Welcome to Du•ma'
"Like family…only better"
Du•má is a close-knit group of people who live together in a beautiful old home on a quiet residential neighborhood in Eugene just south of the University of Oregon.
Our home was built by the Eugene Bible University in 1925 as a home for wayward girls but divided into apartments a few years later. In 1990 eight people bought the property together and restored it as a home for "wayward adults". Our home has ten bedrooms, a large kitchen and pantry, a guest room, small office, workshop, laundry room, and a dungeon for really bad people.
We have a large lot with an impressive garden that includes fruit trees, berry vines, nut trees, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and evil bindweed (let's just call it an exotic species). Our little eden contains many uncommon fruiting crops such as persimmon, passionfruit, mullberry, pawpaw, and jujube. We also have solar panels, a sauna, hot tub, beehive, and chicken coop.
Du•má began as a vision of several people who lived in student cooperatives in the late 1980s. They aspired to buy a home that could be a model of both sustainability and community. Over the next year and a half the group coalesced, established common values, incorporated, and purchased property. The first eight members began living together in 1990.
The members of Du•má shared values of community, ecological responsibility, diversity, personal growth and equality. These values guided day-to-day life and helped keep the group together.
Over the Years
Dozens of people have lived at Du•má over the years–some for just a few months and others for many years. While the founders aspired to have everyone become a co-owner, the responsibility and stamina required to hold a collective vision, nurture community, and be a homeowner was more than most people were able to commit to. As a result, a core group of owners formed while other like-minded folks rented.
One-by-one every room in the house was renovated, windows were replaced, and wood floors were re-finished. The gravel parking lot in back was removed and replaced with fruit trees, a vegetable garden, and deck.
Over time, members of the core group moved on to other places and by 2009 only one member of the core group remained. While the collective ownership structure is still in place, with only one owner, Du•má Community is a unique collective/private mix. Having one owner makes for clear lines of accountability and much less time in meetings, but it also means that people who rent have less autonomy than they might like.
Commonly Asked Questions
What does "Du•má" mean?
The word Du•má comes from the Calapooyan Indian language and means "home". (To be honest, we're not totally certain of this; hopefully it doesn't mean "rotting deer flesh"). Choosing a local Native American word symbolizes our respect for the people who not long ago lived in ecological balance in the Willamette Valley.
What kind of impressions do visitors have about Du•má?
Visitors often remark that we are neat, well organized, and accountable to one another. They notice the many little touches that make our home beautiful and find that we typically get along well with each other. Visitors who share dinner with us comment on our scrumptious meals.
How many people live at Du•má?
The number varies, but typically there are seven to eight adults. The age of residents has ranged between 18 and late 60s.
Do children live at Du•má?
That depends if you include adults that act like children! We’ve had many certified non-adults live here over the years–from newborn to teenagers. We’ve also had long periods without children.
How do house jobs get done?
Each person signs up for responsibilities on a job chart. We swap chores periodically to accommodate people's changing schedules and desire for learning new skills. With many people living under one roof, we can keep our home running smoothly with each person contributing just a few hours of work each week.
How are conflicts resolved?
We just stuff it inside (not!) Du•má members tend to be very aware of interpersonal dynamics. We strive to resolve conflicts respectfully through direct communication. Other members often provide support for those involved in the conflict. We have a more formal process that can be used for more involved conflicts.
Do you have a common spiritual practice?
Is eating desert a spiritual practice?
What makes Du•má Community different than a co-op?
As a community, our focus is more about creating positive relationships than on simply providing housing or having shared ownership.
What kind of work do people do?
Amongst the many occupations–social workers, artists, computer programmers, business owners, government employees, administrators, students, and the occasional slacker. We don’t have a shared business or income.
Are the original members still living at Du•má?
Only one of the original members lives at Du•má (the parole board hasn’t release him just yet.) We are still in touch with many of the people who have lived here over the years.
Who owns Du•má?
Over the years there have been several financial/legal structures to serve the needs of our community. Currently the property is held by a limited liability company.
What does it cost to live at Du•má?
Rent depends on the room and ranges from $330 to $450 per month. In addition, each person contributes a set amount towards utilities, food, and household items such as toilet paper and cleanser.
How often do you eat together?
We typically have dinners together five nights a week with one person cooking for everyone. We often have leftovers and always have plenty of raw ingredients for breakfast and lunch.
What do you do if someone has a dietary restriction?
People with a wide variety of dietary needs have lived at Du•má, including omnivores, vegans, and people with allergies to gluten and soy. We’re adept at finding way to meet everyone’s diet. We have a long-standing tradition of only purchasing and preparing vegetarian food, so people who eat meat usually do so if they go out for a meal or perhaps bring home prepared food.
What qualities do you look for in prospective housemates?
More than anything, we're looking for people who are a good fit with the people who are currently living here. In general, we’re looking for people who are emotionally stable, have good communication and social skills, have time and energy to create community, and who have a steady source of income.
What else do you do together?
As a community we’ve gone on many retreats, served Thanksgiving dinners, played games, and hosted parties. More often, a few people might go out to see a movie, take a sauna, or dance together.
How can I become involved?
We encourage you to get to know us. If you’re interested in living with us we’ll give you a tour and invite you over to dinner to see if it’s a good match.
Visitors are welcome to stay on a night-by-night basis for up to three days. Please contact us at least one week in advance to make arrangements.
Contact us at:
2244 Alder Street
Eugene, OR 97405
541-three four three-1926