Posts: 8
I was on another board and saw someone say that Stevens County Washington has no building codes, keep in mind though that that area is close to the Canada border and cold during the winter! Or I should say they have building codes but no permits or inspection requirements. I have seen some nice things though about Stevens County, they have a decent alternative community (or so I have read, no personal experience on that).

Karen Crane


Joined: May 03, 2011
Posts: 154
I WAS interested in both OR and WA for a long time UNTIL
I found out that both states believe that they OWN water
rights and you can't collect water from your roof or have
any kind of catchmentl Not sure if the property already has
a brook or creek or lake. they probably have some way to
measure the water you take.
That is waht turned me off to those whole state.
( CO does this as well) You need to check out the water rights and reatrictions
before you buy.
YOu mentioned some map of land of freedom or something like that.
Where can that map be gotten and is it only for those state?
I would like to get a copy if it vcovers all over western US area.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
You can collect rainwater in Oregon in some instance it is encouraged to help with stormwater flow. This might help with the confusion re: Jackson County fellow who was fined recently. I'm not saying he was treated fairly but I can still legally collect rainwater in Oregon.

http://www.oeconline.org/community/blog/the-infamous-case-of-oregons-rain-man

Here are the current building codes for rainwater catchment. Rainwater reuse is codified so in some cases it is legal.

http://www.bcd.oregon.gov/pdf/3660.pdf
Dave Turpin


Joined: Dec 07, 2012
Posts: 107
Location: Groton, CT
Karen Crane wrote:I WAS interested in both OR and WA for a long time UNTIL
I found out that both states believe that they OWN water
rights and you can't collect water from your roof or have
any kind of catchmentl


This has never been true, actually. Back in 2009 the Department of Ecology clarified this:

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html



Not sure if the property already has
a brook or creek or lake. they probably have some way to
measure the water you take.


Ponds contained on your land are fair game. Lakes and rivers are protected and are owned by the state. You can still use them with the appropriate permits. This is true in most states. The state does not measure, but if they find unpermitted water use on your land, they can fine you something like $1000 a day. The particularly sticky situation is the installation of microhydro power systems... Some argue that the water is returned to the river so no harm, no foul. The problem is the law states you cannot BUILD ANYTHING within the high water region of any river on your land.

YOu mentioned some map of land of freedom or something like that.
Where can that map be gotten and is it only for those state?
I would like to get a copy if it vcovers all over western US area.


The Pockets of Freedom map is on http://www.earthship.com/pockets-of-freedom, but take the info with a grain of salt. There are Earthships and other sustainable building in "red" counties and in other cases, counties are "green" even though nobody has ever attempted to build there. The map was created from users who went on the Earthship forum and did a "best guess". I see a few weird ones on here. Island county, WA is green, but Whidbey island has some of the strictest water use codes in the state! Pierce is listed as red but there are plenty of sustainable buildings there. Most of Pierce county is rural.

What constitutes a "green" county is hard to say. Sometimes people just heard that you could build there. In some cases there are codes but no enforcement. In many cases, though, people simply went through the appropriate legal channels to get a building permit. In Washington, if you have over an acre you can put a septic system on it. The dirty trick that Earthship Biotecture uses is to install a approved leach field, but also install the botanical cells on parallel pipework with diverter valves. That way it passes code inspection but then you never use the leach field.
Eve McKie


Joined: Aug 17, 2012
Posts: 8
Like others said, you can collect rainwater off your roofs in Oregon, it actually seems encouraged around here.

The creeks, tributaries, and rivers do belong to the State and you can't mess with them. If you have livestock they also want you to fence them out, there was just an article this week in a local small paper about a family with 440 acres who is working with groups to save the streams and creeks that run through their property, it's been a good partnership.

