July 26, 2011 – Portland, Oregon: A new cozy workplace, formerly a co-working space in Old Town, will open in Portland August 1st, with a twist:  it’s a voluntary association self-organized by the collective agency of the people who are there.

Open 9-5 Mon-Fri for free to individuals, and eves and weekends to volunteer groups, most revenue will come from rentals for meetings to non-members (seven conference rooms, offices, and open areas rent at $35/hr each) and paid memberships for people who want a permanent address ($157.50/month includes 24/7 access, mailing address, storage, and a reserved desk in the open loft area).

There is a coordinating group with three members, and there are four workgroups (and growing) with organizers including Christie Koehler, Reid Beels, and Audrey Eschright of Stumptown Syndicate, an Oregon nonprofit that will have software programming workshops for women starting in August, Clifton, a web designer with spiky hair who hosted a mentorship event in July with three sessions: business, software development, and visual communications, Ryan Gard of Ground Floor / Reality Check, groups with hundreds of members who have screenplay readings of 10-30 people, and Dawn of BookCyclePDX, who sets up libraries around town, including a resource- and skill-sharing library at “Collective Agency” with 400 books and a bookshelf. Coordinating member Summer Abbott hosts Young Women Social Entrepreneur planning meetings.

The “Collective Agency” coordinating group practices open book management, educating members and supporters about all expense and revenue estimates, and all money-in money-out, along with education about what the numbers mean. Members have paid the rent, own the furniture, and have a constitution.

Paid members include Lindsay Hill and Nita Hill, executive coaches for nonprofit boards, along with software developers, consultants, and conference organizers. Paid meetings include photographers who like the natural light, brick walls and Herman Miller chairs. Portland’s biggest footwear apparel and software companies, along with local startups, have had team-building meetings there. Fitzhugh Ryland, a coordinating member, has artwork up.

Mondays 9-5 are the best days to come for the first time. Bring a laptop, write, draw, or have a discussion.

Starting August 1, the location at 322 NW Sixth Ave, Suite 200, will fully become “Collective Agency”. It’s between Everett & Flanders, on the Yellow and Green MAX lines. Buzz “200” when you arrive. The phone will ring once or twice and you’ll be buzzed up. It’s a cozy and comfortable place to do work alongside other friendly people in the open loft. Noise and phone calls are encouraged. The main request is that you be considerate of others. Conference rooms are available for private phone calls or meetings.

“Co-working has been too sterile. It needs to get a little more lived in. More real,” says Alex Linsker, a coordinating member and the main contact. “It’s still a beautiful place, but now the reason to be here is the people.” He asks, “What ideas do you have? What would you like to do here? You’re invited to be part of this. We’d like to welcome you.”

Alex Linsker, “Collective Agency” Coordinating Council member
(503) 369-9174 mobile (503) 517-6900 landline (503) 517-6901 fax

Written by Alex Linsker