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Tiny Oregon Town for Sale for $3.85 Million

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GILLIAN FLACCUS: Tiller, Oregon, a tiny timber town that's been dying for years.

It's about a mile to drive through the town.

Now, a glimmer of hope-- someone has offered to buy it.

GARRETT ZOLLER: For the town, itself, is $3.

5 million.

The school is offered separately at $350,00.

So the total listed price is $3,850,000.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: The town is being sold by the estate of the Caswell's-- longtime property owners here, who recently passed away.

Over the years, the family snapped up properties as the timber mills shut down and residents moved.

Now the deal includes six houses, the market and gas station, the elementary school, the land under the post office, and several long-abandoned businesses.

Not included are the church and the fire station.

GARRETT ZOLLER: So this is Mrs.

Schmitt's classroom, pretty standard classroom.

I think there are six different classrooms here, standard hallway.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: The town is now in escrow.

But the potential buyer remains anonymous.

It's not uncommon to see deer out here in the playground.

The buyers say they will announce their plans and their identity once the sale has closed this summer.

But the mystery surrounding the purchase has been unsettling for locals.

SARAH CRUME: Ladybug.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: Sarah Crume is one of the few people still raising children here, just outside the area that's for sale.

She's watched the school and market close, the post office cut back its hours.

SARAH CRUME: It is a little scary, especially raising our kids in this place that we love and have looked forward to raising our kids in.

And just wondering what kind of impact it's going to have.

PAULA ELLIS: No, sit.

Sit.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: Paula Ellis spent her childhood here hunting and riding horses-- PAULA ELLIS: This is right here on the ranch, my dad.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: --and still lives at the top of a narrow dirt road near town.

She remembers how it was before cuts to logging in federal forests-- PAULA ELLIS: Ralph Stow, who is gone now, but his family is still in the area.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: --and prays that the town won't lose its identity.

PAULA ELLIS: We've joked about, well, is it time for the family to be moving on?

Are we looking at Wyoming or Montana, or what are we doing?

But no one's serious about that.

We love it here.

GILLIAN FLACCUS: A town torn between nostalgia for the past and high hopes for the future.

Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press, Tiller, Oregon.

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