Home Back Issues June 2011 Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort becomes a fixer-upper dream

Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort becomes a fixer-upper dream

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

 

0611_FixerUpper
The Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort was bought by Mark Webb for about $200,000. He got 16 acres, a mobile home, eight cabins and a whole lot of work necessary to upgrade after years of neglect. // Photo courtesy Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort

Mark Webb remembers loving Harney County as a kid. His parents would park their RV at the Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort outside of Frenchglen (population 12) and spend their summers in close proximity to wild horses and antelope. The big nighttime attraction was looking up at the stars.

 

Webb, now 53, went on to become an accountant in Nampa, Idaho, and then purchased a fixer-upper RV campground in Weiser. He continued visiting the Steens as regularly as possible and continued bringing his mother to the resort each summer after his father died several years ago. During one of those trips he learned that the Steens property was available — for $1.6 million.

That price fell dramatically as the former owners ran into financial difficulties and decided to hold onto a huge nearby cabin that was originally part of the package. “We offered a little over $200,000, and they accepted it,” says Webb. Not bad for 16 acres surrounded by some of the finest wildlife viewing country in Oregon, with a mobile home, an office building, eight cabins, showers and a laundromat.

But the property was nowhere near as pristine as the surroundings. Since closing the deal last fall, Webb and his uncle have been working long days; replacing worn out beds, gutting and rebuilding showers, and replacing ruined pipes after years of neglect.

“Pretty much every one of the cabins froze up over the winter,” Webb says. When he went to tour the property prior to buying it, a hunter was gutting an antelope carcass right in the middle of the resort.

The plan is to modernize the resort bit by bit. Webb recently brought in Wi-Fi service for the first time, and he eventually intends to build new log cabins. But not until the numbers add up; his accounting background taught him to hold off on capital expenses until he’s positive he can afford them — and to do as much as possible with his own hands.

It’s a strategy that has served him well. Webb spent 13 years turning the rundown RV park in Weiser into a profitable business while working on the side as a CPA. Now he’s taking a similarly methodical approach in the Steens, minus the side-gig in accounting (not a lot of demand for CPAs in antelope country). “It may take us years and years,” he says, “but we’re going to rebuild the whole park.”

BEN JACKLET
 

Comments   

 
Lisa
0 #1 Best of Luck to Mark WebbLisa 2011-06-20 11:32:47
I hope Mark Webb succeeds in his plans and look forward to a reopening of the Steens resort. Having also visited the area as a child I remember an amazingly beautiful land with incredible wildlife to view. His 'hands on' approach is admirable and an example of initiative and work ethic that is sadly lacking in our entitlement society.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

Liquid gold

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

Don Gentry navigates Klamath Basin water rights.


Read more...

The 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

GreenLogoOregon is known for its green-minded citizens, and many workers are attracted to firms and organizations that practice green, not just pay lip service to it.


Read more...

2014 Best Green Companies to Work For announced

News
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100BestGreenMore than 350 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s sixth annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

Hipsters gone wild

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JON BELL

A new generation of outdoor apparel companies targets the young and the urban.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS