On a chilly December day, residents of the Two Rivers Homeowners Cooperative received a very important guest: Oregon Governor Tina Kotek. Kotek, who has made housing central to her agenda, was there that day to see how one manufactured dwelling community transformed into a resident-owned community, and learn more about the property and its residents. Kotek was also joined by state Sen.Mark Meek, Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, the Gladstone Mayor Tom Owens, and Kotek’s wife Aimee Wilson.
Two Rivers became a 55+ resident-owned community in 2017. Just 13 miles south of Portland, the manufactured home park sits on a beautiful stretch of land flanked by rivers on each side. When the previous owner was going to sell the property, residents came together to form an interim board of directors to transform the property into a resident-owned community, with assistance from CASA of Oregon. The complex, which houses 142 spaces (soon to be 144), boasts a state-of-the-art community center with a pool table, common kitchen, and meeting space.
The group, including the current Board of Directors of Two Rivers, sat at a series of round tables and recounted their path to home ownership, stating that they wouldn’t have been able to go through the process of becoming resident-owned were it not for CASA of Oregon and ROC USA.
“Transitioning to a resident-owned community was scary for all of us, but CASA hung in there for us, and they still do today,” said Two Rivers Board President Maureen Perry. “We’ve done so well that our cooperative is considered one of Oregon’s success stories.”
The conversation was focused on the board’s experience with organizing, and highlighted the fact that these parks are preserved as affordable housing, but uniquely controlled by the residents. The Governor asked a series of clarifying questions around the process, and seemed genuinely interested in the model and in awe of how hard the community had worked to call Two Rivers home.
“I was excited [about the governor’s visit],” said Perry. “I told [Governor Kotek] I felt like a kid meeting Santa.”
“She really listened to us and genuinely wanted to hear about our experience,” added Perry.
When asked about her favorite thing about living in Two Rivers, Perry said “community.” “It’s amazing to go out your front door and know everyone in your community. Not only are we a safe community—we know our rents won’t go up, which is comforting.”