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Housing development’s bike amenities lure buyers

Posted by on April 12th, 2010 at 11:47 am

Daybreak Cohousing makes biking easy.
(Photo: Sally Painter)

A new housing development opening this weekend in North Portland will combine two Danish influences on our city: cohousing and biking.

On Saturday (4/17), the Daybreak Cohousing development at 2525 North Killingsworth Street will host its grand opening celebration. Daybreak is a planned community where residents own their own units and where everyone takes part in community management and share resources and spaces with one another. In 2009, Natural Home magazine named Daybreak one of the top 10 green cohousing developments in America.

One of those green features is an on-site bike shop and bike parking area in the basement of one of the buildings. Accessible by a ramp from the sidewalk, the bike work space is adjacent to a large bike parking area that can fit about 60 bicycles. See the ramp, the shop and the bike parking in photos below (all taken by Daybreak resident John Bloss):

Plenty of bike parking.

A ramp down to bike area.

Free use with home purchase!

Former BTA board member John Bloss moved into Daybreak in January. He says their consideration for bicycles was key to his decision to buy one of the 30 units:

“Since I do not own a car of my own, and rely primarily on transit, or bike for the vast majority of my personal travel, the bike amenities at Daybreak were perfect for me… it was not the deciding factor, but definitely a major factor in my decision to move in and purchase a unit.”

Bloss points out an addition bonus for carfree or low-car residents — there are two bus lines (#72 and #35) right outside his door, and the MAX yellow line and two car-sharing spaces from Zipcar are nearby (not to mention lots of stores, eateries and other stuff within a short walk).

According to Daybreak, there are still units available in the $287,000 to $425,000 price range and they’re still looking for new members.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz will be on-hand for the grand opening event on Saturday. There will also be music, food (potluck-style), activities, and more.

Learn more at DaybreakCohousing.org.

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42 Comments
  • twilliam April 12, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Warning: sourpuss diatribe ahead.

    According to Daybreak, there are still units available in the $287,000 to $425,000 price range and they’re still looking for new members.

    I bet they are. I briefly looked at the linked website. I admit that I am not the target demographic as for that amount of money I would buy a $200k house, sink $10k into an awesome bike maintenance shed (or update the garage if one came with the house), and then laugh every month as I save hundreds or thousands of dollars each month on mortgage payments… all the while enjoying the most precious thing civilization can offer: privacy.

    Not to mention, can you imagine the difficulty in resale? How does something like this appreciate in value? Are there metrics?

    My goodness.

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  • Scott Mizée April 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I’ll be interested to see how these co-housing projects sustain themselves in Portland…

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  • ekim113 April 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    And an add’l $200-400/mo for HOA dues!

    Wow.

    No thank you. Maybe for a quarter of that cost? I thought one of the reasons for this kind of living arrangement is to save money, but obviously not in this scenario.

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  • John Bloss April 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Jonathan,

    Thank you for posting this story on your site.

    To clarify some details further; the grand opening event at Daybreak is from 2-4 PM this Saturday with potluck to follow. Daybreak has had community members in residence since Oct. 2009. The event this weekend is intended to commemorate the development being occupied for six months (and to hopefully take advantage of some nice weather too).

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  • Peter Smith April 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    i love it — that’s basically my dream house/condo/apartment!

    we’ve seen some similar devs in the Bay Area — Oakland, specifically — not SF.

    here is one that was _not_ co-housing, but had the bike stuff down – Pacific Cannery Lofts in West Oakland.

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  • Lance P. April 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I love this. I REALLY hope there are more of these in the future. I love living close to things and would never image purchasing a detached house. The problem I have seen with close in neighborhood condos/apartments is that they lack gardens space. But this has a garden!

    Twilliam… Typical American. I’m assuming that either your not from Portland proper or you just like to complain. For property this close to a the city center (and a grocery store), the price per square foot seems well under the average let alone a detached place that you speak of. I don’t know anyone who lives in Portland because they want ‘Privacy’. Most people live in Portland because they want to be close to people and things. Maybe you should try Beaverton??? I heard that a two car garage is standard!

