Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 87° Clear

Eye On Boise

Emotions flare at state auction of Payette Lake cabin sites

As the Idaho Department of Lands auctioned off 20 state-owned lake cabin sites on Payette Lake today, the auction was marred by a clash between a cabin owner and a competing bidder. “There was a lessee who was upset that someone had bid against him,” said Sharla Arledge, department spokeswoman. “The lessee did win the bid, but afterward, he confronted the person who bid against him and tried to exchange words with him. And that person was unresponsive, and the incident was over.”

“In all honesty, it was just a moment,” she said; it came during a break midway through the auction. “There was an announcement that was made shortly after that, announcing that intimidation and collusion was not allowed and was not acceptable, and just asking people to be professional.” And the auction proceeded without further incident, she said.

The cabin site in question went for $31,000 over the appraised price of $60,000, as a result of the competitive bidding. Four other lots also drew competitive bidding, but only one of those was currently leased; that site went to a bidder who wasn’t the current lessee, for $11,000 over the appraised price. Lessees have built and owned their cabins on the lots and paid rent to the state for the ground underneath; that’s led to years of lawsuits and disputes over how to charge fair-market rent in that situation. Now, the state is moving to get out of the cabin site renting business, auctioning off the sites in favor of higher-paying investments for the state endowment.

In total, the endowment made $6,982,500 from today’s auction. Because of the specific endowments that own these particular cabin sites, the proceeds will go to the endowments for State Hospital South and for teacher education at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College. Fifteen of today’s successful bidders were the current lessees of the property; 14 of those went for the appraised price, which ranged from $55,000 to more than $1 million.

One lot wasn’t bid on by the current lessee, and sold to another bidder for the appraised price of $1,215,000.

Three currently unleased lots sold for big margins over the appraised value. One valued at $124,000 sold for $170,000; another valued at $1,055,000 sold for $1,300,000; and the third, valued at $1,135,000 sold for $1,625,000.

“Since 2011, including today’s auction, Idaho has sold 189 lots or more than a third of its leased cottage site lots at Priest Lake and Payette Lake,” said state Lands Department Director Tom Schultz. “The cottage site sales have generated more than $79 million for the endowment funds that support Idaho’s public schools, State Hospital South in Blackfoot, and teacher education programs at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College. The Idaho Department of Lands is successfully implementing the direction from the Land Board to divest of the cottage sites and reinvest in assets that generate higher financial returns for the beneficiaries we serve.”

 More auctions are planned over the next few years.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: