Who we are
Doug & Karen Jacobsen, Zander and Cedric
Karen and Doug recall attending an early informational meeting for the community in which they looked around the roomful of interested people and thought "we're never going to get a house." Ultimately, they became senior members of the community! Their two sons are Zander (15) and Cedric (13). Zander and Cedric both attended the award-winning John Muir School - an outdoor-based K-8 magnet school, and are now at Ashland Middle and High Schools, respectively. Zander enjoys playing music (piano and bass), speech and debate, and is goalkeeper for the soccer team. He is good about pitching in to help in the community. Cedric enjoys soccer and track. He enjoys his many friends in and outside of cohousing.
Karen is 52 years old and has been a labor and delivery nurse for the past 18 years. Karen enjoys working with women at a powerful and important time in their lives. She is interested in conscious parenting, small trips with family and friends, speaking Spanish, riding bikes, creating art and gardening.
Doug is 59 years old and is a licensed clinical social worker and now manages a forensic mental health program. Before all that he spent a dozen years in the construction trades and attended college late in life. He had the good fortune to live in the S.F. Bay area, Seattle, and the U.S. Virgin Islands after leaving his hometown in the Cleveland area. His non-work interests include reading, music, parenting, eating/cooking, and basketball (sadly no longer able to play). Doug actually enjoys the consensus decision-making process and has particpated in collectives in the past.
They shared an interest in cohousing for some years before the opportunity presented itself locally. We moved to the valley from the Bay Area in 2000, living in Medford for seven years before moving into cohousing here. They are privileged to have the benefit of living near Karen's mother Teddi here in Ashland.
Linda-Grace (aka LG), Tia and Luna Wilhelm
I have lived in co-housing with my daughters Tia (18) and Luna (14) since 2010. My family was initially drawn to the project in the pre-development phase by the eco-friendly and people-centered design. We love the common sense value of sharing resources (tools, recreation, kitchen gadgets and staples etc,) and the intention that perpetuates for reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our social capital. These have been values of mine for as long as I can remember. I am a contemporary, independent mom working as a medical assistant and yoga teacher to support my kids growing up in beautiful Ashland. I value quality time with family and friends and living here has been instrumental in keeping that value alive.
Tia and Luna love the independence they have gained from living here. They can get themselves to school, sporting practices, the Tuesday Grower’s Market and downtown all within minutes of home. The Community is a kid-friendly hub for gathering, playing, socializing and brainstorming homework. Having my kids so supported by the larger community design has given me time to pursue my interests- hiking, playing music (cello for the last 2 years) tending the vegetable garden, reading, writing or having friends over for food and games or massage/bodywork trades. I love the occasional, impromptu dance parties! I can often be found in the community garden, repairing bikes on the front porch and playing cards or picnicking in community spaces with family and neighbors. Harmonious relations between neighbors are important to me and I advocate for Non-violent Communication (NVC) and other clearing models to keep ourcommunity a nurturing, warm and comfortable space to unwind and rejuvenate.
I grew up in Evanston, IL, went to school in Boston and stayed for 26 years until moving to Ashland in November 2003. I was drawn to Ashland in large part because of the opportunities I saw to create and be part of community. I see co-housing as a tremendous way of creating connection, while diminishing my use of the earth’s resources. I feel blessed to have found such an amazing group of people. I’m a clinical psychologist and after many years doing psychotherapy, I now provide professional development and executive coaching and training. A particular area of interest is the development of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. I sing with the Rogue Valley Chorale. I’m thrilled with the accessibility of great theatre here. I love to travel, read, and when my back cooperates, bike, hike and ski.
