For Immediate Release

Contact Information:
Mark Lakeman, The City Repair Project, 503-810-6275, laketrout@cityrepair.org
Jack Tafari, Chairman, Dignity Village, Inc.,(503) 281-1604, tentcitypdx@yahoo.com
Timothy McCarthy, Outreach Coordinator, Dignity Village, Inc., (503) 281 1604, tim97211@yahoo.com
Soldier Ross, Project Coordinator, Dignity Village, Inc., (503) 803 1348, sockeyefamily@yahoo.com

Dignity Village: http://dignityvillage.org
The City Repair Project: http://cityrepair.org

Saturday & Sunday, 26-27 April, 2003, 9 AM to 6PM both days.

As springtime is about new beginnings, so is Dignity Village about new ideas. The weekend of 26-27 April will see yet another good idea developed at the village, and this one will be another of long-standing interest to the larger community in Portland.

The new project is a prototype for urban sustainability which will surely pique the interest of citizens, designers, builders, business people, and neighborhood and city leaders. An idea long pursued but never before realized in Portland, Dignity Village is about to build a residential strawbale prototype! Like all projects at Dignity, this one will be built by village participation in a proces of learning, skill sharing, and relationship building. The building will be small, only ten feet by twelve feet, but it will be big enough to demonstrate the astounding thermal benefits of strawbale construction and the beauty of the earthen plaster finishes which the villagers will learn how to apply. The project will be a passive solar design and will also feature a "living roof" which will be planted with various native varieties of draught resistant plants. The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages has generously donated all wood and hardware for the prototype.

For this project Dignity Village and The City Repair Project have teamed up to bring in popular strawbale construction leader Lydia Doleman. A recent arrival to Portland, Ms. Doleman has years of experience in various methods of ecological construction, including earthen masonry, also known as cob. She is highly skilled in working with community members in participatory processes that enable people to learn by doing while having a good time and meeting new people. Jack Tafari, current chairman of the village council, says, "It's a great project this but not really that big in the long scheme of things. Our village is all about self-help and housing ourselves using green, sustainable technologies. Wait until you see what we can do with a little land, some breathing space and some time!"

On the subject of sustainable design and community participation, Mark Lakeman points out that "We don't have to stop building, but we do have to make buildings which serve some notion of a sustainable economy, which make ecological sense and which engage the community. There are many good ideas which simply await a chance to happen, and this is just such an important idea."

In anticipation of the weekend-long workshop, Lydia Doleman says "I always look forward to working with people who want to learn together and enrich each other's lives. This prototype at Dignity Village will be a great way to show how much we can accomplish with very little in the way of resources." For more information on how to get involved, call the numbers listed above. Come out and visit Dignity Village where we say, "We may have been homeless but now we live in a Village!"