Yesterday Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly declared a stay on evicting people from tiny houses, RVs, and tents on private property! It has been illegal for people to occupy tiny homes in Portland, OR according to 29.50.050 Illegal Residential Occupancy, a snippet of code in the Portland Maintenance Code. Portland declared a state of emergency for housing two years ago and there was a recognition that it was backwards to be kicking people out of the affordable housing options they'd created for themselves. So yesterday Commissioner Eudaly agreed to Leaven Community's request that we be supported as we step out of the shadows. She announced they'll work with us to figure out a long-term regulatory solution and meanwhile they're going to stop enforcing Title 29.
Several weeks ago I was interviewed by Lauren Modery of Good Magazine for a piece on the true costs of building or buying and dwelling in a tiny house... She did a great job identifying the material costs, time costs, labor costs, and parking costs, many of which are glossed over when the media gets captivated by tiny homes.
I'm already looking forward to the second Tiny House Fest Vermont which will be over Labor Day weekend. The Tiny House Collaborative will be leading a Tiny House 101 Workshop on Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2 and the fest is on Sunday, September 3. Can you join us?! Mark your calendar now to join in on the fun!Additionally, the coordinators of Tiny House Fest Vermont have put out a call for tiny houses to be available for tours at the event. If you (or someone you know) has a tiny house to share and show off at the Fest, read on and get in touch with the event organizers.
Yesterday was Beltane (AKA May Day) and it marked the one year anniversary of starting the build for our new tiny house, T42. To celebrate, we want to share photos with you! In mid-March, Kristina of Kristina Lynn Photography came to do a photo shoot. As I've hinted at in my Niche Newsletters, Kristina is a photographer who especially loves taking photos of people in their homes and recently she's become intrigued by tiny house dwellers. So it was an awesome opportunity to have her come shoot our little house. She captured some truly fabulous shots and we're excited to share them with you!
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of tiny house events on both coasts! Four weeks ago today I was headed to the East Coast for Tiny House 101 in DC. Three weeks ago today I was on my way to Vermont to teach Tiny House Design-Build at Yestermorrow. During the 2-week course we constructed the shell of a tiny house on wheels for a fellow named Nick who, at 26 years old, is super clever about establishing housing stability and flexibility. I wish I had been so wise at that age! During the evenings we had studio time to explore tiny house design considerations and students worked on creating their own tiny house designs. If you'd like a sense of the day-by-day flow of this course, you can check out previous posts about Tiny House Design-Build.
We wrapped up there a week ago tomorrow and I flew across the country again to be back home in time to speak at the Tiny House Conference, which was in Portland this year. I've been at all four of the Tiny House Conferences now and it's neat how it alternates between the East Coast and the West Coast. I spoke about Tiny House Community on Saturday and then facilitated the Open Space session on Sunday. During the rest of the time I joined Track C, a new addition to the Conference this year for those of us who are already living or building tiny. It was fun to have conversations about the future of the movement and to swap stories of our biggest mistakes! The Conference is always a great opportunity to connect with fascinating folks from all over the place and I look forward to hearing updates about people's tiny house journeys!
On Monday BA Norrgard and I led a Tiny House Community & Zoning Workshop through the Tiny House Collaborative. We explored various tiny house community models, discussed zoning challenges and opportunities, and laid out some steps (and tips) for creating tiny house community. We were fortunate to have an awesome venue at the Cully Grove Common House so we were able to talk about creating community in the community living room of a very cool community! We also had some special guests join us, including Alexis Deharts Stephens of Tiny House Expedition who (along with her partner Christian) has probably visited every tiny house community in the country! We also had a panel discussion with four community members from two different tiny cohousing communities in Portland. Thanks again, Tony, Karin, Lori and Kyra! It was fun to show people our tiny house community and to have Pam Westra show off three of the tinies at Tiny Digs, Portland's other tiny house hotel. (I've written about Caravan - The Tiny House Hotel in the past and I love that tiny houses are so popular in Portland that we now have TWO tiny house hotels!)
On Tuesday I attended the Build Small Coalition meeting, which is a reconvened group previously dubbed the Space-Efficient Housing Working Group. This is Portland's collection of professionals working to support tiny houses, ADUs, micro apartments, and other space-efficient creative housing solutions. It was great to see familiar faces and hear their updates as well as meeting new folks who are taking on neat projects. I look forward to seeing what we accomplish this coming year! I have a hunch it's going to be another big year for small homes!
This past weekend I connected with my colleagues (and friends) BA Norrgard and Lee Pera to teach a Tiny House 101 Workshop in Washington, D.C. Our twenty students joined us from various locales ranging from down the street to Florida to Brazil! I look forward to teaching a Tiny House 101 Workshop again in June in Denver, CO with BA Norrgard. If you'd like to join us, please register now so we know you're coming!
People often tell me that they'd love to taken one of our tiny house workshops but they can't afford it. I respond by telling them that if they're serious about building a tiny house they really can't afford NOT to come to a workshop. The few hundred dollars they invest in the workshop will save them significant time, money, and heartache since they'll gather information and learn from other's mistakes. Fortunately, my friend and colleague Alek recently wrote this post about the benefits of taking one of our Tiny House Collaborative workshops. So in case you're not on the Tiny House Collaborative mailing list, I am cross-posting it here. Enjoy and feel free to respond in the comments. Thanks!"
On Friday, Dec 30th we moved T42 to her new spot where we're Creating a New Tiny Cohousing Community. Most years I make the transition between one year and the next with some quiet days of contemplation, reflection, and intention setting. This year Isha and I did those things, too, but our days weren't exactly quiet. Instead, we had two tiny houses in motion, which meant figuring, patience, a decent amount of physical labor in cold temperatures, and a lot of deep breaths.