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 AP reports 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. About 235 people still live in the unincorporated area around Tiller, and have long relied on the buildings now for sale along historic Highway 227 as a gathering spot and one of the only places to shop for groceries in miles. The potential buyers have said through the seller's broker that they intend to turn the school into some type of campus and create a "permaculture" development. They want to make reopening the market a priority. Beyond that, Tiller's future remains shrouded in mystery.