Long Term Development
Lost Valley Center
Lost Valley is dreaming big and working its way towards even greater levels of service with its long-term development initiatives. Read below to find how we’re revitalizing ourselves and where its taking us. You’re invited to join in through offering donations, signing up for investment opportunities, taking a course or coming to an event, or even by living here in our on-site community. Stay tuned!
Lost Valley Center 501c3 owns a rural property with an extremely unique zoning status inherited from the previous owners (Shiloh Youth Revival Centers). On our 88 acres of land, we are blessed with a future capacity of 35 staff member families, 150 resident students, and 3000 annual guests (currently, our total population is about 55 people on-site, and we are looking for more long-term community members). However, our site map (inherited from Shiloh) is unclear as to exactly where we can continue to develop our approved on-site residences and facilities. We are currently in the process of working with Lane County Planning Department to come to agreement about site locations and uses.
In addition, we are seeking neighboring land to further develop our agricultural programs and self-sufficiency efforts.
At the same, time, we are working with our on-site and potential future staff to develop a new legal structure that allows for co-ownership of the land and residences. This may be an L.L.C., a condominium association, or a community land trust. Research is underway on this exciting topic. Finally, we can create a way for our hard-working staff to commit to this caretaking this land for the long term. In addition, we are researching conservation easements and other legal methods to protect the integrity of our natural ecosystems indefinitely.
Through a combination of eco-friendly staff residences, on-site ecological cottage industries, and improved on-site facilities for hosting gatherings and workshops, we can offer incredible opportunities for education. The following description are our educational goals and our vision of service through this process, and why it’s important. In addition, we will continue to host workshops and gatherings that work to transform the lives of those that participate.
Lost Valley Village Skills Trade School:
A place and community-based synergy between economics, ecology, and education
in Dexter, OR
By building the Lost Valley Village-Skills Trade School, we hope to offer an opportunity to learn the crafts and trades of an assortment of Ecological Cottage Industries, led by experts in their field living on-site. On-site cottage industries will be oriented towards sustainability, but depending on various factors, may range from a bread bakery to a Biodiesel distillery; from Natural Home building to clothing and shoe-making; from woodworking furniture to welding tools, from Natural Childcare to appropriate technology manufacturing; from organic agriculture to a Permaculture nursery business and related homesteading skills. In this context, children and adults alike will have the opportunity to learn real skills in a small-business, community-focused, ecologically-minded context. From this model, we hope that our and other rural communities can begin to envision a new economy that can stand alone — a small-business, community-focused, ecologically-minded economy. It is only education and community, working in synergy, that can re-envision our rural identities and allow every community to become a leader in creating a healthier planet.
Lost Valley Village-Skills trade school is envisioned as an alternative for students that aren’t satiated by traditional curriculum, that desire to learn the real skills that will allow them to actually construct the world they want to see; a transition school, both in the societal sense and the personal, towards a path of right livelihood that sustains ourselves and helps our environment. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in our powerful workshops and on-site gatherings that regularly grace our community. We hope to someday offer accredited programs of various lengths, year-long programs, semester programs, summer programs, and shorter trips for younger age groups. Together, we learn, teach, and forge a more sustainable way of being together.
From this starting point, we are excited by the prospect of community-supported sustainable trade schools developing in rural areas throughout our state. We believe this is possible. However, zoning laws create difficulties for development of communal residences outside of Urban Growth Boundaries. We intend to use the positive example of our Non-Conforming Use zoning to propose a new type of zoning to the Oregon Legislature: Community-Supported Education Zoning.
Why is this important to you?
The message is everywhere today: Our public school systems are broken. They are failing to teach our children and young adults the emotional and practical skills needed to create a more peaceful and sustainable world. Upon graduation, students are left unprepared to respond creatively to the great ecological and social challenges of our time. Without the skills necessary to take ownership of their own future, and that of their communities, it is challenging to discover our unique gifts and potentials.
Moreover, it is apparent that our nation’s rural communities are struggling, and Oregon is no exception. Once thriving and self-sufficient small towns and villages are struggling to regain their identity, as they compete against and depend upon the growing metropolitan areas. Today, rural areas have long lost the productive and diverse landscapes of the early European homesteaders and Native Americans, a legacy overcome by the onset of clear-cutting, mechanized mountain-top removal, and other methods of wholesale resource extraction. As those extractive industries are now failing to support our rural communities, we have the opportunity to reclaim and reinvent our rugged Oregon cultural legacies in a unique and sustainable way.
We’re setting the clock for five years…
and we need your help to get there!
Thank you for reading on…
Five Year Plan:
- 1) 2013: Secure investment for improving our current infrastructure in Earth friendly ways. Upgrade our event facilities, finish two on-site natural dwellings, install rainwater catchment, greywater systems, organic gardens, and more. And continue to educate and host transformational gatherings!
- 2) 2013: Complete the application process with Lane County Planning Department to clarify our zoning and capacity in 2013. We are blessed with a unique zoning and have the capacity for 35 Staff Member Families, 150 resident students, and 3000 annual guests on-site. We are looking for more community members!
- 3) 2013: Form a new legal entity for the growing community of staff, so they may co-own the land and build eco-friendly staff residences, ecological cottage industries, and co-create the educational vision with Lost Valley Center, Inc.
- 4) 2014: Grow the educational village in ecological and creative ways, with unique blendings of natural buildings and agro-ecologies that integrate humans with Nature.
- Build on-site ecological cottage industries to increase our educational offerings and our enrollment, working towards a full expression of the Lost Valley Village-Skills Trade School vision. Continue to host transformative, culture-shifting gatherings and workshops.
- 6) 2017: Work with other organization to promote our ecovillage as a model of sustainable rural development that works, and propose a new type of rural zoning to Oregon Legislature.