In the tiny, dying timber town of Tiller, the old cliche is true. If you blink, you might actually miss it. But these days, this dot on a map in southwestern Oregon is generating big-city buzz for an unlikely reason: Almost the entire town is for sale. The asking price of $3.5 million brings with it six houses, the shuttered general store and gas station, the land under the post office, undeveloped parcels, water rights and infrastructure that includes sidewalks, fire hydrants and a working power station. Tiller Elementary School, a six-classroom building that closed in 2014, is for sale separately for $350,000.
Potential buyers have come forward but are remaining anonymous, and backup offers are still being accepted. The listing represents a melancholy crossroads for Tiller, a once-bustling logging outpost that sprang up after the turn of the last century deep in what is now the Umpqua National Forest, about 230 miles south of Portland. The post office opened in 1902, and miners, loggers, ranchers and farmers flocked to the community along a pristine river. By the 1940s and 1950s, there were three timber mills running, and the town expanded the elementary school and built a new general store.
Then, nearly three decades ago, logging on the federal forest lands that encircle Tiller came to a near standstill because of environmental regulations. The mills closed, and families moved away. One longtime resident began buying up properties. When he died three years ago, the family owned much of the town.
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