I cruised into Salem's oh-so-Green Pringle Creek Community yesterday. In our new Prius, naturally. I wanted to see the super energy efficient cottage home that'd just been built there—one of only six in the country to qualify for Platinum LEED status, I believe.
It was getting a lot of attention from Tour of Home gawkers. As it should have been. It's a sustainable architecture tour de force, packed with energy saving devices and technology described in this newspaper story.
I talked quite a while with Don Myers, one of the head honchos of this first development to sprout on the Fairview Training Center property. My wife and I were investors in Sustainable Fairview Associates, which bought the entire property and sold 32 acres to the Pringle Creek Development folks.
We weren't very happy with Sustainable Fairview when we cashed out last year, after the remainder of the property had been sold to Phil Morford. He's now in default on a bunch of obligations, which makes our decision to get out of Sustainable Fairview look pretty wise.
Fortunately, Pringle Creek Community is a whole different shade of green – financially, managerially, and philosophically. I really like what Don and his team are doing. They're creating a wonderful vibe on their sorely needed oasis of creativity and innovation in generally fuddy-duddy Salem.
I was thrilled to hear that an organic restaurant is planned for their Village Center. I'd be a frequent diner there, for sure.
I also enjoyed the contrast between how Pringle Creek Community is handling a large oak that needed to come down, versus conventional developer George Suniga's trash-the-Earth approach at his utterly un-green Waln Creek Estates.
Suniga cut some marvelous old oaks for no good reason, then disposed of them quickly to hide the evidence of his misdeed. At Pringle Creek Community, though, this fallen oak is displayed with reverence in front of the sales building.
I believe it's the one that Don told me would be cut up for lumber and used for building, thereby completing a tree circle of life that began and ended within a few hundred feet.
Beautiful. Pringle Creek Community is doing more than using We're Green! to sell lots. They're walking the sustainable walk, along with talking the sustainable talk.
Don also pointed out some Yew trees that had been carefully saved from bulldozing (yes, it can be done, George Suniga). A sign by them says they're a metaphor, having survived for over a thousand years—even through the Fairview Training Center era.
Now they're in good hands, thanks to Pringle Creek Community's commitment to long-range sustainability rather than short-term profit.
Yes, residences here are going to cost more per square foot. But plenty of people are willing to pay a bit more upfront to gain energy savings down the road. Plus, the satisfaction of putting their pocketbook where their environmental philosophy is.
I told Don that my main gripe with Sustainable Fairview was the reluctance to push for a truly world-class, knock-your-socks-off green development that would draw in people from all over the country – and even other countries – who wanted to live there. Build it and they will come.
Pringle Creek Community has.
I ran into a friend in the model cottage home who'd reserved a condo at a traditional sort of development being built near downtown Salem. She and her husband are having second thoughts now that Pringle Creek Community is looking so attractive.
If we weren't so attached to our ten acres where we've done so much work planting trees and restoring blackberry and poison oak infested acreage —our own little "sustainable development" – I'd be thinking those sorts of thoughts myself.