Sherwood Co-op, Seattle

The Sherwood Co-op near the University of Washington (ironically right near frat row!) is a beautiful house with a vibrant modern hippie vibe and a long history.  It’s been a communal house since the 1930s, and is the last of its kind from that era that’s still in existence in the Seattle area.  It was bought by the Evergreen Land Trust several years ago, and is now home to 14 people, mostly in their 20s, some students and some not.  There are regular mandatory house meetings where decisions are made by consensus, exceedingly well-organized chore and cooking rotations (see pics), and a lot of art and activism.  The Evergreen Land Trust owns seven community properties (of which we have visited four), and the older folks always refer to Sherwood as their bright shining star, like their flagship community.  It was definitely a fun, youthful place to visit.

This colorful wheel is on the wall in the common room.  The rotating inner wheel has housemates’ initials, and it shows who has which responsibility during each meeting.  The responsibilities include taking Stack (remembering who raises their hand to speak and in what order), keeping Time, general Facilitation, Vibes Facilitation, being in charge of the White Board, taking Notes, and being in charge of the To-Do List.

This enormous chart, also in the common room, shows what all the communal chores are, who’s doing them, and when they’ve been completed.  It’s quite complex, and though our generous host took time to explain it to us, I honestly don’t remember half of it.  So just click on it and admire it.  Yay for organization!

-Rachel

2 Responses to “Sherwood Co-op, Seattle”

  1. angie Says:

    Oh how I envy that wheel for meeting facilitating- we can’t seem to follow a simple list no matter how hard we try. What exactly does a vibes facilitator do? And I do NOT envy the chore chart. As for the TTT, the chore tag system and weekly updates at the meeting has been working, at least somewhat. It keeps the chores at the forefront of our minds at least! Miss you!

  2. ollie Says:

    the vibes facilitator: i have only seen this position in action once, and i don’t think it went down too well in that case. but regardless, i believe the job of the vibes facilitator is to call “time-outs” and/or “deep breaths” or other such calming things (group hugs?) when people get too angry or frustrated. i suppose the main facilitator could be charged with this job, too, if that didn’t seem like too much work for one person. :p

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