Sunnyside Village Cohousing

Sunnyside Village Cohousing Origin Story

How and why something gets started can have ripple effects on it throughout it’s life time. So, once upon a time…

July, 2014, Dean Smith and I were just finishing a trip of a lifetime: traveling up the Rhine river on a riverboat cruise. It was memorable! As planned, we took a short flight to Berlin, Germany to visit a High School friend of Dean’s, Frank Fisher. Frank now lives in Berlin with his German wife. He was a professor of Political Science at Rutgers and has written many text books. He is a man Dean and I both admire and respect a lot. At one point we were seated at an outdoor café table, drinking beverages, talking and people watching.

Dean and I had been concerned about the future of our planet (or more accurately, the future of the human race on our planet) for a number of years and were active in the environmental movement. We could see major problems that were not being addressed at the administrative level as the CO2 levels continue to rise in the atmosphere. Frank agreed with us about all of our concerns. At one point in our conversation Frank said, “I think the future of democracy is in the ecovillages and cohousing communities.”

Dean and I looked at each other and said, “What’s an ecovillage and what’s a cohousing community?” When we returned to the United States, we gave ourselves the assignment of researching to see what Frank was talking about and if he could be right. We read books, looked at websites, attended trainings, and had some tours. We spend a weekend at an ecovillage, and visited several cohousing communities around the Puget Sound region.

We learned that both ecovillages and cohousing communities can have a lower carbon footprint, and help the environment. We also learned that ecovillages and cohousing communities govern themselves in an egalitarian way that honors and respects every member. These were qualities that we value and it seemed like an ideal way for us to live.

By 2016, we made the decision that we wanted to live in a cohousing community. After visiting many of the cohousing communities in our local area, we determined that there were none in our city, Everett. We decided it would be fun to see if we could start a cohousing community, since there have been no new communities for over 20 years in Snohomish County. That began our journey to actually starting a community. The passion for wanting to live in an ecologically sound way with people who respect and appreciate each other, diversity, social justice and the environment has been the driving force to continue the journey. We hope to be a role model in our community, a place where others can see how it is possible for a group of people to live equally together, making decisions together in harmony in a way that benefits them and the greater good.

One of the side effects of this journey is meeting remarkable people. When you cast your net out into the universe, looking for people who subscribe to these values, you meet amazing people!

It will be interesting to see the end of this story…or maybe it never ends, just continues as we live in cohousing with our friends.