Tiller is no longer for sale.
The town’s sale was announced earlier this week after multiple failed attempts to sell it. The deal consists of a post office, a rural fire department, an empty general store and an unoccupied elementary school building.
The new owners said they prefer to remain anonymous until official plans for the near-empty town — which is located 25 miles east of Canyonville — are made public, according to Garrett Zoller, of the Medford-based Land and Wildlife Realty, who is overseeing the sale.
The buyers told The Oregonian they hope to create a tree-laden river resort open to the public in the verdant, remote and mostly-unoccupied setting on the South Umpqua River.
The town has gone through three serious offers, according to Rick Caswell Jr., the son of the Richard Caswell Sr., who previously owned the properties. The first buyers were unable to follow through with the purchase and backed out.
Richard Caswell Sr. bought the town piece-by-piece until he owned all but the church and parsonage, the volunteer fire department, the school, a general store and the home of a retired teacher.
“What we had was a majority of the tax lots, but we didn’t have them all. It took the idea of bundling everything together to make it more attractive than piece mealing it out one piece at a time,” Rick Caswell Jr. said. “The little ones by themselves didn’t have near the value that the American Dream does of holding a town. It’s having a blank slate to do something different for the future is what makes it valuable.”
When Richard Caswell Sr. passed away a few years ago, the town was passed to the Caswell Family Trust and Rick Caswell Jr. and his sisters were tasked with selling the property.
“Once all the pieces were together, it took a while to get something of that magnitude to the market,” Rick Caswell Jr. said. “The offers take a long time. There’s a long closing period involved. It’s a long time coming on a process that was very complicated and involved.”
The town had originally been listed for $3.85 million, but Zoller and Rick Caswell Jr. would not say how much the buyer agreed to pay for the properties.
The listing includes 257 acres, a 13-acre pre-platted subdivision, commercial and agricultural water rights, water storage tanks, nearly one mile stretch of the South Umpqua River, timber, and several commercial and residential buildings, including the old Tiller general store and elementary school buildings. About a dozen of the lots are zoned for commercial use, and four of them are zoned for industrial use.
Zoller said he doesn’t know when the new owners will announce their plans. The possibility of a resort in South County would mark the second one under development in Douglas County. Oregon Only Development previously announced plans for a $68 million resort near Sutherlin.
“They’re great folks, they’ve been great to work with,” Zoller said. “I know what they don’t want to do; They don’t want to upset the apple cart.”