portland independent media center  
images audio video
promoted newswire article announcements portland metro

arts and culture | community building | sustainability

VBC is starting Friday- Please get involved in your local Revolution

The Village Building Convergence is a Cyclical Event for the Restoration of Communication and Sharing, Working Together to Rebuild our Common Culture, and to Transform the City into a Network of Ecological Village Places
Hi everyone!

This Friday is the first day of the VBC4, the 10-day celebration of
placemaking in Portland. Please pass this on to all your friends...it
would be great to come together with all of you!

Work on our 12 sites will begin on Saturday, after our kick-off the
evening before.

Friday's theme will be *Human Diversity and Village Vision*. The
evening will include PSU Urban Studies Professor Barry Messer, setting
the urban context; Village Vision images and words by VBC4 reps;
featured speaker Jeri Sundval, Environmental Justice Action Group.

Cost at the door is $10, with a sliding scale of $5-20. No one will be
turned away for lack of funds, though whatever you can give will help
immensely with covering the cost of the event.

Check out our website for full details of events, sites, workshops and
information on how to participate. www.cityrepair.org/vbc

Let's create this village together!

homepage: homepage: http://www.cityrepair.org/vbc

yeah! 20.May.2004 11:27

another villager

This is going to be a great event.

A lot of us talk about building the infrustructure we need to have local resiliance and resistance. This is our opportunity. Let's build public spaces where we can have our neighborhood emergency meetings, let's get out and meet our neighbors to build solidarity, let's bring together the many different localization/anti-globalization movements in Portland into one powerful force.

Last year's VBC was an experience I won't soon forget, I'm ready for this one!

$10? 20.May.2004 11:39

Revolution is Free

I support the whole idea of the building convergence, and have planned to participate. But I'm confused here. What's the $10 for? And is this just for the first event, the big kick-off thing? What about the rest of the convergence? Is it all gonna cost money?

I'm not trying to be an ass here. I'm just really curious. the idea of restoring our common culture is a beautiful and important one...that should be free. That's the whole point. Our culture is being swallowed and disintegrated by capitalism. We have no place to experience the world together without the intrusion of price tags and cost-benefit analyses. That's EXACTLY what is wrong. I had thought the convergence was going to be truly revolutionary; about breaking down those barriers, about doing things because they are the right things to do, not because we can profit from them.

Now I know (or at least I assume) that the price tag here is about paying for the "cost" of the event, but I question why organizers would choose to arrange something that will cost money. I had envisioned the building convergence to be about people coming together to put their own sweat and love into building something because they care about it. I didn't expect people to be charging at the door and expecting reimbursement for it all.

Please explain, and possibly think about what I'm saying. Real revolution doesn't cost money. And while I understand why the convergence itself is worthy of being posted on indymedia, I wonder about the appropriateness of this particular post because it looks like an advertisement to me. If there are other parts to this that do not, in fact, come with a pricetag, why not talk about those? People are so hungry for some way to build real communities together and not mere impersonal business transactions. Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, I just don't know that you've really thought about this, considered that there can be ways to REALLY go around the poison that's destroying us, and get things done in a truly revolutionary way that is not contingent upon funds being raised.

let's talk about the Commons 20.May.2004 12:41


For Locals, All of our daytime events are free. Completely Free. There is food and instruction available for anyone interested in helping.

Hundreds of us are working thousands of volunteer hours each adding our social capital to the mix. We have been writting local grants, hauling donations at 1 in the morning, cooking food, working closely with neighbors teaching consensus and permitting process, etc.

At the same time, many of our materials, our venue, our resources, our teachers require some financial capital. We are asking a donation of between $5-20 for each of the night-time events.

Capitalism is, at it's heart, about the enclosing of commons and the separating of different means of productions from one another. The reclaiming of the commons is, hopefully, about the bringing together of our many separated resources: knowledge, materials, labor, and also money. If we are to develop a localized system, we need to redirect our resources back into the local community.