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/article/cows-and-creeks

The fellow in Jackson County built a series of dam's and was actually diverting water from the creeks and tributaries, he was not collecting rainwater, he was creating huge reservoirs that he was actually stocking and using for sport fishing (complete with a boat dock). This is not allowed. This is a long standing fight on both sides, they have been trying to work with him for 10 years, it is not like he was not given warnings.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/07/jackson_county_man_sentenced_f.html

Not arguing for or against the guy in Jackson County but somehow this case has gotten turned into that we can not collect rainwater in Oregon, which isn't true.
Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
@Lori - We (at least two of the couples) are open to anywhere with adequate rainfall. The Big Island of Hawaii would be wonderful for all season growing, so long as you're out of the more dangerous volcanic zones. It just seems like you're paying an awful lot for the land. Anything on any island seems to have a premium attached.

@Eve - My understanding of the Pockets of Freedom map is that it is asserting it's possible to get building permits for alternative buildings in that county (or at least earthships), not that the county does not enforce the building codes. I would love to be able to ignore the building code, but I'm not comfortable with living life looking over my shoulder like that. We're now leaning toward avoiding the sub-division and setting up the land trust or a non-profit corp. Agree with you that finding a pre-existing permitted residence seems the way to go ... although it raises the buy-in price, and we are determined to do this debt free.

@Kyle - A mind-meld with a stranger is rare, but stimulating when it does occur. I do listen to Jack fairly regularly. Although I don't agree with him 100%, of course, he's intelligent, thoughtful and has a good heart.

@Steven - We are moving deliberately in that direction. We plan on selling our house and dramatically downsizing in the first half of this year, and we want to get more hands on experience relating to successful permaculture operations and natural building. That's actually why I've been slow in replying on this thread. I'm trying to spend less time talking and more doing.

The water issue in all of the west half of the country is troublesome. I've looked into it a bit for both Washington and Oregon, and my understanding is that without permits (which are issued on a first in time basis), you are allowed to rainwater harvest for household, but not agricultural, use off of non-pourous surfaces only. If you own the land, but not the water, you don't own much do you? The prior appropriation doctrine creates all sorts of perversions, such as farmers in California selling their water rights to cities because they can make more on the water than by using it for farming, or a friend of mine in Yakima, WA who has unlimited unmetered water on a subdivision lot, but the people the water flows by on the way to Yakima can't touch it. In the east you have riparian rights to reasonably use water on your property. For that reason, we've been looking at New England as a backup/alternative local (which we originally discounted due to the harsh winters). So, I'm curious why @Bengi is considering FL and doesn't want to stay in New England, particularly in light of global climate change. I'd rather be somewhere cold or coldish, with some wiggle room, and the northeast is not projected to lose rainfall due to climate change (unlike almost everywhere else, including the PNW).
Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
I've been giving a lot of thought to the idea of community. It seems to me, and I'll admit that Paul Wheaton has influenced my thinking on this a fair amount, that community is something that can't be built purposefully. Rather it's something that develops organically from shared purpose and experience. In this society/economic paradigm, everyone and everything is replaceable. Although we're entirely dependent upon a complex global system, we feel less dependent than ever. Community is something that our individualistic, compartmentalized society is hungry for (consciously or unconsciously), but we have forgotten how to do. As Paul says, everyone talks about it, but it never happens because everyone wants to be in total control of the process.
robert anteau


Joined: Jan 09, 2013
Posts: 4
Hello Alex,

I am toying with an idea just like your own. I was in fact in WA looking at land last summer. I am trying for a summer 2014 move. I had envisioned a 5 acre at a minimum. I have to say I am more interested in property that could be sub-divided as I believe that leads to the least amount of conflict. My reply may be slow sometimes as I am currently living in Amsterdam and work keeps me busy.

REgards,
Robert
Eve McKie


Joined: Aug 17, 2012
Posts: 8
Alex Love wrote:@Eve - My understanding of the Pockets of Freedom map is that it is asserting it's possible to get building permits for alternative buildings in that county (or at least earthships), not that the county does not enforce the building codes. I would love to be able to ignore the building code, but I'm not comfortable with living life looking over my shoulder like that. We're now leaning toward avoiding the sub-division and setting up the land trust or a non-profit corp. Agree with you that finding a pre-existing permitted residence seems the way to go ... although it raises the buy-in price, and we are determined to do this debt free.


