YouTube Channel Launched With Webinar

We have setup a new YouTube channel for Cooperation Eugene so we have the ability to post recordings of Zoom meetings we host for groups in the area that are doing related work. Now you can subscribe and get notified when new content is posted that you weren’t able to attend.

We hosted a great webinar yesterday called Divesting & Reinvesting in Housing Not Handcuffs. You can check it out here if you missed it.

Laws and policies – that violate constitutional rights, create arrest records, fines and fees that stand in the way of houseless people getting jobs or housing – don’t work. The evidence is clear that homelessness is reduced in communities that focus on housing, and not those that focus on handcuffs.

What is working in other communities and what are some pitfalls we should watch out for as we advocate for sweeping changes in the way we approach community safety? How do we organize our community to cultivate local resilience and implement strategies that invest in regional self-sufficiency instead of punitive measures?

Considerations from Clare

Dear Cooperation Eugene community

These times call for deep thinking and fearless conversations.  It is not a coincidence that the New Economy movement, which is the inspiration for Cooperation Eugene, is being spearheaded by Black communities around the country. Since our inception as an organization, almost 2 years ago, I have been pondering how our positionality, as a white organization in a white city in a state intentionally constructed as white from its exclusionary founding, informs our work as part of a national New Economy network.  Some things I’ve observed: 1) our community is largely buffered from the harsh consequences of the dominant racialized economy, 2) that is not to say we don’t experience alienation from our labor, economic displacement, and the impacts of the global economy that motivate us to create something new, 3) while Eugene has a fine history of developing cooperatives and prizes itself as a liberal bastion, it does not have the history of radicalizing and persistent struggle that is experienced by many African American communities. We haven’t developed the muscles for sustained life and death collective action. 4) If we see ourselves as a node in a national network to shift the economy to the people, then our successful organizing, here in Eugene, is a stand in solidarity with African Americans and other marginalized peoples who are calling us to disinvest from this racist economy. (Movement Generation has a series of “course correction” webinars to learn about Just Transition that I recommend https://movementgeneration.org/our-work/training-analysis/coursecorrection/)

In March we were discussing convening a “Regenerative Futures Summit” to pull together the active solutions evinced in our community towards an effort to build infrastructures that can sustain a new economic ecosystem.  One based on local resources for local needs, disinvesting our wealth from the global economy while reinvesting locally, and supporting economic democracy with cooperative ventures and participatory policy. 

With Covid we were given an opportunity to pause. With Black Lives Matter we are experiencing the beginnings of systems shift that we have been longing for. The terrain is changing. What is the best use of our energies and how can we leverage our collective action toward this shift?

Our stance has always been “solutions focused” working from a framework of community ownership and empowerment that has been modeled historically by Black communities.  A lot of our great ideas have had difficulty getting off the ground. Is it a matter of time? A matter of timing? A need for skill and resource development? Weaknesses in our abilities to cooperate? I don’t know, these are things we need to investigate. In the meantime, Black leadership has given us some challenges and direction. 

As a relatively “woke” white community our job is to examine our relationship to the racialized economic system that we swim in and to listen to the perspectives of those who experience this system from a different vantage point. Ibram Kendi (How To Be An Anti-Racist – our study circle choice for August) is a good teacher.

“We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, and love and persuasion. But of course [Stamped from the Beginning] shows that the actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self-interest, particularly economic and political and cultural.” Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there. (https://theundefeated.com/features/ibram-kendi-leading-scholar-of-racism-says-education-and-love-are-not-the-answer/?)

Let us have the courage to investigate deeply the economic and structural roots of our perspectives and feelings. Let us have the courage to step out of our comfort zones and into the leadership needed to transform our society. I am calling for a renewed team of leaders to focus on defining our next steps. Please email Clarestrawn@gmail.com if you have thoughts or intentions.

Finding a New Balance

Bumblebee and Flower

Cooperation Eugene stands in solidarity with our community members of color as the tragedy of the murder of another black man at the hands of white police officers once again dredges up the accumulated pain of hundreds of years of mistreatment and inequality. We need meaningful change and healing, and we need it now!


It has been a challenging time for organizations working to find a balance between keeping society functioning and keeping people healthy as the pandemic rages on. We truly appreciate the time and energy of everyone who has come together to keep this effort moving forward!

We must all be vigilant during times like this to ensure that important gains we have made as a society are not eroded by government and industry looking to exploit current circumstances, as well as keeping our eyes out for opportunities to make progress on creating a more just and compassionate economy for all.

We continue to host our informative Study Circles each month to help educate ourselves. We read about and discussed worker cooperatives at one recent meeting as well as working on gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of the commons in another. For our July meeting we will be doing a deep dive into the meaning of democracy.

