In 2004, Pam and Joe Leitch bought the farmhouse property located just north of a 1970's apartment complex on Killingsworth and thought it would be a great idea to someday combine both properties for a cohousing community. Founders of the Portland Permaculture Institute, they re-established its gardens on the farmhouse property In 2007, Pam and Joe met with the apartment owners, and a purchase agreement was later signed.
After researching various cohousing communities, Pam and Joe decided to use the developer driven model, meaning that they would take the majority of the financial responsibility and risk for the project. They partnered with Rick and Ron Gustafson, local Portland developers. This team made most of the design and construction decisions and sold the completed units to future members of the Ecovillage.
An initial group of interested people met on September 8, 2007. The group decided on the name for the community, edited the original vision and values, and began having weekly meetings where future neighbors became friends, polices were drafted and input was given to the developers.
The first public meeting was held on November 4, 2007 at Kennedy School. During the following year the group held monthly gatherings there, as well as info-socials at various restaurants around town. Through these gatherings, word of mouth, flyers and other network communication, the Columbia Ecovillage community began to grow.
In July 2008, the growing community held a groundbreaking ceremony and the work to rehab the apartment buildings began. By that time most of the units were spoken for. In February 2009, the first members began to move in.
A major early project for the new community was the design and building of the dining/common hall with a children's room to be located between our farmhouse and the parking lot. After several years of debate and discussion, a modular building design was approved. It arrived in sections at Columbia Ecovillage in June 2013, and work to finish the interior was completed in October 2013.