Breitenbush Hot Springs

Detroit, Oregon, United States

  • Last updated: February 9, 2016 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

To provide a safe and potent environment where people can renew and evolve in ways they never imagined.

Community Description

We are an intentional community and worker-owned cooperative that operates Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center, hosting 25,000 guests annually. Sixty miles east of Salem, Oregon, Breitenbush sits on 155 acres in ancient forests of the Cascades. Our community ranges from 50 – 90 adults and children. We are off the grid, using hydro and geothermal, and practice low-impact Earth stewardship.
The members of the worker-owned cooperative make major decisions about community and business affairs at annual meetings, and elect the board of directors from their midst to oversee operations. The business, financial and marketing directors all work as a team and report to the board. To be a worker-owner, a community member must be employed for one year, be an employee in good standing, and purchase a membership share of $500.
The community lives across the river from the retreat center in an ecovillage setting. We have regular community sharings, and three times a year we close for a four-day community renewal where we join together for training, fun, and community building.
We live a rich, full life here. We delight in an abundance of diverse people, innovative ideas, healing practices, friendships, and challenges.
From our credo: “Our primary service is to provide a healing retreat and conference center that promotes holistic health and spiritual growth. We mutually support and respect each person’s dignity, and awaken to the Spirit within each of us that acknowledges we are all One… It is our hope that the thriving Community which we create will be an inspiration to others in their exploration of lifestyle and community. We also extend ourselves to the greater society in which we live, the world community, and commit ourselves to being socially, spiritually, politically, and environmentally responsible.”
  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1977
  • Start Living Together: 1977
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address:
  • Phone: 503-854-3320
  • Mailing Address:
    PO Box 578
    Detroit, Oregon, 97342-0578
    United States
  • Location


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 155 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses, Natural built structues, Lots to build on
  • Current Number of Residences: 35
  • Planned number of residences: 6
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Additional Comments:

    There is some cohousing


  • Adult Members: 55
  • Child Members: 5
  • Non-member Residents: 20
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    They need to call for reservations.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    You must become a regular hire first and after a year you can apply for membership. The Board makes decisions on membership applications.

  • Additional Comments:

    We have several families and offer childcare for working members. Families homeschool their children.


  • Decision Making: Voting (majority or super-majority rule)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    A Board of Directors of 5 is elected from the Membership. They meet every 1-2 weeks and make the going business decisions for the Retreat Center/Community. We also have 3 directors who have limited decision-making ability. A Business Director, Marketing Director and a Finance Director.


  • Join Fee: $500
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution: No
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    The Business Director, Finance Director and Marketing Director are all salaried. All other staff make minimum wage with housing and benefits and are expected to work minimum of 32 hours weekly avg.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are totally off grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 50-75%
  • Energy sources: Hydro-Electric, Geothermal
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: 0%, or close to 0%


  • Common Facilities: Garden(s), Vehicle Share, Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Hot tub or hot springs, Outdoor Kitchen, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Fire pit, Swingsets & play areas, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Not good for most people.
  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Mostly Vegetarian
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    Community Members are free to make their dietary/alcohol/tobacco use choices as long as they respect other people’s space and choices. We have one community vegetarian kitchen and one meat kitchen.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs)
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Partial, Special, or Limited Community Plan

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)


community, eco-village, off-grid, retreat center, geothermal heat