Bios

Alex Eisenberg

img_52791Alex became a member of the EcoVillage in Fall 2016 after living here as a guest for the summer. A 2012 graduate of The Evergreen State College, her focus was in Community Studies, Food Systems, and the Built Environment (basically: permaculture). Alex has spent the last 4 years continuing her education by helping start a food buying club in her home town, taking a 9 month Permaculture Course, doing a construction internship, and working on a variety of farms and homesteads. She originally moved to Port Townsend to intern at Earlwood Farm, and throughout her season there she found a true sense of home on the land and community of the Quimper Peninsula. When the season there was over, Alex missed being intimately connected to her food sources and jumped around on farms until landing at the EcoVillage. She is excited about living on this land and working to help tend it and the sense of community at the EcoVillage. Alex is a also a dedicated writer and poet, a hula hoop dancer, and an activist. Every summer she leads wilderness and ritual based Rite of Passage trips for teens with an organization called Rite of Passage Journeys.

Bekka Bloom

After living in Port Townsend for almost a year, I showed up for a tour of the PTEV, stayed for the meeting and dinner, and was drawn to the community’s welcoming friendliness.  Soon, it was clear to me how committed this group is to clear, honest and respectful communication.  Eight years later, I find myself building an Ecovillage with a bunch of fun, talented, kind, and energized people.

bekkaOriginally from the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay, I’ve been adventuring westward since 1996 when I took a break from my career in job training to explore national parks and visit intentional communities.  I spent several years at Sandhill Farm in northeast Missouri where I enjoyed rural life at an income-sharing community and acquired a passion for growing food.

I’m living across the road from the PTEV while my friends Jim, Terri and I build our earth-sheltered house, and I spend a lot of time on the land especially in the gardens.  I currently serve the Board and the Food Team, and previously served as Secretary for 2 years.

This last year, I’ve been exploring what’s next for me work-wise and have done some traveling. I helped organize the Jefferson County Local Food System Council and joined both the Farm To School Board and the Kul Kah Han Native Plant Garden. When I’m not sewing, braiding wool rugs, writing, making collage, in the garden, watching films, or riding my bike to the beach, you might find me curled up with a science fiction book.

Bob Simmons

Bob 2016 Hurricane Ridge(1)I enjoy life here on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and living in the EcoVillage.  I moved here in March 2014, rented a room for 2 years, then moved into a beautiful cottage in the EcoVillage woods.  Everyday I make a bit of time to appreciate and take in the incredible land and seascape that surrounds me.  I feel fortunate that my work is focused on empowering others to protect and restore this environment that sustains our lives and the natural resource based industries here (think oysters, salmon and forests).  I have an awesome, well balanced, artistic 22 yr old daughter, Autumn, who is about to finish up her undergraduate degree in Art Therapy.  I love surfing, swimming, hiking, dancing and music festivals, as well as cooking and partaking in our local food system.

David Berrian and Viki Sonntag

We left the big city in search of a place with heart and found Port Townsend EcoVillage, a community within a community, nestled in nature – a place of intimacy, caring and aliveness.  Since joining the village in November of 2012, we have been making the shift from doing to being and have stepped out on the learning curve of what it means to be a communitarian.

d-and-v-copyDavid:  After a long, varied “career” that included teaching, community organizing, economic analysis, planning, assembly line work, and being a bureaucrat, I am settling into a mutually supportive community that reflects my values.  I continue to be a supporter of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and a war tax resister.  I enjoy the beaches and forests; delight in playing in the mud (a.k.a. gardening), and occasionally get a kick out of photography and video production.  I think the world and all of us are in for some tough times in the years ahead and having the means to care for one another will be essential to our ability to adapt.  I am grateful to my partner, Viki, and to all of Port Townsend EcoVillage for providing a place I can call home.