Some equivalent events cost around $1500. Similar events that are free are subidized by corporations or by the State (in the case of college conferences.) We are actively trying to phase into a more self-sufficient and free system. This means that we are investing a little money now to build a knowledge base in the city so that we can phase into the gift economy as we go.

A good example of this:

a few years back, we brought in a glass mosaic artist to help teach her skills to neighbors at the Sunnyside piazza. The next year, one of the neighbors built their own mosaic wall, and this year they are leading the workshop for free! One day, all of our resources will be aquired through the local gift economy, for now we are working with what we have. (Think about the story of stone soup, where everyone was so used to the concept of "ownership" that they didn't understand the power of their collect resources. But the redirection of a little bit of private property into the restoration of the commons, can result in a powerful, synergistic, outcome.)

No one will be turned away from the nighttime events, but we could really use the help.

also... 20.May.2004 13:01


We are always in a process of evaluating the way we are doing this.

Finace is the most difficult and stressful part of this, If you have any constructive suggestions regarding ways to do it better next year, please let us know.

It would be great if we could cover more of our material needs through dumpster diving- we need more people and help to get those materials together. Our rock is comming from the river, our clay from peoples back yards, our sand is purchased, our wood from the rebuilding center, much of our plant material from donations.

I am personally hoping that we can plant the trees which will make the wood for the framing work 15 years from now.

An expense is the space. Unfortunately, we don't have many free places where we can host this kind of gathering. If you know of such resources: let us know and we'll make use of it next time around.

If you have skills and interests in creative resource-raising then please help us and get involved!

please use as image in feature 20.May.2004 13:10


Please post on main page
working in the village
working in the village

Can't wait to get my fingers in the mud 20.May.2004 13:50

a villager


I'm very excited about getting involved this year. The work at People's was amazing. I love cob!

Is there a schedule with when, where and what the events are? I noticed in the original post yu listed 12 seperate projects. Where and what are they? Is there a map with times?

Please help out this interested and confused villager.


well... 20.May.2004 14:04


vist www.cityrepair.org/vbc for site-by-site details

we have also published a guide to the village called the "Village Builder" it is available at our office: 1237 SE Stark or at People's Food Co-op

why the cost at door 20.May.2004 15:18


The village building convergence this year is costing us $40,000 to put together!
That price tag in no way reflects the thousands of hours so many of us have all been putting into this project the last nine months, in order to make it happen. At this point we haven't even raised half the money necessary to pay off our debts. Perhaps some day grant money will come for this event, and we won't have to ask people to donate money at the door...perhaps somebody reading this post will be inspired to take on the role next year for getting a grant...until that happens though, we have to charge for people to be at the evening events....but of course, if somebody is lacking funds, they will not be turned away...

The farm and the cob sauna 20.May.2004 17:56


One event will happen at The Farm at Tryon Life. We are building a cob sauna and a mostly cob outdoor kitchen. Look at the link to the VBC website for a schedule of how to get involved. It is amazingly beautiful at the farm right now!

Thanks Villagers 21.May.2004 12:22

Radical Element

Thanks for responding to the question about the cost. I, too, wondered about that. (I'm still wondering why it is costing $40,000! Yikes!) I was happy to see the "also" comment by villager, and the one above it. It's great to see such respectful replies, rather than defensiveness. I think the question about a door charge was a good one, and I really appreciated your reply in which you appear open to considering alternatives. Yes, there are a number of free venues around the city, though I'm not sure which to suggest because I don't know how many people you are wanting to have. And I think dumpstering supplies is an EXCELLENT idea. I love the projects of the VBC, and totally support your work. I have no problem in making a donation to such a worthy cause, but I am also concerned about the implications of charging money for an event like this one. I want to see us get more revolutionary, and actually grow out of capitalism. I'd love to see community events like this with no $$ attached at all. I do hear what you're saying about the difficulty of doing this, and am totally heartened to know that you are thinking about this and looking for alternatives.