Site Tours

Site tours are an exciting way to see what permaculture can look like, both in town and in rural areas. For the 2015 Convergence, we will do both.

This page describes the tours that are happening on Friday and Saturday. Choose a tour or make up your own itinerary.

Go right to the detailed Site Tours Schedule.

Make up your own itinerary: See a schedule showing all concurrent Friday tour events and choose where you want to go.

These site tours are open to the public. Donations from those not registering for the Convergence are most welcome.

These site tours are intended to provide a real life preview of a greener, more resilient future in regard to businesses, local food systems, lifestyle, suburbia, education, civic culture and more. Maps of the various tour routes are HERE.

Most tours will take place Friday, but there will be one tour in the River Road Neighborhood on Saturday.

All tours will leave the River Road Recreation Center parking lot, 1400 Lake Drive in Eugene. Important: People in town who want to participate in the River Road Neighborhood tours may go straight to the first tour stop. See Site Tours Schedule for details.

Bikes are recommended for the River Road Neighborhood tours.  Elsewhere in Eugene, participants can choose bikes or cars. Tour mileage is indicated for each tour. Here are photo galleries of some places we will visit in the River Road Neighborhood.

For those interested in riding bikes to the Block Planning Tour, the Green Business Tour and the Shared Housing Tour, we can provide maps and guides. Bikers can leave the River Road Recreation Center by 9:15am so they can arrive at the first tour sites by 9:45am.

Tours outside of Eugene to the Lost Valley Education Center in Dexter, OR and Cottage Grove, OR will be cars only.  The Convergence does not guarantee transportation by car.  We will depend on some participants offering carpool seats to people without cars.

If you can offer space in your car for riders, please fill out THIS FORM for car pooling.

Friday Tours

Go right to the detailed Site Tours Schedule.

Make up your own itinerary: See a schedule showing all concurrent Friday tour events and choose where you want to go.

River Road Neighborhood Tour (3 miles):

Part One - Departs at 9:30am from the River Road Recreation Center and ends with a 15 minute lunch break at one of the tour sites (please bring your own bag lunch).

Part Two - Departs at 1:30pm from the River Road Recreation Center and joins up with Part 1 at Dharmalaya, 356 Horn Lane, at 2:00pm.  You can go straight to Dharmalaya from town if you want, but please arrive at 2:00pm. 

Here are photo galleries of some places we will visit in the River Road Neighborhood. 

Features we will see: Grass-to-garden conversions, ambient food storage, accessory structures, greenhouses, rainwater catchment, cob ovens, edible landscaping, beekeeping, food forests, driveway removal conversions, passive solar spaces, front yard gardens, green building, elevated landscaping, "fences down" (elimination of fences between neighbors), chickens, and much more.  Property owners will be on site to guide the tours at their respective places.

Shared Living tour (Eleven miles):

Meet at the River Road Recreation Center parking lot, 1400 Lake Drive, at 9:00am.

Bike riders can leave the Recreation Center parking lot at 9:15 for Maitreya Eco Village

Tour Leaves River Road Recreation Center at 9:30am.

There could be an additional site to visit, check back here for updates.

Site 1 - 10:00am, Maitreya Ecovillage (Broadway and Almaden) is a community dedicated to ecological living with numerous structures and an assortment of people on five urban lots.  Other features: bio-gas generation, natural building, and community gardens.  Presenter: Rob Bollman

Site 2 - 11:00am, Walnut Street Co-Op (17th Ave. and Walnut Street) is a social change oriented eco-cooperative consisting of two adjoining houses in east Eugene.  Learn about the benefits and challenges of a revolving loan fund created to purchase the property.  Other features: historic home, garden, chickens.  Presenter: Zoe Tribur

Site 3 - Noon, Duma Community (2244 Alder Street) is an urban community of 9 people who share a large house near the University.  As a model of ecological living Duma was originally a collective and is now owned by one of the founders.  Other features: mature food forest, rainwater catchment, greywater use, parking lot conversion.  Presenter: Allen Hancock
 

Block Planning and Friendly Neighborhood (Ten miles):

This tour will visit two sites in three different neighborhoods.  Two sites have features of block planning.  Block planning is a land-use design tool with enormous potential for greening the urban landscape. The tour will show what can happen if neighbors work together making creative eco-friendly changes to their properties. The other sites are a neighborhood garden and an exceptional suburban property transformation.