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  • Joe April 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I was invited by someone involved in this project a while back to buy one. I’m glad to see it built because it might appeal to a certain demographic. But how can I justify spending this much on housing? Like a previous poster pointed out – buy a house, upgrade garage or get a Tuff Shed – voila – private living.

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  • A.K. April 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Also: are all the bikes stored one large room? Is there a way to lock them up? That sounds like a thief’s dream.

    Personally, I’d rather have a sub-divided storage area where each bike is behind a solid door of some sort that can be opened with the same key you use to open your front door.

    Better yet (but not as good if you live on the top floor I guess…), would be a special bike-sized closet in my own condo. Skinny enough that a bike can just lean against the wall without tipping over the other way, and taking up minimal space from the living areas of the condo itself.

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  • Lance P. April 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    A.K. Putting the bike in the condo/apt only works if the bike is not a family cargo bike. I have found that those bike just don’t want to go down hallways.

    I would suggest that they try and install some staples down their. Maybe they are on the side?

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  • John Bloss April 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    FYI-The bike room at Daybreak is secure and members have access to it through a key fob that opens interior and exterior doors.

    Bike racks to hang bikes from walls and other racks to securely lock heavier bikes on the floor are planned, but not yet installed.

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  • twilliam April 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    @Lance P

    You’re right: I do like to complain. I’m not from Portland originally. I will have been a resident 16 years this October. I’m 35, married for six years with three kids. My wife is a Portland native, as are (obviously) our kids.

    We live on 1/4 acre at SE 70th & SE Flavel. We purchased this 2100 sq.ft. house four years ago. It was built in 1952, the last of the craftsmans. One owner! There is a relatively major bus line a few dozen feet to the north. $199,999. It includes an oversize, detached two car garage built at the same time as the house.

    Our stretch of Flavel is 100% covered with bike lanes in each direction, and the Springwater Trail crosses Flavel about 1/2 mile east.

    Given the layout of the property, we’re naked in the backyard a large portion of the Summer.

    I cannot fathom spending the amount of money Daybreak is asking. Evidently, there are those who are willing to sacrifice their money to live some kind of Dutch lifestyle, but I really wonder about those who have that kind of scratch and choose to purchase a room in those circumstances.

    Typical American? Maybe, but I hope not. Wanting more for our dollar? Definitely.

    Signed,
    Trevor Limbocker
    SE Portland

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  • Duncan April 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Hey I have been to Daybreak (Hi Chris!) and own a home in Portland and I have to say much as I think it is perfect for my Aunt, I would never ever live there. I want my own yard, space. I feel cramped sharing a wall with someone and prefer to set the standards of my own living spaces. Also the cost per sq foot was good back when they started building, but right now 400K will get you a lot of house in Portland.

    That being said I hope that they do fill up because they are the nicest folks (that I have met there) and while the units are not my style, my style isnt every ones’ and I am sure many folks will love them.

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  • jim April 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I took a tour and thought the whole thing was pretty cool. In this down market the price should be lower. Read the story in the O about john Ross units selling for less than 1/2 price… The market wil rebound though, so for a long term investment maybe it’s good.
    The only thing I didn’t like is there is no car parking. That is also a negative impact on a residential area.
    For a cyclist it is great though

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  • AaronF April 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Lance P Sez:

    “I don’t know anyone who lives in Portland because they want ‘Privacy’.”

    Seriously? Come on now.

    Obviously plenty of folks in Portland want to live in single dwelling houses. I mean, you see them all over the place!

    You don’t know any of those people?

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  • A.K. April 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Lance P. (#9):

    Good point about cargo bikes, or any other non-traditional bike… they would be rather hard to fit into a condo.

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  • solid gold April 12, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Another example of yoga-yuppism. Save the world, for the low, low cost of $400,000!!