Viki: It has long been Viki’s dream to live in a human-scale community, harking back to her days of growing up overseas in small villages on the edge of the known world (to those back home) and reading bucket loads of science fiction books starring small bands of folks on quests to live differently.  For her livelihood as a grassroots researcher and data maven, she studies sustainable production/consumption systems, resource flows in networks, and artisan and community economies. Her passion is summed up in the belief that everyone should have enough and no one should have too much.  She feels blessed in her relationships with family (a beautiful, funny and compassionate daughter, her partner David’s gifted daughter and two peachy grandkids) and many friends, those back in the city and her new found ones in Port Townsend.

Deanna Pumplin

DeannaDeanna grew up on a small dairy farm in Michigan where neighbors helped each other harvest, and social events centered around Farm Bureau meetings, 4-H, ice cream socials, school and extended family gatherings.

After university music school, Deanna got involved in her son’s alternative day care center and an alternative high school, helped start a hands-on children’s museum, and began a career as a legal worker in law collectives in Michigan and in Seattle.  She worked closely with the National Lawyer’s Guild, a progressive organization that promotes the principle of human rights over property rights.

During early retirement to Port Townsend, Deanna focused primarily on visiting grandchildren, making prints and books, playing music, hiking, and caring for beloved parents and relatives.

Deanna has a life-long enjoyment of connection with the natural world through gardening, being around animals, playing in trees, hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing.  Her connections with Port Townsend EcoVillage folks, especially with her partner Laurence, evolved into a decision to become part of the community.

Building a natural home with Laurence and the help of designer Anne Raab, natural builder Joseph Becker, local builder and friend Doug Milholland (Blue Heron Construction), and the many friends and volunteers who became friends, who came to sing, to fill the walls with light straw/clay, to plaster inside and out, to carve ornamental designs in the moldings, to create cabinets, to sit around the table to tell stories and share meals, to memorialize this living dwelling in poetry, has changed Deanna’s life.

She’s currently part of the Food Team and the Comprehensive Site Plan Team, and excited about building community in a variety of ways in this special place.

Gretchen Sleicher

GnTree(1)Gretchen moved from Seattle to Port Townsend in 2006 to help create this quirky experiment we call the PT EcoVillage. She loves the way this enables her to integrate community, social life, working on a common project for the greater good, cultural shift and spiritual/personal growth and learning. A full and rewarding life here also includes co-directing the PT Songlines choir with fellow ecovillager Laurence Cole, songwriting, making music and conversation with friends, solitude, hiking, kayaking and exploring our beloved Cascadia home, and leading workshops that combine group singing and Joanna Macy’s The Work That Reconnects . She’s a freelance translator of Spanish and English, has lived and worked extensively in Latin America, is the mother of two wonderful grown children in Seattle, and a sucker for huckleberry pie. Ask her and she’ll whip off her necklace and tell you the Story of the Universe in beads.

Helen Kolff

Helen is an educator and activist. She has taught high school Sociology, been a family planning educator with Planned Parenthood, helped organize the Beyond War peace movement in Seattle, volunteered as a mediator, planned conferences, written a book on wildflowers of the Peruvian Andes, and spent a lot of time with her husband, Kees, raising their two children. Currently, she spends her time painting, biking, hiking, serving as a wilderness guide for Wild Women Soul Adventures, being a grandmother, and working to realize the Port Townsend EcoVillage vision.

Kees Kolff

Kees was born in the Netherlands, and his first name (pronounced “Case”) is the official Dutch nickname for Cornelis. He is a retired Pediatrician with experience in public health.  After serving 17 years as Medical Director for an Hispanic Community Health Center (SeaMar) headquartered in Seattle, he and his wife Helen volunteered in the Peruvian Andes for a year with The Mountain Institute.  They returned determined to live more sustainably, bought 71/2 acres, and co-founded what is now the Port Townsend EcoVillage.  He has served as President of Jefferson Land Trust as well as Mayor of Port Townsend. He was founding chair of the Green Sanctuary Committee at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and is active in the movement to address climate disruption. He is President of Jefferson County Recyclery, with a mission to promote bicycle use for a healthier and more sustainable community. Kees likes to sing, keep bees, bike, hike, backcountry ski and show off his experimental Trombe Wall water bottle home heating system (see picture). He and Helen have a daughter Adri and son-in-law Randy who live in Seattle, and their kids Adam and Cora love coming to the EcoVillage

