Oregon Town Lists Water Tower On eBay

May 16, 2003

The town of Sublimity, Oregon, has listed its 50,000-gallon, elevated water tank on eBay. Under the category "Weird Stuff," you'll find the water storage tank that stands 120 feet tall, just down the street from city hall.

Getting the steel structure removed would have cost the small, rural town more than $20,000. So city councilman Bernie Miotke suggested selling it on eBay. But if the tower does not sell, the city will have to pay for its maintenance, including the removal of lead-based paint.

The auction was posted Wednesday afternoon – at a starting bid of $1 – and will close May 24. The winning bidder must pay for disassembling and removing the tower.

Councilman Josh Williams told The Associated Press it's "not out of the realm of possibilities that somebody's going to buy this." Williams himself once bought 20 acres of land on the website.

"We're not really looking to make a lot of money," Williams said. "We're just trying to get rid of it."

Even stranger items have been listed on eBay. In 2001, a Salem man tried to sell the rights to display his own mummified corpse, and a small town in New England sold a World War II submarine on the site.

A spokesman for eBay said he thinks Sublimity's water tower is the first of its kind to be listed on eBay.

The structure has gone unused since 1999, when the city upgraded its water system to a 1.5-million gallon reservoir. A cell phone company leased the tower for a year – planning to install antennas – but never did.

Organizers of the Sublimity Harvest Festival have expressed interested in moving it to their grounds off Highway 22, but they don't have the money.

Mayor Raymond Heuberger has promised Miotke a steak dinner if the tower sells on eBay.

"It would save us a bunch of money if somebody bought it for a dollar and removed it," Heuberger said. "I'll gladly be out a steak dinner."

Source: The Associated Press