Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger Proud Ground and Columbia Ecovillage for the Ultimate Co-housing Opportunity

Proud Ground and Columbia Ecovillage for the Ultimate Co-housing Opportunity

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, December 17, 2020

My clients Laura and Umar contacted me in mid-October because they had just been approved to purchase a home at Columbia Ecovillage through the local community land trust, Proud Ground.  I absolutely love what Proud Ground does and any chance I get to work with a family who has been approved to purchase one of their homes I jump on the opportunity.

Land trusts provides permanently affordable home ownership opportunities for families making at or below 80% of the area median income level. The land trust legally splits the home from the land. The “land” remains in the trust in perpetuity, while the home can be bought and sold as long as the new homeowners make below the 80% median family income at the time of purchase. By taking the land value out of the equation, the price of the home remains affordable. Columbia Ecovillage is a multi-generational co-housing community in Cully made up of 37 condominiums and situated on nearly 4 acres of splendor. The units rarely become available, but earlier this year a unit did come on the market, and a couple of long term Columbia Ecovillage residents decided they wanted to have a family sized unit be part of Proud Ground. This couple purchased the unit and donated it to Proud Ground to sell, and bringing another housing unit into the land trust.

Umar and Laura had moved to China from Portland a couple of years ago when Laura got a job doing mental health work for an English-speaking school there. This past February, they decided to go to Cambodia for a 2-week holiday. While they were there, coronavirus starting surging in China and around the world, and their family wound up getting stuck in Cambodia and were not allowed to return to China. After weeks in SE Asia it became clear they would not be able to return to China to their home for an unknown amount of time- probably months. They decided to go with plan B which involved making their way back to Portland. They left behind most of their belongings in China, including work and personal computers, and someday they hope to return there to recover their stuff. Once they arrived back in Portland, thankfully they found a fully furnished apartment to land in. Laura was able to keep her job in China working remotely from Portland, but it did mean her hours were late given the time zone difference.

Umar is from Uganda and growing up in Uganda, daily life was lived more communally. When they heard about Proud Ground and found out about the unit for sale at Columbia Ecovillage, it seemed like the perfect fit. They stopped by and were welcomed in and given a tour by some fantastic residents there. They fell in love with the idea of moving into this village space with beautiful shared gardens, community spaces, a communal kitchen and large old home that the residents use for gatherings, meetings and socializing and being a part of a close-knit community. They applied with Proud Ground and were accepted into the program and the unit at Columbia Ecovillage was reserved in their names. And that’s when I entered the picture after Laura called me. We wrote up the offer, and of course it was accepted. As we were writing up the offer, Laura and Umar learned who the benevolent sellers were who purchased the unit to bring into the Proud Ground stable, and it turned out the sellers were the very same people who had given Laura and Umar and their 4 year old son a tour and spent time talking with them about the community, and it all made sense. Everything was smooth sailing until it came time for the final employment verification. With Laura’s employer based in China, it did make for some tense moments and caused a slight delay in closing getting that final verification, but in the end, the sale closed and Umar and Laura and their son joined Columbia Ecovillage as the newest residents.



Alyssa Isenstein Krueger



I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. I took the round-about-road towards this career. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in NY two decades ago with a degree in liberal arts/creative writing, I returned to my hometown of PDX and got a job in a legendary record store of days gone by, worked as a music and culture writer for Portland’s oldest weekly publication while pursuing a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. Armed with my masters degree, I moved into the realm of affordable housing, community development, and urban planning, and then rounded the corner with a long stay in arts management then back around the bend when I got my real estate license and went to work for a non-profit housing builder at the cusp of the market crash in 2007. In the time between that market crash and the ensuing madness, I’ve stayed on top of the market like a dog guarding a bone. Using a magical combination of experience, instinct, and market data, I know what homes are worth, I know how to write a terrific offer, and I know how to help a seller market a home and receive and accept a great offer. Mutual trust and tender relationship building is the basis and foundation of my real estate practice. I use my skills as an active listener, creative solution finder and ace negotiator to get my clients the best price on a home, win the multiple offer roulette, and have as smooth and easy transaction as possible. Timely and responsive communication is the most important aspect of building trust and I don’t take that part lightly.  I am a stickler for details and nothing pleases me more than guiding a client through the home buying or selling process (and sometimes both at the same time). My role is one of advocate, advisor, partner, transaction organizer, and counselor. I am a partner broker with Portland Housing Center and relish the opportunity to work with eager first time home buyers. I have a knack for seeing the potential in almost any home and love to help clients see past what is and help them envision what can be. I have a decade of first-hand experience renovating and caressing my bungalow in Ladd’s Addition and had the honor of having my own home featured in a story in the Oregonian’s Homes and Gardens section. I can feel the love for any and almost all homes, but my heart goes all aflutter when entering a museum quality time capsule house -- the solid mid-century ones with the original pink or green tiled bathrooms, those charming early 1900’s farmhouses with the original kitchen cabinets and fir countertops, the cozy bungalows with the built-ins still intact. When I’m not working with clients, you’ll find me hanging with my two boys, Kalman and Saul, and my husband Robert, a Fine Art Conservator with his own business, Cascadia Art Conservation Center.  Retired racing greyhounds have been my constant companions since 1997, and our family includes Peanut the greyhound, Pinto the South Korean Italian greyhound, and our chickens, Rosie, Lola, Squishy, Duck and Prince. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 5 in my yard including a couple I started from seed) alongside blueberry bushes (6 in my yard). Given some free time, you’ll find me junking at an estate sale, dreaming of high brow junk, low brow art, making things, sewing, reading and dreaming of tropical locales.
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