After a couple Zoom gatherings with the LSSN time bank community we finally met up in person at a park last week on a beautifully sunny day. It was great to see people’s faces again in person, albeit from a safe distance! Inspired by the pandemic we have decided to switch to having picnics instead of potlucks for any in-person gatherings going forward.

And a surprise occurrence that came out of the need for most communication to move online is that we have started helping a few other groups who have related causes host their meetings online using Zoom. It is inspiring to see folks coming together to help each other out during this crisis.

Take care, stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon!

Updates & Opportunities – March 2020

Hopefully this newsletter finds you all in good health and out enjoying the nice weather we’ve been having lately! Here’s what’s coming up on the CE calendar:

Economic Democracy
Cooperation Eugene is recruiting a team to organize a Regenerative Futures Summit. We want to bring together the many amazing projects in Eugene that are building new models to meet basic needs locally and build community wealth. How can we cross-pollinate silos and scale up  community based systems? 

If you are a systems thinker and want a project that you can dig into, or if you want to help out organizing community conversations, or if you do research or make info-graphics, we could use your help! Figure more or less one meeting for 2 hours a week plus individual projects or team work. We are learning while doing and welcome your voice. Email Clare at: clarestrawn [at] gmail [dot] com or call: 541-285-4504.

Study Circle
Our next meeting will be on April 7th. Check the Study Circle webpage soon for more details.

Lane Service Sharing Network Potluck
Want to live in a world that is beyond work that is unfulfilling? Where we can meet each other’s needs and get ours met as well? This is the first step. We will share food and share the gifts and talents we would like to share, and the needs and wants we would love our community to help with. The meeting of real needs forms a different kind of community. Come share!

Friday March 27th, 6-8:30 pm at McNail-Riley house 601 W 13th in Eugene, Dishes provided.

Updates & Opportunities Newsletter

Collaboration Circle Update & Next Meeting

A big thanks to everyone who gathered for the first Collaboration Circle! It was very informative to hear more about what people and groups in our local community are working on, as well as what we are most interested in and concerned about. We had the opportunity to hear about the tiny house cooperative Emerald Village, which is an innovative example of a group working together with the community to create an affordable housing solution. Housing affordability emerged as the dominant theme of the evening.

We are looking forward to making this meeting a monthly event and an opportunity to have a community round-table where we can work to build a living network that connects individuals and groups that are focused on regenerative solutions to democratize our local economy. Let’s work together to increase collaboration and break down the silos that separate us! The next meeting will be at Emerald Village Community Room, 25 N. Polk at Railroad Ave (please park on Polk or in the lot across Polk from Emerald Village), 7pm Thursday January 9th, and we look forward to seeing you!

Study Circle January Event

We expect an interesting, real-world discussion this month. Cooperation Eugene is planning to host an economic democracy summit toward the end of 2020. This is a forum in which leaders from around Eugene from various sectors are invited to a discussion where we pose that the problems we all face are from a single underlying cause and the solutions lie in our ability to understand this and unite.

Poughkeepsie, NY, held a summit similar to this and wrote up a PDF how-to document which you will find here. The Study Circle discussion will consider how we can create a Eugene version of that project. Please read it sooner rather than later because you may wish to come to this one even if you’ve not attended previously, or invite someone you know who would be interested!

See our Study Circle page for more information.

Lane Service Sharing Network – Time Bank

LSSN is already making strides to demonstrate that a more friendly and community oriented economy is possible. We look forward to continuing to grow our sharing community in the new year. Please join us!

Cooperation Eugene is on Meetup.com

Now there’s another way to stay in touch with us. We’ve joined Meetup.com and you can join our events by visiting:
https://www.meetup.com/Cooperation-Eugene/

Help Forge a New Circle of Collaboration!

We’ve set a date for the first monthly Cooperation Eugene Collaboration Circle meeting and you are invited! Thursday November 14th from 7-8:30pm at Emerald Village Community Room, 25 N. Polk at Railroad Ave (please park on Polk or in the lot across Polk from Emerald Village).

The agenda will include a brief introduction about what the regenerative economy might look like in Eugene and watch a brief video by Ujima, a new economy organization that is making waves in Boston. We will also make space for all comers to share their related project ideas looking for collaboration.

We have a couple exciting new projects that are in the early stages of development which we will discuss in more detail at the meeting as well:

The first is a Micro Grants program to support projects that are aligned with the mission and aims of our organization. How do we make these decisions? What criteria do you recommend? If these funds were available, do you have a project that needs funding?

