Foster ‘eco village’ demonstrates housing solution

Find out how a small development they call “Fosterville” might provide an economical housing option for outer East Portland …

Tucked in on a side street, a block south of SE Powell Boulevard in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, is a different model addressing housing density called the “Foster Village Co-op”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The nine people who share a third-of-an-acre community – in a ten-year-old “eco village” called “Foster Village Co-op”, or “Fosterville”, in the Foster-Powell neighborhood – say they’re creating a three-residence community around a central garden, with chickens and a dozen thriving fruit trees.

“We call ourselves ‘Fostervillains’, and today we’re celebrating our past, present, and future by hosting an open house,” exclaimed seven-year resident Sarabell Eisenfeld.

Showing one of the “truth windows” built into the walls of a straw-bale house in “Fosterville” is resident Sarabell Eisenfeld.

“Between the houses there was gravel, concrete, and asphalt; it was hacked out and cleared, and we took down the fences between the lots to make a large community garden, where we planted fruit trees that are now between seven and 10 years old, and they are bearing lots of fruit,” Eisenfeld told East Portland News.

The number of residents at “Fosterville” has varied from seven to eleven. Those living there make decisions collectively, and pool resources to buy bulk food and gardening supplies, she said.

Guests mingle with residents in the community garden area; this open space was once divided by a fence, pavement, and driveways.

Skills they hope to share with others include sustainable living practices, such as catching rainwater for use, and installing grey-water systems.

In addition to celebrating and modeling their way of cooperative urban living, another reason the residents held the open house, Eisenfeld remarked, was to encourage backers to help the co-op buy one of the three houses.

“We call it the ‘Orange House’ – the first permitted straw-bale house built in Multnomah County – and it’s being sold by the co-builder, who is moving on and is ready to sell the house to the community,” Eisenfeld revealed.

“Fosterville” residents hope to buy, and collectively own, this house, since the current owner is moving away.

“We, as a community of individuals, activists, and educators, are seeking contributions in the form of loans, so we can buy this house – because we’re a little ‘ahead of the curve’ for traditional mortgage lenders, who have no experience with ‘collective ownership’ of a property,” explained Eisenfeld. Or with straw-bale houses, either, no doubt!

For more information about this project, or to visit this community, first check out their website: CLICK HERE.

Entertaining at their open house are these three musicians playing as resident Sarabell Eisenfeld (far right) sings.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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