I'm not sure where they got their info but I would certainly take that map with a very small grain of salt. Lane County sorta of, kind of, will allow alternative buildings. It will allow you to use some natural materials but we have some of the strictest building codes in the State. An earthship as built in the books and New Mexico would never be allowed here, you wouldn't be able to obtain a permit. In Lane County everything must be engineered and stamped from an Oregon Engineer, if you were buying bare land you would also have to engineer a road, let alone septic and electrical. Everything is also very expensive here, land and permits. I talked with Lane County once about a strawbale home, they said they would allow straw to be used as insulation only and nothing structural, when you figure it out it is much cheaper to go with a stick built versus trying to engineer something like an Earthship or Strawbale home. I was talking with someone here and Lane County wouldn't even let him permit an alternative heat source for his house, he had to put electric cadet heaters in every room, he said he hasn't turned them on in 10 years and does use his alternative system instead. In short we are very regulated.

As to the water, I think there are some misconceptions. For one thing, we have a lot of water here, in that it rains a lot. We get about 40"-45" of rainfall a year. Many years you will have many more problems with too much water versus too little (your fields get too soggy for livestock and mildews your plants). Also you can have irrigation wells, they are very very common here. I have both a residential well and an irrigation well myself, plus collect water. I don't know of a regulation that limits your irrigation wells (but you must obtain a permit for them, which is cheap and easy to obtain, our well guy got ours for us). The State owns the waterways but many places have seasonal creeks and ponds that are not considered waterways but if you have a tributary or official creek running through your property you can't damm it up or use it unless you have irrigation rights (I know many people that do have irrigation rights to creeks, it's not unheard of). Another thing to consider here in the Northwest is Wetlands, these also are regulated and can not have livestock or buildings on official Wetlands. You do need to check all the restrictions that will come with any property.

I hope you find what you are looking for!
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Oregon is a very regulated state much of it having to do with land use planning goals established to prevent rural sprawl (subdivisions in rural areas).
Here in Deschutes County I have helped build a a straw bale home and an earthsip is being built not far from my current home so there are areas where alternative construction is allowed A habitat for Humanity House in Bend is built of straw. In this County straw bale construction has to be infill so no load bearing walls. I helped with a straw bale home in Lake County.

I think taxes are high here but my previous residents have been in S.C. and Wyoming so that is my frame of reference for a tax bill. Farm acreage does qualify for a tax break.
Michael Newby


Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 165
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
    
    9
I'm sure I'll get a collective chuckle when I mention it, but here it goes: Don't discount Northern California. Now when I say NorCal, I'm talking true NorCal: Within about 150-200 miles of the Oregon border, the Bay Area only calls itself NorCal so it can lay claim to all the resources up here.

There are many great areas with potential, but as far as a specific area that I have personal knowledge of, the Mt. Shasta Vista/Big Springs area has a lot of potential and most of the cons that I have come up with can be overcome with good planning (especially if you use the knowledge-base that Paul so graciously oversees for us here).

The actual Mt. Shasta Vista "subdivision" consists of a number of 2-3 ac parcels in the high desert area in the rain shadow of Mt. Shasta. The parcels list for $7000-$15000 but can usually be had for ~$4-$5000 if you can pay up front, sometimes for much less. The only thing that the POA is responsible for is basic maintenance of the road network.

I'll admit that a big draw-back is lack of water - wells are typically 300'-700' deep. That being said, four lots can be fed by one well, so the cost can be split between a few families. If you really commit to the permaculture principles and patterns, you can do very well with what water is available to you from rainwater collection and the occasional use of the well. Of course this wouldn't be instantaneous, it would be more like you are weaning yourself off the well as you establish better and better designs/soils/systems/etc.

Another con is the wind that the area receives regularly, but once again this can be offset by proper design and it is also a viable energy input to the property.

Also, the soil is not wonderful - sandy volcanic soil that needs lots of organic matter added to it. The land will not want for a lot of minerals for a long time, though.