    I am so sick of the six figure dot.commer vibe that has completely taken over the PDX “green” scene, and particularly the transportation biking scene. Hey, newsflash, not everyone has an i-phone, a bakfeit, a trust fund or tech job at a “local” corporation which enslaves foreigners and destroys their local environment.

    Some of us just try to do good while causing a minimal impact, and even, gasp, choose a line of work which betters the world but doesn’t pay enough to afford bakfeits, organic eco-roofs, and “bike friendly” condos. But, hey, don’t let this get in the way of all the PDX Greenwashing rah-rah.

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  • Lance P. April 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Wait… so, if you own a cargo bike for your family your now a ‘yuppy’? I guess that mean bikePortland is yuppy? Get real. I do not have a ‘six figure dot.commer’ salary or even close. I for one simple choose to go care-free which allows me to have the funds to have a cargo bike. The average cost to own a car in the US is over 7K a year. You can purchase 2 iphones and 2 bakfeits for that!

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  • R-almost-5 homeowner April 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Lance, see you tomorrow @ the TMA meeting? Those yearning for privacy, please remember that this development is co-housing. You’d not be considering it if your hopes didn’t include community.

    I am pleased that my southern CA suburban neighbors are selling their house and retreating back to S. CA. I hope the new owner(s) will be a better fit with my idea of community, but I’ll still be there if we don’t mesh.

    Since the S. CA neighbor put up a solid fence, at least the neighbor’s dog won’t continue to eat my blueberries. Numerous bikes in my house, but other things are still more important.

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  • Jason April 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    For some, intentional community is the desired living arrangement. Cohousing developments are designed to meet the needs of those NOT interested in isolating themselves from their neighbors. Some have argued that one shouldn’t have to pay Daybreak’s prices to get this style of living. Well… you don’t. In fact, you can live in an established North Portland cohousing community (ahem… Peninsula Park Commons), for almost $100K less AND get all the amenities of Daybreak, and then some!

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  • natalie portman April 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    i agree with twilliam.
    my friend just bought a house on N. Shaver and N. Vancouver.
    an entire house for 220k.
    more space, closer in, and cheaper.

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  • michweek April 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    The idea of cohousing as. I’ve read up on it can take many forms, but most often the units are indeed attached in someway. Often there is community space, but it’s just as easy to go inside ones unit and hide from everyone, from what I understand that’s everyones else’s idea of privacy. No wonder anti-depressent drugs are everywhere!

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  • Joe April 13, 2010 at 12:42 am

    This seems like a good idea that isn’t really worth a damn.
    I read through the website and got a cultish vibe from it. Their buddy system and ground blessing interconnectedness stuff is right out of Jim Jones 101. And you pay a hell of a lot more than you do in most cults. And no drug fueled orgies?
    But at least you get a place to work on your bike.

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  • Duncan April 13, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Mich- My idea of privacy is not sharing a wall with my neighbor, planting whatever I damn well please in my garden and smoking a cig on my front porch without pissing off the neighbor. I wont judge yours so lay off mine too.

    Joe- Have you been there? NO? Oh you read their website that makes you an expert. Like I said having been there its a place for some folks but not others. Relating it to Jonesville is insulting. Why is it that people have to insult and put down everything they don’t personally like? Has Rush Limbaugh taken away all y’alls common sense and good manners?

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  • Lance P. April 13, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Duncan…. “Has Rush Limbaugh taken away all y’alls common sense and good manners?”

    That says it all.

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  • beth h April 13, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I think that co[cooperative]-housing, like cooperative businesses, can work for some people, but not for everyone. I think this is particularly true in a place like the US, where our historic psychology has been all about rugged individualism and pulling oneself up by the proverbial bootstraps. There’s a lack of strong social contract in that psyche, and it’s what sets most Americans apart from most Danes.

    Co-ops and their ilk tend to attract folks who play well with others — but who may OR MAY NOT be good at creating and enforcing policy. Given the choice, I’ve elected to do my cooperating at work and have my privacy at home. It’s a good balance.