Jim Salter and Terri Wardrop

IMG_1111Jim:  Jim is a native of central Puget Sound.  His love of nature comes from camping and hiking in the Olympic Mountains as a child.  Jim has been a social, political, environmental activist since 1969 and has been growing  organic food and herbs for over 35 years.  Recently, Jim has been building a home for his wife and another member of the ecovillage.  Jim’s wealth of knowledge and experience in community living comes from co-creating and living in a nine family cohousing group for 16 years before joining into developing the Port Townsend EcoVillage. He also has experienced the value of raising children in community, for the child as well as the parents.  At the co-housing community, Jim built a small house with 75% recycled and salvage materials, using his skills as a self-employed building contractor and finish carpenter.

In the summer and fall, you may not find him, he’ll be picking blackberries, huckleberries or mushrooms at his secret spots (he tells no one) or harvesting herbs for his medicine chest. When you do find him not working on ‘the house’, he’ll be working with plants, propagating, planting trees and shrubs and experimenting with growing staple foods. His other favorite, all year around, thing to do is biking to the Salish Sea for an early morning  skinny dip before breakfast.

Terri: Terri moved 12 times between the ages of six and seventeen (and she was not a military brat). She has lived in four states and a foreign country. She eventually had a houseboat built so she could take her home with her. On her first visit to Port Townsend in 1984 she felt like she was coming home. It took Terri over 20 years, but she has finally made it home. As an adult, she has lived in numerous shared housing situations, including a co-housing community for about five years. Terri thought she had died and gone to heaven when she read the PTEV’s vision statement and saw the words consensus, social justice, nonviolent communication, and permaculture. Some of her other passions are children, poetry, garlic, walking/hiking, reading, dancing … Maybe she is quietly passionate about too many things to list. One of her favorite pastimes is laughing with her partner, Jim. Terri earns money adjunct faculty in early childhood, though she has had a number of career incarnations over the years.

John Rush

I’m drawn to the ecovillage by my desire to live in community with others who also seek simpler more sustainable ways of living. I’m motivated by the thought of moving ever closer to a lifestyle that the Planet can actually support, and being surrounded by community in the process.

I was born and raised in the beloved Mountains of Montana, but have lived in the this sweet community of Port Townsend for 25 years now. Though I don’t live on site yet, I have been involved with the ecovillage since its conception. I value the mix of community within community.

I have always had a deep connection with nature. The natural world is the basis of my inspiration, spirituality, recreation, basic well-being, and in fact survival. I bring an array of practical skills to the ecovillage, and look forward to co-creating a home there over the next 2 years.

Laurence Cole

Laurence is a 70 year old Grandpa who for six years lived in the woods at PTEV. For the last 4 years he has been living in the home of his sweetheart, Deanna Pumplin, who is also a member of the PTEV. Laurence and Deanna are in the middle of building a light straw clay house at the EcoVillage. Laurence has fallen in love with stone masonry as part of that process and also is enjoying re-upping his woodworking skills to add unique finishing touches to their home.

A student of cultural anthropology and applied behavioral science, and having lived in various intentional communities over much of his life, he has extensive experience in the joys and pitfalls of community living, which has helped him form a deep respect for the uniquely creative and skillful bunch of folks who’ve been drawn to the PTEV.

Laurence is a song writer and is the founding director of PT Songlines Community Choir here in Port Townsend, and for the last 4 years has been co-directing the choir with another PTEV member, Gretchen Sleicher. In 2010, he completed a CD and song book of 18 of his songs, entitled “This Fire, (Songs for Singing)” and enjoys travelling to various communities to lead groups in the joyous, community strengthening experience of spirited harmonic singing. His website is www.laurencecole.com where you can oreder or download his music and find out this schedule.

