The Crow House Collective in the Alberta neighborhood in Portland, Oregon is disbanding after two years of shared living, as members are getting ready to launch on various endeavors and international travel experiences. Members may regroup in a different location when they return. The current residents of the Crow House include Hope, Emile, Christa, Laura, Matt, and Christopher. Their ages range from the early 20's to early 40's. The Crow House is planted in the middle of the Alberta Arts District. What would otherwise be a very expensive area, this shared living experience drops the price of rent to only $300 each per month. Bills are split 6 ways, delicious home cooked meals ( usually shared ) are an everyday experience, and group outings are always being planned. Other than Hope and Emile ( a couple ) sharing a room, each resident gets their own private room. The basement has been transformed and devided into an art space, music rehearsal room, shared internet station / movie room, and even a guest room for me during August 2007. There is at least one backyard camp fire each week, usually including music and sometimes even wine. Before their decision to disband, they had 6 egg-producing chickens, a garden attempt which was hindered by a large tree, a compost system, rasberry bushes galore, many visitors, and now lots of memories. Living with 5 other people has its share of challenges, but the positives outweigh the negatives exponentially. Sharing a living space enables residents to learn new skills from each other ( new recipies, different ways to clean dishes, how to play an instrument, etc ). The financial savings coupled with sharing chores frees up many hours each week to work on personal projects, make art and music, plan for the future, and enjoy life.
Thanks to the members of the Crow House for being such generous hosts during my visit to Portland.