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What is small town charm worth? In western Oregon, it is about $3.5 million, or the asking price for most of Tiller, a former logging town in the Umpqua National Forest. The price for this quaint settlement includes more than 256 acres of land in 29 parcels with a range of zonings, as well as water and timber rights, six houses, the general store and gas station, and the land under the post office. Buyers can purchase the closed six-room elementary school separately for $350,000.
The purchase of an entire town may seem to take a zeal for country living to the extreme but the untapped potential of Tiller is immensely appealing to many investors. Interest has buzzed around the previously little-known area. Several anonymous potential buyers have come forward looking to work with the 235 residents surrounding the town to build a permaculture community. The Tiller elementary school is rumored to become a campus of some kind. However, the future of Tiller is uncertain as backup offers are still being accepted.
Tiller’s history reveals a former prosperity which can be regained with the appropriate management. The beginning of the 20th century brought loggers, miners, ranchers, and farmers to the new town. In 1902 the post office was opened and within the next half century the general store, elementary school, and three timber mills grew and thrived.
Modern environmental regulations on the Umpqua forest slowed the logging industry dramatically and in the 1980’s one after another, the mills closed. As the community shrank, one resident saw the opportunity to begin buying land. After his death three years ago his family inherited a majority of the town including the school and market and realized the asset which they had been left.
Although the population has decreased the residents of the surrounding area treasure Tiller. It provides a common area to come together whether for community meetings or the use of the grocery store and post office. Many of these people have spent their entire lives in the area and hope that future generations can enjoy the town as well. Whatever the future may hold for Tiller, these residents will remain loyal to the community.
Featured Image via Flickr/Diana Parkhouse