The final problem to overcome, and I'll admit that it has the potential to be a big one, is the good ole' government - bureaucracy is always a pain to deal with, and CA seems to revel in coming up with as many random convoluted rules to follow as they can. This aside, the area is a very live-and-let-live kind of place, very different from the metropolitan masses that most people associate CA with. There is actually an Owner-Builder Clause which basically states that they can only inspect the building once you are finished and all building methods are acceptable as long as they don't present a hazard to life or limb (read the whole thing here: http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/st/ca/st/b400v10/st_ca_st_b400v10_3_sec002.htm specifically R301.1.1.1 Alternative provisions for limited-density owner-built rural dwellings ) The big obstacle to this is right now the county building department says that they don't recognize this part of the CA building code! Well, I think that a little grassroots local political activism could fix that pretty quickly. The county has a population of only 45000 with the majority (~30000) not living in any kind of incorporated town - the biggest city, Yreka, has ~8000 residents.

Even though it sounds extremely remote, the area is only a couple miles from a well maintained Hwy, Hwy 97, and less then 15 miles from I-5 which is the major transport route from Mexico all the way up into Canada.

There's a burgeoning natural community developing in the area which I think will soon reach "critical mass" for real self-sustaining community.

The list of natural attractions is amazing:
Snowsports - either back-country or at the local ski-park.
Watersports - everything from large lakes to extreme kayak worthy white water
Natural Beauty - some of the largest stretches of public lands around, low population density and some amazing views even without hiking (check out Shasta Vista Dr, Montague CA on Google street view and look around, you'll see what I mean)
The list goes on and on, a visit is the best way to get a real idea of the area. If you ever do come to check it out, PM me and I'll let you in on a couple of the areas that are local favorites rarely mentioned in the presence of outsiders!


Do you Hugel?

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.  ~Willa Cather, 1913

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.  ~John Muir

My Project Page: http://www.permies.com/t/15915/projects/Mnewby-Projects
Dennis Lanigan


Joined: Mar 09, 2012
Posts: 143
Location: SE Minnesota
    
  10
I would encourage looking at Thurston Co. WA, especially near Olympia, WA. I lived here for sixteen years and don't plan on moving soon.

Here's one interesting example: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Olympia/10323-Tilley-Rd-S-98512/home/22098704

Be sure to do a web soil survey of any land you find on the cheap in Thurston Co. If you have any questions about Olympia/Thurston Co. feel free to ask.
Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
robert anteau wrote:Hello Alex,

I am toying with an idea just like your own. I was in fact in WA looking at land last summer. I am trying for a summer 2014 move. I had envisioned a 5 acre at a minimum. I have to say I am more interested in property that could be sub-divided as I believe that leads to the least amount of conflict. My reply may be slow sometimes as I am currently living in Amsterdam and work keeps me busy.

REgards,
Robert



As was I (looking at land in WA and OR last summer). We're about to list our home (we're pocketing the equity and downsizing our monthly expenses), and expect to be ready to buy around the same time (summer 2014), but not necessarily move right away. I've been thinking it makes sense to find land first and then see who fits in with it (there are too many variables the other way around), kind of the way Rob Roy of Cordwood fame did it (he got land under contract and then advertised sub-divisible shares in Mother Earth News). So, if anyone has an angle on a specific piece of property in a rainy portion of WA, OR, New England or Hawaii, please let me know.
robert anteau


Joined: Jan 09, 2013
Posts: 4
That makes sense to me Alex,

I have to say I am only interested in the Pacific Northwest and if you go that route I would very much like to chat about it. That said for sure your approach makes sense, a dialogue about the subject when there is actually land makes more sense. Feel free to contact me at anteau45@google.com when the moment arrives for a serious discussion. I in turn will look for land as well along those lines. Do you have a specific size in mind already.

Regards,
Robert

Alex Love wrote:
robert anteau wrote:Hello Alex,

I am toying with an idea just like your own. I was in fact in WA looking at land last summer. I am trying for a summer 2014 move. I had envisioned a 5 acre at a minimum. I have to say I am more interested in property that could be sub-divided as I believe that leads to the least amount of conflict. My reply may be slow sometimes as I am currently living in Amsterdam and work keeps me busy.

