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Songaia welcomes visitors this Saturday

cohousing community A group of Bothell residents have received zoning approval from Snohomish County on 11 acres near Canyon Park. Named "Songaia", the property is a cohousing development, a form of housing in which people who intend to live in a neighborhood work together to design and develop it.
    Songaia stands for "song of the living earth." The current cohousing model originated in Denmark in the 1970's. Today there are 25 finished projects in 11 states and 100 more planned throughout the United States.
    A 1991 Winslow project on Bainbridge Island was the first cohousing development completed in Washington State. Songaia follows, with other projects in West Seattle, Port Townsend, Redmond, Olympia, Bellingham, Vashon, and Ellensburg.
    The wooded hillside and pasture in Bothell will be developed to include 13 private home units arranged around an open space and common facilities. Large organic gardens, fruit orchards, and berry bushes are maintained and shared by the owners. Every effort is being made to preserve the rural character of the land.
   This Saturday, on January 27, Songaia Cohousing Community will hold an open house to introduce potential owners to the project. Visitors will see how individual families, who privately own their dwellings, can live in a cooperative community which shares common areas and facilities.
   "We are a group of people who are committed to building an inclusive atmosphere of cooperation, communication, and celebration," said Craig Ragland, a Songaia member. "Living cooperatively is a way for our new neighborhood to share some items, like lawnmowers, yard tools, canning equipment, large freezers, and so on. We plan a common library with computer equipment available, as well as a large dining facility."
   "We govern ourselves by consensus and share in the work needed for community maintenance and development. We hold regular community meetings to this end," said Ragland.
   "We hope that Songaia will served as a model community. We believe our shared respect for diversity, people, the land, and learning creates an atmosphere that promotes a strong community, where we and our children can feel safe and cared for," he added.
   Co-housing appeals to singles, families and seniors with support and an extended family-type atmosphere.
   A book, Cohousing, A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, by Katie MacCamant and Charles Durrett, discusses the advantages of cohousing.
   Songaia Community is located at 22421 39th Ave. SE, Bothell. Tours of the land and existing buildings will be conducted beginning at 3 p.m. with a celebration between 4:30-7:30 p.m. For information, call 486-2035, or visit their Web site at http://www.songaia.com.