|8/19/2008 1:29:00 PM|
No bids on Forest Service land
|The clock ticked past 3 p.m. on Friday, August 15, and there was no sound of a gavel coming down.|
The approximately 62-acre parcel of land (50 acres net) the U.S. Forest Service put on the block in Sisters with a minimum bid of $14 million failed to attract any bids during an auction that closed last Friday.
"It's a big disappointment," said Sisters District Ranger Bill Anthony, "and it's going to create some challenges for us."
The no-bid means the Forest Service cannot move forward with plans for a new Sisters headquarters. Perhaps more distressing to the agency is the fact that proceeds won't be available to put into new facilities for the Bend-Fort Rock District, where lease costs are running the agency about $1 million per year.
"We were dependent on the receipts from that sale to fund construction of those projects," Anthony said.
The parcel, which lies along Pine Street in Sisters, was the focus of intense public interest as the possibility emerged that it could be sold to a private developer. Citizens were active in describing amenities they would like to see on the land, from more affordable housing to a public swimming pool.
The City of Sisters summarized community input as a kind of guideline for prospective developers as to how the city would likely want to see the property developed.
According to Anthony, there will be considerable discussion of options at the regional and probably at the national level. It is possible that the property could be put out for bid again in a better economic climate, but that's entirely speculative at this point, Anthony indicated.
For now, what is certain is that the Sisters Ranger District will not be moving and that large parcel of land will not be redeveloped any time soon.
"Fortunately, we have a home in Sisters," Anthony said. "It's a great location. It's not the kind of facility we need for the long term, but we can stay there for a while."
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