REgards,
Robert



As was I (looking at land in WA and OR last summer). We're about to list our home (we're pocketing the equity and downsizing our monthly expenses), and expect to be ready to buy around the same time (summer 2014), but not necessarily move right away. I've been thinking it makes sense to find land first and then see who fits in with it (there are too many variables the other way around), kind of the way Rob Roy of Cordwood fame did it (he got land under contract and then advertised sub-divisible shares in Mother Earth News). So, if anyone has an angle on a specific piece of property in a rainy portion of WA, OR, New England or Hawaii, please let me know.
robert anteau


Joined: Jan 09, 2013
Posts: 4
My apologies That email is anteau45@gmail.com
Erin Yeakel


Joined: Dec 27, 2012
Posts: 1
hey Alex. We are a family of three, a couple and a 2 year old. We currently own 6 acres in Quilcene, wa which is in Jefferson County. We are living on the Oregon Coast right now in Tillamook County and we are landless here. We are looking to share land with a few families and had set up the same idea, that the land between 20 and 30 acres would be owned in the form of a land trust and each family would own their own acre or two and the rest would be shared in the trust. Many local land trusts have great models for this.

I have a lot of info about both the counties mentioned above. Jefferson County has already established co-operatives and there are a few strawbale homes that have been approved by the county in near by Port Townsend. There is also a healthy community of young people here and a great organic agriculture movement. The only downsides are a lot of driving. Way too spread out, unless you live in Port Townsend proper, where you wont be able to find 20-30 acres at a decent price, if at all. This means people can get quite isolated, there is a general feeling of lack of community as everyone is nestled into their own separate 5 acres.

Here in Tillamook County, I know of no straw bale homes, not to say that they are not possible. Land is a bit more expensive then up in Washington, but there is an amazing community here as well. Many elders are here with a huge amount of community organization experience. We could use some more young people, but they are slowly trickling in. I think the land prices are hard for some young people to afford. There is a budding agriculture movement, some long time farms but not as many as up in Washington. Things are really close-in here in Nehalem where we live and you could easily spend less then 2 hours in your car for a whole week, where in Washington 2 hours could have been a daily average. I think there is more energy in the air here for land sharing.

Both areas have great rainfall, more in Oregon. Both areas have access to organic food and gardening products, building materials. Each has great positives and each has its downfall. We are still unsure of where we want to settle, so I think what will decide this is which place can we find people who are really interested in throwing the towel down and digging into this cooperative experience. Community is everything and it can change your whole life. Can't wait to find others that really care about the experience.
I will send you links or info when I come across good land for sale regardless of whether or not we ever team up.

Our situation is. we would need to sell our land in Quilcene in order to buy into another piece. We could have about 90k to put into land and buildings.
Good luck and keep in touch!
e.
Molli Vandehey


Joined: Mar 14, 2013
Posts: 2
our family is super interested in joining/ forming a family-friendly community in the pacific northwest. we are 3 kids, 2 adult,s a cat and a dog. we have no specific experience with farming and natural building but are obsessed with observing, reading mother earth magzine, and watching youtube videos. we are low on cash but are willing to sell everything we own for the right place. i can write grants and have TONS of ideas for raising money, with the right group/ location/ plan.... let's get this thing going!!!
Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
Just an update: We're just back from the Big Island of Hawaii. We were looking at land and doing some fact finding. I think we've come to the conclusion that there are some definite advantages to Hawaii, but that, on balance, it's not for us. So far as Vermont/rural New England is concerned, while we love the culture, we feel that the long, harsh winters would become the defining reality of life. So, even though I am frustrated by the high land prices and restrictive land use regulation, and hate, hate, hate the water use laws in Washington/Oregon, that's really where our heart has always been. I guess we just needed to take another long look around to really be sure of that.
Dennis Lanigan


