Turns out, someone out there actually did want to buy a rusty, 120 foot tall water tower on eBay, paying over $200 for the item and becoming responsible for its removal the key reason the town of Sublimity, Oregon, decided to auction it off.
Michael Duhrkoop, an unemployed Eagle Creek, Oregon, resident, was the winning bidder, shelling out $212.50 for the water tower that's stood guard over Sublimity for decades.
"I just wanted to see if I could get it. I like to take risks, eBay-wise," Duhrkoop said. "How many times do you see a 50,000-gallon water tower for sale on eBay?"
City officials put the obsolete tower up for auction May 14 as a less costly way of getting rid of it, after getting estimates that dismantling and moving it could cost up to $20,000. Getting it out of city limits is part and parcel of Duhrkoop's purchase.
It attracted 60 bids, and Duhrkoop bid eight times by the time the auction closed.
"Well, I am glad that it is over, and I hope that he enjoys his new water tower," said city councilman Josh Williams.
Duhrkoop still was pondering what to do with his prize. He said he's considering shuttling it to a friend's 200-acre tree farm, and hoping that a local moving company might do the job for free, in exchange for any publicity it could engender.
Sublimity officials aren't sad to see the 55-year-old tower go. Bernie Miotke, Sublimity councilman, suggested selling the tower on eBay despite his doubts that it would work.
"I'm glad it sold," Miotke said. "We won't be obligated to spend money to have it removed now."
The tower has sat empty since 1999, when the city upgraded its water system with a 1.5-million gallon reservoir.
Miotke and fellow councilor Josh Williams also get a meal out of the deal, courtesy of Mayor Raymond Hueberger. He promised to buy them a steak dinner if the eBay auction actually worked.
However, Miotke said, the dinner won't come until the tower is actually removed.