    As for the pricing of these units and their management structure, I am not at all surprised. When my partner and I went looking for a place to call our own (the same summer we planned our wedding, which I would not recommend to anyone!), we looked at a couple of planned co-housing ventures.

    Before getting into something like this it’s important to KNOW YOURSELF and to know whether you’re the kind of person who can embrace something like this without making snarky comments about the classism inherent in the enterprise.
    We knew we could not be those people — and we RAN the other way to a small, single-family home. Seven years later I know we made the right choice.

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  • jbiker April 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Jonathan, something you didn’t include in this co-housing project. This project did not “co-habitate” with its neighbors:

    – It leveled an existing single level 1920s brick/wood apartment complex with a lot of character that fit into the vernacular of the neighborhood. Not sustainable.

    – They leveled several beautiful 100+ year old trees for this building.

    – The neighborhood was AGAINST this project. They were for co-housing/high density, they were just the developers insensitivity and arrogance during the design phase.

    – Massing is out of character: 3+level block size building among smaller 1-2 story single family neighborhood.

    – Large massing eliminated day-lighting for homes to its north

    – Neighbors complained about location of electrical boxes, up against neighbors house. Developers didn’t care.

    – Hideous color scheme out of character of the historic neighborhood.

    – Unit pricing encourages gentrification. The apartments they leveled were considered affordable. Pre-bubble pricing in todays foreclosure market.

    – Some of its OWN co-housing members can’t even afford to live there.

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  • jim April 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

    jbiker made some good points there. Unfortuneately I think we will a lot more of this in the Interstate coridor, The new zoning, there will be tall buildings being built right next to your single level home leaving you in a giant shadow- never again able to grow anything in your garden for the lack of sun. Parking kaput because the new high density building didn’t include any parking spots, now they will park in front of your house. Colors and styles that don’t compliment the existing styles…. Loss of comunity that you had with neighbors living in houses replaced with something much different…

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  • fast_trak April 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I just don’t get why real estate developers and agents get free advertising from media outlets. Expect this article from the Oregonian or Portland Monthly…

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  • matt picio April 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Too bad they didn’t make use of brownfield or infill development.

    When they get down to $100,000 – $120,000, let me know. Most “co-housing” is completely unaffordable, especially in the current economy.

    Look for some of these developments to fail later this year when Round 2 of the great recession hits.

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  • matt picio April 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    BTW, for home ownership to be practical for most Oregonians, the price point developers should be aiming for is $154,000, which is 3x the median household wage. $450,000 is only affordable to the top 5% of households in the US – that’s a pretty exclusive market.

    Sure, it’s great that there’s a co-housing development that accommodates bikes, but wouldn’t it be great if all of them did? Wouldn’t it be great if the ones that did were affordable?

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  • Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    “The market wil rebound though, so for a long term investment maybe it’s good.”

    yeah, those 60% haircuts on close-in leed-certified condos in sowa scream rebound.

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  • beth h April 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    @ Matt (#30): Exclusivity, rather than inclusiveness, is written into the co-housing model.

    Even if you could afford the house, you would still have to go through an application process that rivals most top-drawer universities (and more than a few Equity theatre companies).

    In the case of much intentional co-housing in this country, exclusivity rather than inclusivity is the key. The reason it plays differently here may actually have less to do with what America looks and feels like than what Denmark, with its smaller and much more homogenous population, does. But that’s probably a discussion for another Web site.

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  • twilliam April 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    In the case of much intentional co-housing in this country, exclusivity rather than inclusivity is the key. The reason it plays differently here may actually have less to do with what America looks and feels like than what Denmark, with its smaller and much more homogenous population, does. But that’s probably a discussion for another Web site.

    Woah. That’s exactly my thought when I visited the Daybreak website, but I could not articulate it into words.

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  • Perry April 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Probably not for me – but I’m glad something like this exists in my town. I hope it succeeds.

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  • Ethan April 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Can a Bakfiets navigate the ramp/corner into the bike garage?

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  • Lance P. April 14, 2010 at 9:27 am

    “Too bad they didn’t make use of brownfield or infill development.”