Joined: Mar 09, 2012
Posts: 143
Location: SE Minnesota
    
  10
Alex, if you're referring to rain water collection in WA, which the State used to say it egregiously controlled, this is no longer the case. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html
Alex Love


Joined: Nov 24, 2012
Posts: 9
Dennis Lanigan wrote:Alex, if you're referring to rain water collection in WA, which the State used to say it egregiously controlled, this is no longer the case. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html


This is a recent change/clarification which allows for ROOFTOP water harvesting only. That such an announcement was even necessary illustrates the problem. Somebody else owns the water that falls on your land, and you do not even have a right to the reasonable, non-dimminishing use thereof. You have to apply for a permit, which is based upon a first in time, first in right system (which leads to any number of perversions, some of which I outline above ... riparian rights in the east of the country are a much more balanced approach). Sure you can have a well, and don't need a permit to irrigate up to half an acre (presumptively, above what you can accomplish with roof water?), but then you are dependent upon the continued availability of that technology, upon nobody else overdrawing the aquifer (a problem which is going to be reaching critical mass in the plains states), and are at the mercy of any pollution of the aquifer (which is such a common unpriced externality in our capitalist system). And, by the way, not giving the land the benefit of slowing down the runoff to prevent erosion and allow for full utilization of the irrigation water. So, yeah, I'm sorry to say that it's still a problem.
Sepp Mollison


Joined: Mar 25, 2013
Posts: 3
I apologize if this was already posted, I read for about 20 minutes then scanned through posts and didn't see this information. Well BOTH Washington and Oregon have mandatory building codes now. Some Counties may not be policing as much but they are on the books so to speak and I would guess they will be used to go after off griders. I knew a guy who lived near Wenatchee who was harassed off his off grid home.

I made this map.. it is roughly based on building codes listed here (http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/building-codes/). This is just a rough by no means complete. Red= Codes for all , Yellow= no building codes for single family dwelling but plumbing & electrical codes, Green= No Codes for anything. In the green & yellow states there are still localities and some counties that have restrictions.


Hope this helps.

To note most all areas in the US have septic codes.. so green states still police septic and waster water discharge by EPA mandate. Get around that with a compost toilet!
Steven Johnson


Joined: Mar 14, 2012
Posts: 59
Location: south east mo
Hi Alex and all, I too, tend to like the pnw. We have been living in northern ca, and the basic climate is similar to the northwest so it seems comfortable but the like someone pointed out, the better places are expensive and over regulated.
The thing we would need is a combination of water and isolation and acess to some of the civilization that we all seem to have a love hate relationship with.
I think that the legal mechanism we need is the key. We have to eventually assert our freedom to live free as much as possible. That means free of money, and that is only illegal to some degree, like in having to pay minimum taxes, but it is widely frowned upon by those who put all their faaith in the money system.
I'd like to start a company that people could buy shares in. The company would first hold the money, and then buy land with it, and people who had purchased a share would be able to live on the land in a small private space, where they would be able to do anything they want, within the permaculture parameters set by the company. and would share the rest of the land for growing whatever grows well in the space and setting up a productive permaculture type ecosystem.
My idea is based on freedom, opportunity, and no requirements for participation. When you buy in, you get a place to live forever, a building or a mobile tiny house maybe, as long as you pay your share of the taxes and other state required expenses. you only get to restrict other people on your small home space. Probably about 5000 ft sq. On the rest of the property, people can work on the shared longterm permaculture projects and can eat from the harvest, but cannot keep other members from doing the same. Everyone gives up control of the use of the productive capacity of the land. Everyone gets to use it.
My land has been sold now and I might have to buy something myself and start trying to attract others, but it would be great to be part of a group who feels the same way, made up of people who can contribute to the money needed so that we can get a better place. Is anybody ready to do this?
I have seen some interesting looking properties in the South west parts of oregon, and like parts of North ca too. Many places in the mountains and forests would allow a pretty large buffer area for privacy and grazing and also some better watered creek bottoms etc. Each site would have to be evaluated individually. It may be that some of the ruined, poorly harvested timber lands that sell very cheaply in such areas could be renovated into very productive land by a few dedicated permies intent on developing their skills and knowledge.
One other thing. Someone on a permies link suggested the ozarks, and I have been searching the land sites there. There are some very interesting places back in the woods with houses,or little hunting cabins, water, and very little de facto regulation. Often the land sells for near to $1000/acre. Most of the problems with regulation come along when you try to sell the land. And I would set up the company to never sell the land. That is what is needed for a permanent culture.
Staci McDaniel


