Breitenbush is an intentional community and worker-owned cooperative. We, the members of the community, all live on 154 acres in this rugged and beautiful mountain setting and serve thousands of guests year-round. Our emphasis is on service to our guests, each other and to the greater global and universal community. Working at Breitenbush requires dedication to this service ethic, a sense of joy and excitement about your work, acceptance of personal responsibility and accountability, a desire for creativity and productivity and a willingness to communicate openly and honestly.
We are a small community – especially in the late fall, winter and early spring when fewer than 85 permanent staff typically live here. Our community includes persons of all ages. Many children have been born at Breitenbush and we provide childcare to support their presence in our community. Our staff is organized into teams: Office/Guest Reception, Kitchen, Maintenance, Systems, Projects, Information Services, Guest Hosting & Security, Housekeeping, Childcare, Administration, Events & Marketing, and Healing Arts. We elect a very active Board of Directors from amongst our membership to which our Business Director is accountable.
Living and working here, while very rewarding, is also challenging for some. Housing is rustic and most people share bathroom and cooking facilities. To protect native wildlife, no dogs are allowed on Breitenbush property and the number of cats allowed is limited.
We generate our own electricity from the river and use geothermal wells to meet our heating needs. The hot springs and wells provide the mineral water for our hot tubs and steam sauna. We have over 100 buildings on the property which include the lodge, a large dining and conference building, a kitchen and dining space, a massage/healing arts building, staff dwellings, guest cabins, the Sanctuary, the Forest Shelter, Buddha’s Playhouse and River Yurt among others.
Most of the structures at Breitenbush Hot Springs were part of a hot springs resort built in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s when using the hot mineral water was considered an important way for people to heal from various maladies. In the early 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, the land was a favorite place for people to camp or have a simple cabin and enjoy the beautiful natural environment and hot waters. Then, for ten years the property was idle.
Alex Beamer purchased the property in 1977 and spent several years restoring the old resort and getting it ready to host guests again. People who wished to put their energies into this project, and who worked well with the people already here, were invited to come and join in restoring the facilities. In 1981, the Breitenbush community started hosting guests who participated in a variety of workshops, celebrations and personal retreats.
In 1985, the community purchased the land from Alex. In 1989, a worker-owned cooperative was formed.
– From an article by Peter Moore, Business Director.
“The thing that blows my mind about Breitenbush’s current human community is that we, this eclectic group of eccentric people, are able to function so well in so many critical areas. We operate an entire small town in the middle of the wilderness, including making our own electricity and heating our buildings with hot springs. We maintain enormously complex technical systems. We govern ourselves through an enthusiastic democratic process in which the power structure is circular, not pyramidal. We greet and serve 20,000 guests per year, and feed organic vegetarian mega-meals to everybody. At times we’re contentious, but we maintain high standards. It’s a happening scene.”
Today Breitenbush is a thriving center for learning and renewal, and remain true to our mission to provide a “… safe and potent environment where people can renew and evolve in ways they never imagined”.