Meet the guy who wants to build a tiny house commune in southern Maine

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street, which may or may not be infested with Pokemon.

What we’re talking about

The BDN’s Julia Bayly spoke with a Maine man named Alan Plummer, who has big plans to build a commune of tiny houses somewhere in southern Maine:

“I want to build a compact community designed to encourage, educate and demonstrate how to live simply, respectfully and lovingly in cooperation,” Plummer said. “By living simply, each member of the community would be helping our environment on a personal level, by living each day simply and responsibly.”

Plummer, the Maine representative to the American Tiny House Association, is building his own tiny house on a small piece of land in Manchester. The next step, if all goes according to plan, is finding and purchasing a larger plot of land for what he envisions as a sort of startup community for others interested in the tiny house lifestyle. …

Still largely on paper, Plummer’s planned Tiny Soul-ar Eco Village would cover between 10 and 15 acres in southern Maine and be an affordable temporary home for up to 25 people at a time, plus an additional half-dozen or so permanent residents who would assist in building other tiny houses on the property.

In a rent-to-own model, Plummer would pre-build several tiny houses on the property. Temporary Eco Village residents would pay $300 per month in rent to live in one of those houses plus additional $500 per month to cover the cost of building their own tiny house in the village.

At the end of four years that resident would own the new tiny house. They have the option to extend the lease for an additional year but must move off the land by the end of that period.

At the end of four years, a member of Tiny Soul-ar Eco Village would own their own home with about $26,000 in equity — including furnishings — and be ready to look for their own plot of land on which to move it. Plummer envisions multiple tiny houses being built at a time in the village, with new residents coming in to replace those who move on.

Would you live in a tiny house? It doesn’t seem that bad.

ICYMI

Portland pledges peace in face of national violence — Pews overflowed on Tuesday night at Green Memorial AME Zion Church on Munjoy Hill, as Portlanders gathered to mark the tragic deaths of two black men and five white police officers killed last week, and to affirm the city’s commitment to peace in the face of the country’s latest bout of racially charged gun violence.

As Maine Public Broadcasting’s Fred Bever reports, Rev. Kenneth Lewis pointed to the need to openly address the issues of race and policing that have touched off violence across the country. Though the issues may feel distant in Maine, Lewis called on Portland to grapple with them now — not wait for the next tragedy.

“What’s going to make us uncomfortable enough to have the dialogue and the conversation and the actions required to ensure that we have a beloved community? That we would move closer to that more perfect union?” MPBN reports Lewis saying.

The war on plastic bags heads north — Bangor officials are in the very early stages of a debate on whether to ban or charge a fee for plastic bags.

Here’s my question: Has the fee in Portland actually changed your behavior? Do you remember to bring your reusable bags? Do you just pay the fee? Respond to this email to let me know.

How should we process the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile? — BDN blogger Rob Korobkin writes: “In this age of the Internet, the viral videos that have surfaced of the killings have effectively enabled millions of us to become eyewitnesses to each of the two men being murdered.

“The videos are graphic. While perhaps slightly out of focus, they’re real and visceral. This is what it looks like when bullets come out of a service weapon and enter a man’s body. This is how people around that person react.

“It’s all right there. Streaming a million times a day. Here are two murders. Last year police killed almost 1,000 people in this country. How many videos can we expect to have lined up in the queue for next month?

“How quickly will we forget about them?”

The new owners of Caiola’s reveal their plans for the West End restaurant — The most important thing you need to know: Their excellent burger isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “We are going to move slowly, slowly and take baby steps,” co-owner Ilma Lopez told Kathleen Pierce.

Big ideas

How climate change could change Acadia over the next 100 years — Read the first of a three-part series from the BDN as part of the park’s 100th anniversary:

This summer, Acadia National Park turns 100. Born on July 8, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson forever safeguarded 5,000 acres on Mount Desert Island, the park has evolved from a getaway for the wealthy to arguably Maine’s most precious natural resource.

While great fanfare will accompany its centennial celebration, a century is but a blink of an eye for the park, long ago scoured and sculpted into Maine granite by the force of glaciers.

Today, the pressures exerted on the park are manmade. Acadia, established under the tenets of preservation, must now contend with the realities of change.

At sea, climate upheaval could lead to rising tides and more violent storms that threaten to remake the park’s signature craggy coastline. Cruise ships are docking in nearby Bar Harbor in record numbers, buoying a regional economy that clings to its small-town appeal.

On land, those who live and work in the park’s shadow both depend on and lament its popularity. Acadia now draws more people each year than reside in the entire state, apparent in the choking summertime traffic that clogs its gates. Park officials strive to welcome scores of visitors who endanger Acadia’s largely pristine scenery with their very presence.

NYT: ‘For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance’ — Nicholas Confessore writes: “The resentment among whites feels both old and distinctly of this moment. It is shaped by the reality of demographic change, by a decade and a half of war in the Middle East, and by unease with the newly confident and confrontational activism of young blacks furious over police violence. It is mingled with patriotism, pride, fear and a sense that an America without them at its center is not really America anymore.

“In the months since Mr. Trump began his campaign, the percentage of Americans who say race relations are worsening has increased, reaching nearly half in an April poll by CBS News. The sharpest rise was among Republicans: Sixty percent said race relations were getting worse.

“And Mr. Trump’s rise is shifting the country’s racial discourse just as the millennial generation comes fully of age, more and more distant from the horrors of the Holocaust, or the government-sanctioned racism of Jim Crow.”

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.