Joined: Apr 24, 2013
Posts: 3
This doesn't address the desire for separate parcels/individual ownership, but there's an unusual opportunity in Lane County, Oregon right now. Here's a link to the listing I found:

http://www.johnlscott.com/propertydetail.aspx?IS=1&ListingID=301571514

The property itself is just over 22 acres, southwest of Eugene, located in prime vineyard territory. It has a mix of forest and open land that would need to be cultivated more for crops or animals, although there are already established garden beds and fruit trees on-site. In addition to being on a creek, there is also established spring water with spring water rights/easements that would come with the property.

What makes me think that this could be a fabulous possibility for an intentional community is that it's currently home to seven (yes, 7!) two-bedroom cabins that appear to have been built in the 1920s. They are currently used as rental properties, which means that the county has already acknowledged them as legal dwellings - something that should give future owners more "rights" in terms of replacing/renovating the buildings for future occupancy. The place IS fairly run-down, judging by the pictures, so some capital and a lot of elbow grease would probably be necessary to make it a place where you'd thoroughly enjoy living. That said, if seven individuals/families each contributed $57,000, you'd be able to buy the property outright AND have $120,000 for supplies and repairs. If you had to fully finance the purchase at 4%, the residents of each cabin would only have to contribute $190/month to make the mortgage payments.

You'll find lots of organic and family farms in Lane County, along with other intentional communities with all sorts of wonderful missions, including the Alpha Farm, which was established in 1972 and runs a bookstore and cafe on the way to the Oregon coast. There are several well-established farmer's markets (including the fantastic Eugene Saturday Market) in the area, too, which would provide an opportunity for you to sell what you grow if you're interested in generating income that way. There are biodynamic farming groups, the Organic Seed People company, along with Glorybee Foods (a great resource for guidance and supplies if you want to try your hand at raising bees). And one of my favorite things in the area is BRING Recycling (http://www.bringrecycling.org/) which manages a lot of recycling efforts in Lane County and provides a place for everyone to shop for salvaged and surplus building materials, garden supplies and other reusable items at a very, very good price.

Yes, building codes and zoning restrictions can be difficult to navigate here. But since this already has the footprint of a multi-family living arrangement, you wouldn't have to fight nearly so hard as you would to establish a community on an undeveloped tract of land. Just thought I'd pass it along for people to think about!
Tony Tyler


Joined: May 17, 2013
Posts: 3
My wife and three boys are very interested in this thread. We are ready to buy/build, especially off grid in an IC. I have some fun hobbies that can add pizzaz on an owner/builder project. (I attached a pyrographic floor medallion and an inlay in Corian that I did on our countertops when I remodeled.

We are currently living in Vancouver, WA by Portland. Love to hear from whoever on this thread is serious about moving forward.


[floor medallion.jpg]

[countertop inlay.jpg]

robert anteau


Joined: Jan 09, 2013
Posts: 4
Tony Tyler wrote:My wife and three boys are very interested in this thread. We are ready to buy/build, especially off grid in an IC. I have some fun hobbies that can add pizzaz on an owner/builder project. (I attached a pyrographic floor medallion and an inlay in Corian that I did on our countertops when I remodeled.

We are currently living in Vancouver, WA by Portland. Love to hear from whoever on this thread is serious about moving forward.


While I am currently overseas I will be moving to the Pac Northwest sometime between now and June 2014 (I live in Amsterdam as an expat)I am certainly interested in a serious discussion, my email is in this thread, feel free to email me directly and we can see if our ideas mesh, we could also do something like a skype call or what not
Miles Flansburg
steward

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 2269
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
    
  57
Staci, That is a fantastic property ! I hope you can get some folks together and grab that one.
Bob Louis


Joined: May 22, 2013
Posts: 47
Location: S.W. Washington State
Double posted. Is there an option to delete?


