What can you get for a dollar?

A lottery ticket? A pack of gum? A McChicken sandwich? A house?
by: Vern Uyetake The city of West Linn is in the process of buying this house, at 1698 Dodge Way, for $1.

The city of West Linn is in the process of buying a home for a bargain price: $1.

That steal is thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's $1 Homes for Local Governments Program, which allows local governments to buy HUD-owned homes on the cheap to benefit the community.

The city council last week gave city manager Chris Jordan the go-ahead to bid on a 1,066-square-foot ranch home at 1698 Dodge Way. The offer was accepted at the end of the week.

'It's too good a deal to pass up,' said Kirsten Wyatt, assistant city manager.

As a result of foreclosures on homes backed by HUD-insured mortgages, the Federal Housing Authority, part of the housing department, acquires single-family homes.

After giving a contractor six months to sell the vacant buildings, the department offers them to local governments for $1 to move them off the market and put them back into good use, according to the program. As of Monday, more than 200 were listed for Oregon alone.

If government agencies don't make an offer, HUD opens up bidding to the public as well.

The Dodge Way house, built in 1976, has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to a HUD database. Its listing price was $111,000, but the agency estimated its 'as-is value' is $185,000.

With $1 added for closing costs, the city will pay $2 to buy it, plus the price of an inspection.

Assuming the deal closes, the city could sell the house and use the profits for community gain, whether for a project such as the Adult Community Center expansion or something else, Wyatt said.

'The main thing we're looking for is a clean inspection and a house we can turn around and sell,' she said, 'because we certainly aren't in the business of being landlords.'