Portland-based hard cider company Square Mile Cider is raffling off 10 acres of high desert land 30 miles east of Bend between now and September 6. But don’t start planning the vaulted ceilings of your dream ranch just yet—this parcel of land comes sans electricity or plumbing, and is not zoned for building. Also, there's no water on the property, and just one lone tree.
Still, the parcel is ideal, says Square Mile Brand Manager Steven Hallstone, for constructing a snug yurt or tiny house, or stargazing while camping with the family. (Just bring your own water supply and watch out for rattlers.) Those who want to get away from it all will appreciate the quietude of this remote location, the pungent scent of abundant sage, and the sloping backs of the distant mountains surrounding the site.
Hallstone says he came up with the giveaway idea while searching for a house in Portland. Lamenting the high price of local real estate, Hallstone recalled thinking about early pioneers to this state—some of whom had it made when the government rewarded their Oregon Trail journey with 640 acres of land (a "square mile," more or less) to settle via the Donation Land Claim Act. Hallstone decided to offer something similar to hard cider aficionados.
The catch, of course, is that land costs a bit more now than it did in the 1850s—we're speculating that the federal government likely appropriated much of the property it disbursed to Oregon Trail pioneers—prompting Hallstone to buy in rural east Oregon instead of closer to Square Mile HQ. (This particular patch of land set back Square Mile a modest $6,500.)
Not a raffle winner this time? Not to worry; Hallstone says the company plans to offer another 10-acre giveaway next summer. Enter the raffle.