Frequently asked questions and links to other organizations.
What is adult cohousing?
Our village concept is based on a movement known as cohousing, a collaborative community style imported from Denmark. Here’s a pretty good description of cohousing. And here is a discussion in the AARP online bulletin.
Do I own my own unit?
Yes. Our members have a private, modern condo unit with a full kitchen and one or more bathrooms. Our condos feature aging-in-place principles like minimal stairs and accessible cabinets and appliances.
Do I also own a share of the community?
Yes. Along with other households, you own an “undivided” share of the common spaces, which include a dining/meeting room with a commercial-style kitchen, a living room/library, a media room with large-format TV screen, a craft and exercise room, laundry room, tool room, bike storage room, office, garage and storage cages, courtyard, roof deck, patio, gardens, hallways, walkways, elevator and utility areas.
How much will it cost?
Typically, cohousing projects cost about the same as comparable condominium projects. The individual units are often smaller, but there is more common space. Based on the size and specific finishes chosen, our units initially sold for between $355,000 and $720,000. Future resale prices will vary.
What about HOA fees?
Our initial monthly dues range from about $375 to $700, depending on the size of the home and what costs are covered. For example, many communities decide it is more efficient to have one hot water system for the whole building rather than by individual unit, and they include water heating costs in the HOA dues. While that adds to HOA dues, it actually costs people less than paying for water heaters individually. Our community sets up the HOA budget, and it needs to be approved by the State Department of Real Estate.
What about parking?
While many of us are planning on reducing or eliminating use of a private vehicle, each unit owns a single off-street, secured parking space. Some people have already left their cars behind, so we can have fewer spaces than units (by three spaces). We have intentionally located our project to be well served by public transit and private car-sharing services.
How big are the units?
We various unit sizes and configurations to accommodate the needs of our members. There are one- and two-bedroom units, some a third room that can be used as a bedroom or study. Unit sizes range from about 625 to 1250 square feet. We have about 5,000 square feet of common space, including a commercial-style kitchen and dining area, bike storage, craft and exercise spaces, living room/library area, a central courtyard, a rooftop deck and more. In our common space we also have two guest bedrooms available to reserve for family and friend.
Is this a care facility for people who can’t stay in their homes anymore?
No. We do not offer skilled nursing care, memory care or medical support. We are not a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), nor a retirement home or convalescent facility. We are a community of proactive adults who have decided to live in a tight-knit community of friends. It’s more about making the most of the “next third” of our lives. With features like aging-in-place design of individual units and a community of caring, helpful members, people will be able to stay in their homes longer than if they were isolated. It’s about finding fun and enrichment in life.
Do you prohibit children?
Absolutely not. We love children, and they are frequent visitors. We cater to adults 55 and older, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a child or younger person living in your unit with you. Under the law, 80 percent of our units must be occupied by at least one person who is 55 or older; 20 percent have no age restriction.
Is this just a Portland thing?
Cohousing is sweeping the nation. As of 2017, there were about 150 cohousing developments in operation and another 100 in various stages of development.
Would I be able to take extended trips?
Yes. Others in the community will gladly help keep an eye on your home while you are traveling. We have talked about setting up an international exchange with other cohousing communities around the world.
Where can guests stay?
We have two guest bedrooms for visiting friends and family or for potential caregiver staff in the future. This allows you to scale back your need for extra bedrooms.
Do I have to participate in community meals?
No, but you are encouraged to do so. It’s one of the best ways to increase socialization and reduce isolation. Currently, we have two planned community dinners each week, as well as others on special occasions. Members are expected to help with at least one meal each month.
How would I know if I’d like PDX Commons?
If you are interested in buying a unit that becomes available in the future, you would have a opportunities to meet current member and tour the building. This page describes the role of respect and responsibility when living in community and talks about the kind of people who thrive in collaborative communities.
How will this be different from a traditional retirement project like the Mirabella or Calaroga Terrace?
PDX Commons was designed by our members and is owned and operated by us. Everyone is a member of our Homeowners Association. There is no corporation or non-profit organization making decisions for us. We are driven by benefits to our members, not a corporate bottom line. Most importantly, PDX Commons is an intentional community. For us, a strong community is an explicit goal, not the lucky coincidence of having good neighbors.
Not only is cohousing a more pleasant and satisfying way to live, there are studies that show that living in a senior cohousing community is actually less expensive than comparable private alternatives. Look at this article.
Can I visit PDX Commons?
Yes, we give tours for interested parties upon request (with reasonable notice). We don’t, at this time, offer our guest rooms to visitors except for those already on our wait list. We have plenty of family and friends using the rooms for now. Contact us through this website (“Contact Us” page) to let us know you’d like a tour.
What does it take to get on your wait list?
It’s simple — you fill out a personal profile form and pay a one-time $50 fee. People on the wait list are notified before the general public when a unit becomes available for sale. We recommend that you consider whether cohousing is right for you before you sign up to be on our wait list.
Do you have a mailing list?
Yes, we have a mailing list for our quarterly electronic newsletter and possibly other announcements. We already have over 500 people on the list. Just let us know via this website if you’d like to be added.