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The 1960s Real Estate Mirage of Christmas Valley

In 1959, Time reported that California real estate developer M. Penn Phillips claimed to have sold more parcels of land than any man alive. Two years later, though, his development flops led to the suspension of his business license in the state and Phillips looked north to Christmas Valley, an unincorporated community in the high desert of Central Oregon. About 30 miles from the nearest highway in the “Oregon Outback,” Christmas Valley was a sparsely populated town that didn’t have electricity until 1955.
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