Laurence’s main focus at the EcoVillage over the years has been the attention he gives to the compost piles, taking great pride in the beautiful, dark and fertile addition to our garden soils every growing season.

Matt Ready

I’ve had an interest in intentional communities since I graduated the University of Maryland in 1995 and visited some amazing intentional communities on the East Coast including Twin Oaks and Shannon Farm.  Yet, although the seed of interest for intentional communities was planted many years ago, it was not until August 2012 that the perfect opportunity came up for me and my wonderful partner Stacey to finally move to one.  I love living at the Port Townsend Ecovillage.  This is a unique community with wonderful people.  There are many challenges to living in a community, but I have grown to realize that if you can work through the challenges, the rewards are enormous. I moved to Port Townsend in 1995 and while here, my life has evolved dramatically.  I’ve met many amazing people, gained many lifelong friendships, and of course met Stacey – who only a crazy person wouldn’t love.  I’ve gained a ton of skills and experience over the years living on the Olympic Peninsula.  I’ve worked in computers, started technology companies, worked 15 years in healthcare, done art, became an activist, learned to be a group facilitator, became a dedicated student of meditation, and eventually…I decided to become a candidate for a local political office, hospital commissioner…and then I won that election!  Currently, I am learning and working a ton as hospital commissioner to try and improve healthcare for everyone in our community.  I am also exploring a number of different projects related to Art, meditation, and activism. Well, that’s my story in a very small nutshell.  What’s yours?

Ruth Baldwin

2016-09-14 09.31.07I moved to the Port Townsend EcoVillage in 2005 for the opportunity to have a hand in shaping a community-centered way of life from the ground up and to live in a beautiful rural setting in a unique town.  Learning about permaculture, participating in natural building workshops, non-violent communication skill-building and diversity training are just a few of the things I have experienced in the past few years. I am so enriched by the relationships I have developed in my community.  Before joining Port Townsend EcoVillage, I had been a member of Winslow Cohousing Group on Bainbridge Island for nearly 7 years.  I learned so much about working in community there, especially gaining skills in consensus. Looking back on my start in a large family living in a one-mile square section of Boston, I don’t think there have been many times I have not lived in community. And there’s no way I would ever consider anything but a community life.  I have two wonderful daughters who are the pride and joy of my life, a very special son-in-law and a new grandson.  Life is certainly very good.

Stacey Larsen

IMG_6892I grew up in a large extended family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love hustle and bustle of a big family as well as the support that comes from one. Finding the Ecovillage was like finding another large family. Community and sharing resources are two guiding principles in my life. After my formative years in Minneapolis I went to college in Northern Minnesota and majored in Outdoor Education. I developed a love of nature while there, exploring on foot and boat. After traveling around the country teaching environmental education I landed in Bellingham, WA for graduate school. I graduated with a Masters in Education and moved to Port Townsend in January of 2007. Since I moved to Port Townsend I have worked with kids and adults and started my own farm camp. I was attracted to the Ecovillage because of the community within the larger community of Port Townsend. I met my partner Matt Ready in 2009 and we shared a vision of sharing community with others. It has been a great three years of learning, singing, dancing and growing.

Marc Weinblatt

Co-founder of the PTEV, Marc is a devoted husband to his beloved, Zhaleh, as well as father and part-time homeschooler of three beautiful boys – Shae (15), Orion (13), and Darius (2). Also a dedicated communitarian, he has been exploring, studying, and/or living in intentional community since he was 11 years old. In his work life, Marc has been a professional educator, theatre director, activist, and workshop facilitator since 1980 having extensive experience with both adults and youth. He is Founder and Director of the Mandala Center for Change (www.mandalaforchange.com) and an internationally recognized leader in the use of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed as well as diversity trainer. He has worked with a wide variety of communities ranging from police to homeless youth, grassroots organizers and laborers to University deans. Internationally, Marc has worked with activists in Europe and Canada, refugees in Azerbaijan, slum families in India, construction workers in South Africa, actors in the Republic of Congo, and victims of war, among others, in Afghanistan. Marc was recently named “Cultural Envoy” by the U.S. State Department for his work in the Congo in spring 2010. He is committed to bringing a deep sense of spirit and humanity into social justice work as well as to all aspects of his life. The flexibility of his work allows him to do crazy stuff like build an ecovillage and to actively raise his children. When he’s not working, he can often be found happily coaching soccer, making music, directing kids in school plays like “Romeo and Juliet”, or just loving with his family.

