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An Auction in the Quaint Town of Coquille

We woke up bright and early the day we were headed to Coquille (pronounced Coke-keel). The home next door to us was up for auction and although it had too many leans against it to make it an affordable property to purchase as a vacation rental, we were determined to see who, if anyone, would purchase the house.

We took our usual route to the Bay Area – down our long windy dirt road, through the little town of Lakeside, and on to Highway 101. Drove through North Bend and then through Coos Bay until we reached Highway 42. I couldn’t recall where the exit would be but my love reminded me that the exit was at the little Disneyland intersection. I got super excited and rightfully so. I hadn’t gotten to use that intersection yet other than to just travel straight on past it. This would be the first time I got to use it! The reason he called it the Disneyland intersection is because the first time I saw it, I exclaimed with excitement that it was just like the Autotopia at Disneyland! You know the little track where you can drive the little cars all around through the Disney forest? Where the track goes back over itself in downtown freeway traffic style with bridges and intersections all running on top of one another. This little highway interchange is just that, it’s Oregon’s Autotopia!

I literally squealed with delight as we passed over the bridge and took a left off on to Highway 42. It was incredibly exciting and fun! Highway 42 is a quick 7 miles between Coos Bay and Coquille and it’s such a lovely drive. Surrounded by forest that opens up to wide spread farm lands with pretty old barns dotted here and there. Lots of happy cows sprinkled about the grassy meadows. It was something out of a well produced commercial – something Disney probably wished they had!

If you don’t exit the highway quick enough, you’ll miss the charming little town of Coquille. Filled with old architecture, lots of Victorian homes with wide porches, and quaint communal buildings. Even the font on the courthouse was from the 1950s. We parked in the only spot we could find near the courthouse – around the corner. For such a small town the downtown area was quite busy with parked cars although the streets barely had a car pass by on them the entire time we were there. We walked over towards the courthouse and sat in the lovely little outdoor bench area in the sun while we waited for the auction to begin. One man in business attire stood close to the Sherrif’s door and one other man in business attire stood off to the side on the phone. They seemed to be the only two there for the auction and it was about to begin in five minutes. We were wondering where all of the bidders were!

Six homes were to be auctioned that morning all over Coos County. The sheriff exited the sheriff’s office with a stack of folders. He asked if we were there for the auction and we told him we were just there to view the proceedings. His partner walked down to the other side of the courthouse to check for any stragglers but no one was in sight. The man on the phone left, apparently he wasn’t there for the auction either. The man nearest the sheriff’s door stayed. He kept looking at us out his peripheral appearing to be nervous that we might bid on the home he wanted to purchase. I could hear his sigh of relief when we said we would just be viewing.

The Sheriff read off the first home’s details and started the bidding. The lone bidder made a bid of $1 over the starting price and was awarded the home. The next four homes were read off quickly as no one was there to bid on them. Each went back to the bank (the original lender). The last house called out was the house next door to us. The proceeding went down just as the others did and the house went back to the original lender. When the auction was closed, the sheriff seemed interested to see why we were there viewing. We explained that the last house was the house next door to us and we wanted to see who would buy it. He told us that since it went back to the bank, they’ll have to wait 6 months to put it on the market. He said they would likely send out an inspector to see what work the home needs to put it up for sale and then have the work done prior to the 6 month deadline. We confirmed that the liens would be released from the home now that it was auctioned and went back to the original lender (something we had read in our research regarding auctions). One of us, for the life of me I can’t recall who, asked if they would list the house for what they paid for it and the sheriff shook his head vigilantly and said “Oh no, for much less”. That was music to our ears. Now it was a waiting game to see what the bank will list the house for. Maybe it will work out for us to purchase it as a vacation rental. It would be perfect as it’s right next door – easy to maintain between rentals and the perfect place for family and friends to stay when they are in town.

It was too early for Mexican food as I was hoping to eat lunch at the little Mexican place in Coquille. Instead we headed back to Coos Bay and finally ate at the Pancake Mill for breakfast. I had been wanting to try the food at the Pancake Mill since our first trip up here to see houses that we were interested in. The restaurant did not disappoint. I had Belgian waffles with bacon and their homemade strawberry and blueberry syrup. Dennis had the best omelet he’s ever had at a restaurant. So wonderful!

Of course, we ran a few errands while we were in the city – gotta take advantage of being in town when we are there. I got some new flowers and more rose gold spray paint for my cafe table repainting project and Dennis got some tools and parts that he needed. It was a productive and wonderful day!

I can’t say that we’ll travel to Coquille for the fun of it. I’d imagine we’ll only be there again someday if we ever have any business at the courthouse – fingers crossed we don’t!

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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