Also, we are planning an Economic Democracy Summit that will bring regenerative economy thought leaders together with local key stakeholders and community members to forge new approaches to rebuilding the commons based on successful models in place elsewhere.

The vision for the Collaboration Circle is that it will create opportunities for greater community involvement that are well suited to newcomers and those with busier schedules. We’d like for it become a place where existing projects collaborate, new projects form, and people go to find out more about opportunities. We see it as a place where collaborative outreach events get organized, and community experts join us to lend their advice. We are also looking forward to seeing what ideas you have to contribute!

Please join us on Nov 14th!

Resilience Festival Followup

Over 300 people enjoyed the Community Resilience Festival on Aug 24th! They browsed, tabled, heard about solutions for resilience from speakers, and collaborated on ideas for community action such as a local food system network.

If you weren’t able to make it but are interested in seeing some of what happened you can watch video that has graciously been taken and made available by Todd Boyle. See our own Clare Strawn presenting on creating a regenerative and resilient local economy!

Plenary Talks:
Clare Strawn – “Creating a Regenerative and Resilient Local Economy”
https://youtu.be/YSaLrs7iFjs?t=3377Clare Strawn – “Creating a Regenerative and Resilient Local Economy”
https://youtu.be/YSaLrs7iFjs?t=3377
Jan Spencer – “Towards A Green and Resilient Culture and Economy”
https://youtu.be/YSaLrs7iFjs?t=325
Terry McDonald, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul – “St. Vinnies Builds Community Economic Resilience”
https://youtu.be/YSaLrs7iFjs?t=1032
Charlie Tilt and Kate Perle – “Local Food Systems Build Regional Resilience”
https://youtu.be/YSaLrs7iFjs?t=1622

Residential Coops:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8cjoEIy9v0&t=1449s
Skeeter Duke – East Blair Housing Cooperative
Rob Bolman – Maitreya Eco Village
Tom Atlee – Walnut Street Co-op
Joanne Fox – PDX Commons, Portland

Community Resilience Festival

We are co-hosting an event on Saturday, August 24, 2019. 10:30 AM to 5 PM at the River Road Recreation Center, 1400 Lake Drive!

The Community Resilience Festival is a day long event that will be fun, educational and timely.  Its all about reducing our ecological footprints and building positive community culture. The event will show and tell projects, actions, allies and assets we have in Eugene and the southern Willamette Valley for creating more green and resilient homes, lifestyles, city and region.

For more complete information check out the event page on the River Road Community Organization Website or see the event page in Facebook.

Resources In A Local Regenerative Economy

open space discussion circle

We had a great Open Space event on the 8th with group participants coming forward with areas of interest they wanted to discuss. We broke out into groups and had a number of good conversations. It was nice to see new faces in the circle and to benefit from all the perspectives that were shared. Thanks to everyone who participated!

June 2019 Opportunities Newsletter

Join Us For an Asset-Mapping Open-Space Exercise and Snack Potluck on June 8th

What does a Regenerative Economy ecosystem look like? As we foment new & regenerative economics in Eugene, what assets do we want to know about and connect with? Cooperation Eugene is developing an online directory of resources that are currently in place locally with the intention to help build networks of community. You can check out the initial database here.

Are you a knowledge holder of community activity in a specific area of interest (EG: food systems, permaculture, education, housing, cooperatives, economic development, cultural work, healing, legal and financial expertise, funds)? You are especially invited to contribute to this asset-mapping project! Your participation in this Open Space meeting is valuable and there will be other opportunities to continue working on this project.

After a brief introduction to Cooperation Eugene, and to asset-mapping in this context, the space will be opened to generate clusters of interest. We will then break into groups to talk about the topics that interest us most. Notes will be taken, including assets the groups mention that could be added to the Cooperation Eugene directory.

Where: Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High Street, Eugene. The doors open at noon on Saturday June 8th and the program begins at 12:30pm. We should be done by 3pm.

Bring finger foods or snacks to share. Donations for the space will be accepted and appreciated.

More information on Asset Mapping.

More information on Open Space.

Study Circle Update

The Cooperation Eugene Study Circle reads books and articles, podcasts and videos to explore the theory and practice of systems change for the regenerative economy. We meet monthly, and membership is by drop-in. Members on the study circle list receive an email, but you must RSVP so that our meeting place can accommodate all of the respondents. The discussion will be facilitated – at least in the beginning. Material addresses a solutions orientation on the new economy, and must have at least two people who know it before it becomes accepted for study.

Our next meeting is on June 4th at 7pm, and the first book is Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown. It can be ordered from Tsunami Books with a 20% discount.

To get on the mailing list, to RSVP or for more information contact studycircle [at] cooperationeugene [dot] org.