The three phased Salish Way Cooperative was built between 2014 and 2021 and consists of ten homes. Designed by David Vandervort Architects, nine of the homes are one bedroom cottages with lofts and one home is 900 sq. ft 2-bedroom with a flex room. The homes are designed to be net zero energy and feature passive solar elements, community solar, heat pump hot water and space heating, induction stoves and rain water catchment.
One of the homeowners, Catalina Kohring, who has lived on Lopez since she was eight years old, says that having her home enables her to raise her daughter in the same place where she grew up and across the way from her daughter’s grandfather and three uncles. “It makes me feel more rooted in the Lopez community.”
Pre-pandemic, construction provided summer internships for college students, volunteer opportunities for more than 35 individuals, 2 summer youth programs and 1 out of state public school program as well as gainful income for more than 25 local tradespeople. “It’s hard to describe the visceral upwelling of gratitude I am living in each day as I see my little home grow out of the ground,” shared homeowner Kristen Ryan. “It is not without commitment, hard work and sacrifice on many people’s part that these housing opportunities are an option for us. This whole experience has been a community effort.” In the fall of 2019, Kristen’s home was featured in the annual LCCA Home Tour.
On Lopez Island, affordable housing is incredibly challenging to find and many renters may move two or three times in a single year. LCLT cooperatives provide certainty for homeowners, to leave untenable homes, and to thrive in the Lopez community. Salish Way co-op member Mehgan said, “I love the feeling of security the home provides for me. No longer do I have to worry about a home being pulled out from under me. I have everything I need! Hot water, a washer and dryer, push button heat, these are basic amenities for much of America, but they are hard to come by in an affordable home on Lopez (as well as other communities in this county). I feel like I have finally reached adulthood. My home is also a perfect size for me and my dog, Toto. It is bright and airy and open and I am truly in love with it. My roots can continue to run deep on this beautiful rock.”