Intentional community: Evans Oaks site gets underway

September 2019 Posted in Other

Commuity members shoveling soil on the future Evans Oaks cottage community grounds. Melissa Wagoner

By Melissa Wagoner

“So often we dream about how we might want our future to form and most of the time that is as close as we get; dreaming.” 

This line was part of a speech Lisa Leslie – a founding member of Evans Oaks, an intentional community currently under construction in Silverton – gave at a recent groundbreaking celebration held in honor of the Evans Oaks community’s newly formed partnership with their new neighbors. 

“Those of you who are our immediate neighbors have had a front seat to the changes on this block and we really appreciate your patience as we have prepared for the coming year of construction,” Leslie said. “We also covet your tolerance for the dust, mud, noise and other disruption to come.”

The changes are already underway as builder Owen Von Flue prepares the land for the 11 small houses to come. And although the site is currently more deconstruction than construction, the end design – created by fellow founders Dana Smith and Victor Madge – hopes to harmonize with nature as much as possible, preserving a large native oak grove, for which the community is named, as a first step. 

“In the end we will have another beginning,” Leslie said. “When we move into our homes we will have the joy of making the land beautiful again and of refining our relationships together.”

Those relationships, and the new ones that are being built with the community members around the development, were evidenced by the sheer number of attendees at the celebration. 

“It’s so cool. I love it,” Kendall Christensen – who, with her husband John and daughter Annika, recently relocated to a house abutting the Evans Oaks property – said. 

“It’s been really cool to see everything happen,” John agreed. “We’re going to put in a gate.”

That gate is just one way Evans Oaks hopes to open up to the neighborhood around it. They also plan to install a walking path through the center of the development as a way of welcoming guests. 

“Already, in this neighborhood, we neighbor well, so it is obvious that our community will have a solid foundation for the relationships we dream of with each other and with all of those around us,” Leslie said, gesturing at those around her.

Six years in the planning, Evans Oaks – originally known as Points Beyond – was dreamed up by several Silverton households enjoying a potluck. 

“Reveling in the good food and friendship, someone suggested that it might not be crazy to want to find a way to live like that every day,” Leslie said. “From there the adventure of forming this group began and we have navigated these years through all the high points and challenges to today.”

No longer just a dream, the Evans Oaks group dug golden shovels into the soil to commemorate the beginning of a new way of life for them all.

“Our hope is to offer a different way than we often see in our country where people seem to be so fearful of others and appear to want to isolate from each other,” Leslie said.

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