Orion Weinblatt Dey

I’m 12 years old. I am in 6th grade and am enrolled in the O.C.E.A.N. program. My dad directs a play for the school each year, which I always do. Some of the plays we’ve done have been The Odyssey and Arthur’s Stone, Merlin’s Fire. Sports are a big part of my life. In the spring and autumn, I play soccer. It is my favorite sport and I hope to always do it. I live on this great piece of property with my family (Marc, Shae, Zhaleh, and my baby brother Darius) in a house we built in 2011. It’s been really fun having my baby brother around. I love watching him play and grow every day. I also really enjoy cooking. For one, I love to eat, and two, I love eating what I cook. The great thing about living here at the Ecovillage is that there’s a whole community to help you if you need it. Also there’s about 7 acres of land to play on. I really like the people living here, they’re very nice and kid friendly! I love biking too. I bike to school as much as possible and around town too. And for music I play piano which I have been playing for four years now. The Ecovillage is a great place to live for all ages and I am happy to be living here.

Darius Weinblatt

Darius Weinblatt is currently the youngest member of the Eco Village. Born on June 3, 2013 in Port Townsend to loving parents, Zhaleh and Marc, he has a masterful ability to be (and stay!) in the present moment. His two big brothers, Orion and Shae, blaze a trail for him and they enjoy being physical and laughing together. Darius is very expressive and loves to sing and play piano with his dad. Driven by a curiosity for the world and filled with trust, his strong will and loving heart guide him.

Shae Weinblatt Dey

I am 14 years old. I go to Port Townsend High School in the 9th grade. I live here at the Ecovillage with my dad, Marc, my brothers, Orion and Darius, and Zhaleh. My favorite activities are: Biking, snowboarding, soccer, playing guitar, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends and family. I love music. My main instrument is guitar (I’ve been playing since I was 7) but I also play a little bit of drums, bass, piano, fiddle, and mandolin. I play guitar in a band with my friends. When I was 11, I traveled with my dad to India. I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We went for 5 weeks to Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. Most of the time you can find me doing homework, playing music, or hanging out with my friends and family.

Zhaleh Almaee Weinblatt

Zhaleh Almaee Weinblatt is a performance artist, facilitator, cultural organizer, and a joyous mother dedicated to raising conscious children. She works with her beloved husband, Marc, as co-director of the Mandala Center for Change and has a strong relationship with Finnriver Farm and the Jefferson Land Trust as an event organizer. She is also a member and trainer with the local Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble, a multi-generational, multi-ethnic group dedicated to social change using theatre for dialogue. She finds meaningful ways to be in service with healing arts. Zhaleh is a passionate, spontaneous, wild woman who cares about Rites of Passage, especially for women and elders, and has a love for puppetry, mask making, and the mountains. She deeply values creative expression and thrives in collaborative, creative settings. Her intention is to model and support lifestyles of connection that foster a culture of possibility.

Escaping the city edge of Boston in 2008, she landed in Portland, OR and lived at the Tryon Life Community Farm. She then headed up to Port Townsend in the summer of 2010. She and Marc built their home at the Eco Village and moved in Fall of 2011 and had their son, Darius, on June 3, 2013. With loving effort they work to create and maintain a welcoming nest for community to gather. When she’s not fundraising, organizing or facilitating a workshop Zhaleh can be found meandering the forest and singing to the trees.

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