I am very happy to be living at Ashland Cohousing where I am convenor of the community garden team and care for much of our edible landscaping. I am the originator of this cohousing project and served as investor, designer, promoter and project manager during the 5 years of its creation. I was honored that they agreed to have me live in the community with them after all that and am ever grateful for these loving, trusted friends. I am a permaculture teacher and designer and work on planning for alternative sustainable land use and forming communities. I have lived in Ashland since 1992, raised my son Julien here, have been on the Ashland Planning Commission for 10 years and am involved in many groups and volunteer activities. Before that I lived in Santa Cruz, CA for 17 years where I was a student, small business consultant and community organizer. My interests include camping, dancing, discussing ideas and good food. I am particularly interested in ecovillages on the west coast and would like very much to be involved in creating the one of my dreams.
Claire Bloom and Matt Hunter
Matt, Claire, Sebastian, and Arlo
Claire (40) - I was born in Washington, D.C. but grew up in India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Bethesda, MD. My path to Southern Oregon was just as far-flung: I graduated from Wesleyan University (where I met Matt) in 1999, and lived in Denver, Boston, Italy, Santa Fe, and New Zealand before landing here in 2006. I teach middle school Social Studies and Health. I play with the samba band and taiko drumming group, have dance parties with my kids, and make my own yogurt.
Matt (42) - I was born in Hershey, PA, but grew up in Germany and Switzerland, before moving back to the US at age 7. I have a degree in French from Wesleyan University (it has not proved to be very useful, but that was never the intention!). I spent several years following an outdoor education and recreation path. While living in Santa Fe, NM, I went back to school to learn about natural building and permaculture. After landing in Oregon, I spent 8.5 years working as a timber framer before starting my own company, Ashland Post and Beam.
Sebastian (8) and Arlo (5) run out the door and in and out of our neighbors' houses. They get to be outside all the time in a safe space, and work and play with babies, teenagers, and adults. They are truly growing up in the proverbial village.
We were together for most of those post-college adventures, and got to Ashland just in time for the cohousing community to break ground. We found out about it while we were still staying in a motel, looking for a place to live; the chance to live like this is part of what kept us in Ashland. It was great before we had kids. It may be even better now that we do
Michael and Nancy
We moved to Ashland from New York City. After a while here, we began to miss the neighborhood feel of our apartment in Queens. We wanted to find a place where our two small children could knock on a neighbor's door to play with other kids. We found that, and much more, in the Ashland co-housing community. It seems like a simple idea, to know and trust your neighbors and to allow your children to go out and play. But in our day and age, it's hard to find the kind of trust and support we've discovered here. Michael grew up in rural Wisconsin and Nancy grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Much to our surprise, we found the perfect balance of small town life and big city neighborhood in Ashland's co-housing community.
I am a self supporting mom with a teenager. I have lived here for 4 years. I love my cozy in-floor heated passive solar light house with great insulation between neighbor walls. I love that I can come home from a busy day twice a week and know that dinner will be ready at 6:00pm without fail and that more often than not I can just eat and someone else cooks and cleans. I love the company at the community meals, sharing the days and weeks events with people who care about me. I love that people are genuine in their commitment to honest communication and integrity in relationships to the best of each of our abilities. I really love the plenary meetings, as it continues to amaze me how a group of more than 20 adults can come to consensus on so many issues regarding shared space, time and money. Living in cohousing with this group of folks has been the best (and cheapest) interpersonal skills therapy I have ever had. I believe (and hope my community agrees!), I am a better person for it and hope to continue to grow here in this supportive environment.
Robert, Malena, Tenzin, and Lucinda
Malena first came to cohousing as a renter in 2009. She grew up in Mexico till she was 7 and was accustomed to the idea of lots of people around. She also used to work in theatre. Therefore the idea of co-haibitating made sense to her. Robert and she met in nursing school and Robert joined the gang in 2011. Though Robert is naturally a bit of a hermit, after renting a home here with Malena he realized that for his personality, a little "easy-to-come-by" interaction did not hurt. In the summer of 2017 they were happily able to buy a home in the community, and are now reaping the benefits of living in cohousing with two small children. The safety and love Tenzin (age 2) and Lucinda (2 months) receive is just one of the many reasons they can’t imagine moving out.