A Neighborly Neighborhood

Otmar_Panorama_1200There’s a lot of talk about getting to know your neighbors—to work on projects and share goods, tools and expertise. It’s a social investment for harder times or emergencies, to feel more secure, and/or to enjoy the convivality. Here’s a neighborhood in south Corvallis, near Williamette Park, that’s living it.

In June we stayed with our longtime friend Otmar Ebenhoech. He’s an electric vehicle whiz, and was our 2006 guest on Return of the Electric Car (#52). If you look closely at the panorama (top photo), you’ll find four electric vehicles in and around his Garage Mahal.

Along the private drive between his property and the park (photo collage top), neighbors raise chickens, goats and food. One neighbor runs a local farmstand Tuesday nights in growing season, which has become a friendly weekly touch-in for neighbors and other friends. Down the drive, the Gypsy Chicks Chicken Coop has an outdoor honor-system refrigerator for eggs. Now, that’s seriously local!

At the next corner, Patricia Parcells and Christine Robins have the city’s first privately-owned community garden, along with their own hundreds of plants—they’ll have fruit and veggies galore for years to come (collage middle). Across the street is the CoHo Ecovillage, a cohousing community (collage bottom). Some cohousers have plots in the Sunshine Corner Community Garden, while Patricia and Christine have joined in on some of the CoHo groups.

May there be many more neighborly neighborhoods like this in the days to come.

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