    Agree. I was unaware that there was affordable housing on this site. There is plenty of parking and vacant lots in inner Portland that could have been used.

    I really hope something like this (and a grocery store???) could be brought into inner SE. There are hundreds of vacant warehouses and parking lots west of 12th st.

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  • matt picio April 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Thanks, beth (#32) – That’s good to know. I haven’t looked extensively at the co-housing model in the past. I think that models which focus on an exclusive community rather than an inclusive one are ultimately doomed to failure, though they may be wildly successful in the short-term. As you said, that’s a discussion for another site.

    I don’t wish this particular development ill will, I’d just like to see more projects in greater Portland which are focused on developing real community and in getting and keeping people engaged with their neighbors and the community at-large. This particular development doesn’t seem to fit that bill.

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  • jim April 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I have been through a lot of lofts downtown and these units do offer a lot of amenities that those downtown don’t. This is a nice move for someone downsizing from a home to a loft but still wants a yard, blueberries…..

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  • ss29er April 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Wow. I’m a teacher with a Masters and six years up the pay scale, and those are 100K more than what I could afford (at the minimum price listed). So either that is really expensive, or teacher salaries really are pathetic.

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  • Lance P. April 16, 2010 at 9:35 am

    @ss29er. Unfortunately, it is the latter. My wife also has a Masters (as well as a ESD). She is now a teacher at a low income preschool all for an annual income around 20k/year.

    We do need to pay teachers more. They are grossly underpaid for the work that they do.

    That being said, some people in this society would rather get $0.90 back a year than to pay for improvements to our city that can help to save lives. With this environment, how are we as a society going to pay more taxes to help fund education?

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  • E May 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    My husband and I looked really seriously at Daybreak a while back. There is lots I love about it. My husband is a very social person, and I am not, so the combination of community and privacy is perfect. The built-in community and getting to know the neighbors in advance is a big plus; we have had a lot of difficulty with neighbors in our current location, and we hardly know any of them. And I absolutely LOVE the location – tons of cool pubs and restaurants nearby, and easy bike-access to downtown where I work.
    However it’s clearly not for us. The biggest block is of course the price; the tiniest apartment is nearly $100k more than we paid for our 3-bedroom house on 6000sqft, 3 miles away; insurance and hoa fees would be on top of that. Admittedly, the price is not extreme for the neighborhood – my sister’s house is nearby, and she paid nearly twice what we did for less space. But it’s certainly much more than we can afford. In addition, the lack of private yards means no safe space for our dogs to be outside, where they are happiest when we are out. Finally, we are quite spoiled in our current home being 2 blocks from Fred Meyer; while New Seasons is only a mile away, it seems far to me.
    Overall, though, I wish them a lot of luck; I think cohousing is a great idea and hope to see more of it. 🙂

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  • Keith D. May 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    As neighbors next to Daybreak I can tell you that far more of their residents drive cars than ride bikes.

    Our neighborhood of single family homes has been inundated with parking problems. They assured us that a building of 30 units with no off-street parking would be managed by residents largely utilizing public transportation and bikes. However, their cars fill the more than 18 curbside spots around their project and have encroached into parking in the fronts of our homes – so we’re forced to park further down our streets. And we constantly have residents of Daybreak who turn around in our drive-ways angling for spots closer to their building so they don’t have to walk as far.

    We’ve had to accomodate a lot with their moving into our neighborhood: Four story buildings that shade our gardens and privacy lost to windows just 6 feet from our yard’s fence.

    And please, have a visit sometime in the evening. They have lighting that makes the place look institutional and is so bright it fills our yards and bedrooms with light – all night long.

    How is that green? (Their biggest claim to being green is their density; many of the promised green aspects of their project were left on the drawing board.)

    As neighbors we’ve attempted to speak with them to no avail – they are their own insular community and have no interest with speaking to us as any other neighbor would.

    Unless we wanted to join as non-resident community members – for a monthly fee of course!

    I think Portland can do better than Daybreak Cohousing.

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