"If we use our minds in a clear coherent manner, we will not accept the unacceptable."
~John Trudell
Bob Louis


Joined: May 22, 2013
Posts: 47
Location: S.W. Washington State
I am in Wahkiakum County and have been for just over 40 years. It was wide open on building codes when I got here, and though that ship has sailed, I think it's still better than most other counties in WA. I have my own nine acres already that I am trying to set up a base for a cooperative mushroom and permaculture farm. I have written about that some in "introductions," and "earthen floors." There are two pieces of land I know of near me right now, but how suited to your needs they would be, I can't say.

I guess I'm just joining this conversation, since this county was mentioned in the OP. I only just joined this forum. Learned quite a lot already. It's seems to be a great resource.
John Rogers


Joined: Mar 23, 2013
Posts: 11
Staci McDaniel wrote:This doesn't address the desire for separate parcels/individual ownership, but there's an unusual opportunity in Lane County, Oregon right now. Here's a link to the listing I found:

http://www.johnlscott.com/propertydetail.aspx?IS=1&ListingID=301571514

The property itself is just over 22 acres, southwest of Eugene, located in prime vineyard territory. It has a mix of forest and open land that would need to be cultivated more for crops or animals, although there are already established garden beds and fruit trees on-site. In addition to being on a creek, there is also established spring water with spring water rights/easements that would come with the property.

Nice find! Very similar to what I'm looking for, though I'm not in a position to acquire a property yet. Thanks for sharing it!!!
Staci McDaniel


Joined: Apr 24, 2013
Posts: 3
John Rogers wrote:Nice find! Very similar to what I'm looking for, though I'm not in a position to acquire a property yet. Thanks for sharing it!!!


I know what you mean - I wish I could buy it myself, but it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. I hope someone from here - or a "friend of a friend" from this forum - might be able to make use of the property. Better that than it winding up in the hands of a developer or someone who may not see the same kind of promise in it that we do.
Vladimir Horowitz


Joined: Feb 19, 2012
Posts: 23
Location: N. Idaho, zone 5
Hi Alex, just wanted to toss my 2 cents in as we were in a similar land hunt situation 2 yrs ago. We were living in Bend, OR and at first wanting to relocate to land in W Oregon or big island of Hawaii(where I lived for a couple years). I read that HI is off your list and I understand. I love it there but not sure if I could settle there full time. If anyone is looking to move there though, Check out Puna on the big I, land is semi affordable there, it's beautiful and it's own wacky world. Also you could be self sufficient on an acre there, pretty easy to create abundance there.

We also looked at a lot of properties in SW Oregon(which I also love). Downsides there are: expensive!, most available land is steeply sloped, and regulations. We did a lot of research, talked to a lot of realtors and basically decided it wasn't feasible. Anywhere in Oregon you will have to face the department of environmental quality. If you buy bare land(we found a beautiful 15 acres by grants pass) first you must develop a building site, put in a road that a water pumper truck can turn around on, install a pond for said truck, apply with the forest service to get permission, then try and get a building permit. We were told all of this could take years and there is no guarantee that you will ever get approved. Much wiser is buying land that already has a permitted dwelling and then covertly doing what you want to. So after all that we crossed OR off our list and expanded the search.....

....we ended up in N Idaho, close to Canada. Property is waaaay cheaper, it is just as beautiful, and the county I live in has no building codes, no one gonna inspect anything at your place. For the price of 10 semi usable acres undeveloped acres in W Oregon, we got a level 10 acres of forest land, with a beautiful 3 yr old cabin, well drilled, access road put in, off grid solar system already setup and a small garden and greenhouse.

Anyways, hope something in here might be useful for someone, good luck on the property hunt! Don't forget to thoroughly study the codes/restrictions in the area you are looking at....
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
 
subject: Pacific Northwest Homestead Cooperative
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books