Site One: East Blair Housing Co-op, 940 West Fourth Ave., in the Whiteaker Neighborhood. See one parking lot turned into a garden, another turned into a social space and playground. Other features include a community house, public art, social benefits and a shared garden area.

Site Two will visit Maitreya Eco Village in the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood.  See a driveway turned into a garden, creative building design, a bio-gas unit, a large shared garden, use of the swale, artistic natural construction, earthen floor, examples of density and open space co-existing, examples of "fences down" (elimination of fences between neighbors) and more.

Site Three will be in the Friendly Neighborhood. We will visit the Common Ground Neighborhood Garden— a garden created by a combination of citizen initiative, a city program and an unused street right of way.  The garden is a landmark in Friendly Neighborhood and hosts workshops and work parties. There's a community tool shack and a neighborhood information kiosk thanks to a city matching grant.

Site Four: In the Friendly Neighborhood, this site is a transformed suburban property and house featuring a garage turned into a solar space and illustrating grass-to-garden conversion also featuring a cob oven, edible landscaping, a front yard garden and more.  After this tour, check the time and connect with other tours.

Green Business Tour (Seven miles).

Visit five different businesses that demonstrate different aspects of a "green" economy. We will be hosted by the business owners.

Site One - Center For Appropriate Transport, 455 W. First Ave.. You'll see examples of human powered machines, youth programs, a car-free library, a full metal fabrication shop, a you-fix-it bike shop and much much more.

Site Two - The Eugene Backyard Farmer. This site is a store for supplying the organic and suburban gardener. You'll see gardens, bees and suburban livestock.

Site Three - The Green Store. This store offers products and services for a more eco-friendly home including solar equipment, earth-friendly paint and green home implements.

Site Four - Grower's Market Co-op. This business can boast of 40 years being a cooperative organic food store housed in an historic building with fine wood floors.

Site Five - Hummingbird Wholesale. This organic bulk food distributor encourages local sources and local food systems and acts as a business incubator with a commercial kitchen on-site and much more.


Full Circle Farm Tour 9:30 to 12:30 [ten miles]

Leave The River Road Recreation Center Parking Lot at 9:30am.

The farm formerly known as Full Circle, a CSA and educational site, continues to mature under the continued care and use of the farm family-- Kate, Kevin and Odell(17). With the help of others, they have been caring for the farm for 18 years (and the land was nurtured before our arrival). The 23 acres is dramatically located on Eugene's Urban Growth Boundary. The farm keeps growing and functioning with dairy cows (2 milking, 7 total), chickens, fruit and nut trees, vegetable and hay crops, compost and a small farm-stand income. The place is rustic. Many who visit comment how the farm may be a preview of a more local, simpler and more agrarian future.

Some of the influences that shape the farm are conservation and the bicycle, biodynamics, permaculture, beauty, and connections. They enjoy having visitors.
 

Santa Clara Awbrey Park Native Plant Bike Tour, Friday, August 28, 1:30 to 4:30 (seven miles)

Tour Description: Three mile ride to the park, and four miles to return. Awbrey Park native plant restoration has been facilitated by City of Eugene parks staff and implemented by volunteers over the past 5 years.  The park tour will describe invasive plant removal and on-going restoration of native plants along Spring Creek.  Also, a near-by city-owned parcel along Spring Creek (Springwood Bridge) will provide contrast to the park restoration process.

On the return bike ride we will view creek restoration at other locations and places where invasive plant removal has allowed native plants to come back, and where no restoration has taken place.  A constructed water catchment swale at Ferndale Park will show another approach to improved neighborhood drainage.

Tour and Route Schedule: The following is a summary of the Awbrey Park Native Plant Tour in Santa Clara Neighborhood.  Time marks are noted in parenthesis after each stop.

Leave River Road Recreation Center Parking Lot (1:30), Arrive Awbrey Park (2:00), Arrive Springwood Bridge (2:30), Neighbor back yard creek improvements (3:10), Spring Creek Elementary School restoration (3:30), Spring Creek crossing Blackfoot Ave (3:40), Ferndale Park swale project (4:00), Return to River Road Park (4:30).


