The Friends of Witham Oaks have made a formal offer to buy the wooded parcel off Northwest Harrison Boulevard, which they hope to preserve from development.

Now all they can do is wait.

"We won't get an answer for a couple weeks," predicted Traci Klink of RE/Max Integrity, the real estate agent for the group.

The site of a proposed 221-home subdivision, the Witham Oaks property went into foreclosure in 2009 after the housing market crashed and developer Legend Homes went into bankruptcy protection.

Tuesday, Klink submitted a letter of intent to purchase the 95-acre lot from US Bank, which holds the mortgage.

Although the bank is asking $3 million, the Friends of Witham Oaks have raised only $185,000 so far. The group has offered that much as a down payment with a pledge to pay more over time.

Having more cash up front would have made the offer stronger, but the Friends wanted to make their interest in the property clear.

"You might as well offer it," Klink said.

The group's concern is that there may be other potential buyers out there - including real estate developers - who might swoop in and purchase the land.

It's not clear if there have been any other offers so far for the property, which went on the market in November. Calls to the bank's real estate agent were not immediately returned Thursday.

In the meantime, the Friends of Witham Oaks are ramping up their fundraising efforts.

"We have a strategic plan," said Louise Marquering, the group's vice president.

In addition to appeals on its website and facebook page, the group is sending e-mails to its contact list and will be making presentations to local business owners, clubs and civic groups.

Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or


Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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