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|Articles - June 2011|
|Wednesday, May 18, 2011|
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.”
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VIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon
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Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Leaders in Oregon's ag sector gathered this morning in Portland’s Coopers Hall winery/taproom to discuss the role of the region as an export gateway, impediments to exporting products and solutions to containerized shipping challenges.
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