Higher Ground Cohousing

29 Jul


From the outside Daggett Lane in Bend, Oregon, seems like an ordinary American suburban neighborhood. Trees are planted on each side of the wide street with typical American wooden houses facing a neat and clean pavement.  Behind these houses we found Higher Ground Cohousing Community – the only cohousing in Bend. The space and gardens on the backside of the houses are connected as common community space.

When we arrive to new communities on our trip it’s always hard to know what to expect and what will await us. In Higher Ground Cohousing we got a very warm welcome and we were all very overwhelmed by the community’s hospitality and interest in us and the life in the bus.

Click ‘Continue Reading’ to see more photos and read more about our experiences in the community.

Some of the community’s residents showed us around the area, which consists of 40 individual homes clustered around a common house, a big shared organic garden and some common facilities such as a hot tub, a sauna, a fireplace and resting areas. We were all very fond of the big green garden where beans, lettuce, potatoes and other goodies grow for community use. Each member of the community spends around two working hours a week in the garden every Saturday. A great activity where the community get together and work on their shared project.

The people living in Higher Ground Cohousing also showed a lot of interest in our little bus-community. When the word spread around the community that 8 Danes and 1 Dutch arrived in a red school bus, the neighbors started coming out of their houses and gathered around our parking spot. We showed people around our little rolling home, and they responded with ‘Wauw’, ‘this is awesome’, ‘this is so cool’ and ‘shouldn’t we also go on a bustrip like this?’ It was fun to discover that the interest and inspiration in each other’s projects went both ways.


We spend three great and inspiring nights in the community. We all got very inspired of the way the Higher Ground Cohousing community handles conflicts and problems by using Non Violent Communication, also known as NVC. The concept of NVC is to give more space to listen to and recognize different feelings and needs, instead of arguing.

We helped out in the garden and it was a great experience to use our bodies and do something more physical – as a break from all our discussions and things going on in our heads.


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Every Wednesday many of the Higher Ground residents gather for a community meal. Unfortunately we had to leave the Cohousing Wednesday morning, but we were lucky to get the chance to experience the concept of eating together either way. The Higher Ground-neighbors arranged a spontaneous potluck (in Danish: sammenskudsgilde) on Monday night, where everyone brought a delicious dish to the common house. There were different opinions on where the word ‘potluck’ comes from. Some said that it has a Native American origin, and others told us that it means that you should bring a pot, and if you’re lucky people like what you have cooked. I choose to believe in the last explanation. For the potluck we made some traditional Danish and Dutch dishes from back home and we had a great night.


After eating and drinking homemade food and wine, we all went in cars to a mount called Pilot Butte to have a great view of the mountains and to see the sunset and moonrise.

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We really had a great time in the Higher Ground Cohousing. We felt so welcome and some of us got the feeling of being home. The people in the community helped us a lot, drove us around, let us use the shower, washing machine and internet, gave us homemade craft and baked delicious cakes. We really don’t know how to thank you all!



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