After the Friday tours, return to the River Road Recreation Center at 4:30 for a reception, mix and mingle and the 5:00pm Opening Circle.  Dinner at 5:30.

Friday Tours Not in Eugene

Go right to the detailed Site Tours Schedule.

Make up your own itinerary: See a schedule showing all concurrent Friday tour events and choose where you want to go.

Note: Tours to these out of town locations depend on enough participants in order to happen.  The Convergences cannot guarantee transportation.  The Convergence will help organize carpooling for the site tours to Cottage Grove and the Lost Valley Education Center.

If you can offer space in your car for riders, please fill out THIS FORM for car pooling.

Cottage Grove Tour - Leave the Rec Center at Noon, Tour Starts at Fern Hill at 1:00pm (45 miles round-trip):

Even though this year’s theme is suburban permaculture, we wanted to host a tour of a few permaculture highlights in the nearby rural community of Cottage Grove, 20 miles south of Eugene. The tour is being organized by Devon Bonady. Visit Fern Hill Nursery and Sanctuary, Aprovecho, a rural educational center and, last on the tour, a very popular downtown bookstore/cafe. We might also include stops at local green businesses in downtown Cottage Grove which are examples of social permaculture in action in a more rural community. We'll post more details of this aspect of the tour as they become available. See the site tour map.

Contact Devon Bonady at devon@fernhillsanctuary.com or 541-942-3118 for more information about the Cottage Grove tour.

You will have the opportunity for at least three stops on this tour:

Site One - Fern Hill Nursery and Botanical Sanctuary is a small local business and homestead specializing in the sale of edible, medicinal, and native plants for the Pacific Northwest.  They also offer educational opportunities such as workshops and internships.

Site Two - Aprovecho is a non-profit educational center that offers great examples of sustainability such as appropriate technology, natural building, aquaculture and rural-scale permaculture design.

Site Three - Downtown Cottage Grove. Community minded green businesses downtown.  Kalapuya Books, The Axe and Fiddle and Backstage Bakery share a single roof.

Lost Valley Education Center (50 miles round-trip) Two Tours on Friday!

Leave from River Road Recreation Center Parking Lot at 9:30am and 1:00pm.

Lost Valley tours are 2 hrs. each. Tours start at Lost Valley at 10:15am and 2:00pm.

Note - you may go directly to Lost Valley. Directions HERE.

Southeast of Eugene near Dexter, OR, in the Willamette Cascade Foothills, is the Lost Valley Education Center, eco village and conference retreat. Lost Valley educates youth and adults in the practical application of sustainable living skills. The Center takes a holistic approach to sustainability education, engaging students in ecological, social, and spiritual growth.

Lost Valley Education & Events Center is a rare combination of three things: A sustainability-focused education center, conference center and aspiring ecovillage (under the name Meadowsong Ecovillage). NWPCC visitors will get a taste for the history of the community, land, activities, and current residents.  They will see greywater, solar showers, solar cookers, bike-powered devices and natural building.  The tour will visit the main shared facilities of the site such as the Lodge, classrooms, and the Sacred Yurt, as well as a meadow, creek, hugelkultur swales and large organic gardens (if there's time).  Those who are interested can join the community for lunch on Friday (12:30) for $6. It is a good opportunity to talk to residents and get a fuller feel for the community (please RSVP to colin@lostvalley.org for lunch).  Leave plenty of time for the tour-- there is a lot to see.  Their website is lostvalley.org. The morning tour leaves River Road Recreation Center at 9:30am.  For both tours, attendees must organize their own transport. Those who need a ride are best served by coming to the Recreation Center by 9:30 to hop in with others. Use the NWPCC Facebook Rideshare to organize carpools!

After the Friday tours, return to the River Road Recreation Center at 4:30 for a reception, mix and mingle and the 5:00pm Opening Circle.  Dinner at 5:30.

Saturday Tour

River Road Neighborhood Tour (4 miles):

More detail can be found on the Site Tours Schedule.

The Saturday Site Tour in the River Road Neighborhood will feature front yard gardens, Rasor Park (saved from paving), a community filbert grove (citizen initiative empowered active citizens and supported by city programs), a green preparedness site, rainwater catchment systems, solar design, food production and more.  This tour should be of particular interest to participants of the Green Neighborhood Summit.