My three minutes at Build Small Live Large 2019

I am excited to be one of the five micro-friendlies on the closing panel, Housing Stories and Innovations, at the annual Build Small Live Large Summit, to be held in Portland this Thursday. (It is still not too late to register!)

Our role is to put a human face on the abstractions discussed at the conference. What is it like to be a microdweller? My fellow panelists include a tiny-house dweller who is working on an interesting coliving project in the Cully neighborhood of Portland, and several folks who have or build ADUs.

My remarks (expertly edited by Jen Hornsby) will be accompanied by five painstakingly selected images.

Thank you, Lina. I appreciate being invited to address you today.

For those who would rather not take notes, I blog at, and Ive posted this talk there.

(photo 27 – me) Im a freelance book editor living in The Collegian, a 30-year-old microhousing community in Eugene. Our 50 residents pay about $1,500/month for lodging, three meals a day, utilities, internet, and monthly housekeeping. In Eugene the average rent alone is over $1,300/month

Living at The Collegian, all my needs (except health insurance) are covered in one bill. That gives me peace of mind and the freedom to follow my passions, which include advocating for more microhousing so others can enjoy this lifestyle.

(photo 28 – TC exterior) The Collegian is a three-story building in a neighborhood zoned high-density residential. Water-wise native plants provide a visual screen from the street.

It is a block from the bus and a 15-minute walk to Bus Rapid Transit, so no one needs a car to live here.

Inside are forty-four 220-square-foot, furnished microstudios with bathrooms and balconies. 

The first floor has the shared facilities found in all co-living communities: in our case, a dining room with open kitchen, a lounge for socializing, and a laundry. 

(photo 29 – art-filled hallway) The second floor houses 22 microstudios (photo 30 – half of the main living area), with built-in shelves and an amazing expanding closet. (photo 31)

The second-floor units are for one resident only, but the 22 third-floor units have a sleeping loft with skylights and can accommodate couples.

What is it like to live here? Easy.

Last night I ate in our dining room (photo 32 – typical weeks menu). Our executive chef, Tommy Sipes, who was trained at the New England Culinary Institute, had made ham-and-cheese-stuffed chicken with double-mustard sauce. Dessert choices were chocolate chip cookies or carrot cake. 

Later I did my laundry downstairs, in our free washers.

While I am here at this conference, The Collegian housekeeper is cleaning my bathroom and vacuuming the carpet, a luxury I truly appreciate.

Did I mention that The Collegian has a policy of never raising rent once you move in?  

Microhousing can be a beautiful, economical, environmentally sustainable, stress-free way of living. I recommend it to all of you. 

But there are only 44 microstudios at The Collegian, and it is in only one town. To my knowledge there are only four microhousing communities with meals, open to all ages, in the entire country.

You’re all invited to come visit me at The Collegian, and then please do what you can to build housing based on this model in your own community. Thank you.

  • Key takeaway: Microhousing gives me peace of mind and the freedom to follow my passion — which is advocating for more microhousing and speaking to you here today.

Published by Sherri Schultz

Writer & change-maker exploring micro-dwelling in Eugene, Oregon. Founder of Springfield/Eugene MicroDwellers: .

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