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Callahan's Lodge listed for sale

Fire and drought have failed to deter Ron and Donna Bergquist in their nearly two-decade ownership of Callahan's Lodge near Mount Ashland.

Time, however, takes no notice of herculean rebuilding efforts or the will to persevere against economic odds. The calendar has been a steady reminder to the Bergquists that, sooner or later, they have to step aside and pass on a Southern Oregon institution to someone else, just as they took the keys in the mid-1990s.

They've listed the restaurant, lodge and surrounding forest acreage with Sotheby's International for $5 million.

"In the course of life, people plan for their education, plan to get married, plan for their babies, careers and retirement," Donna Bergquist said. "These things don't occur typically overnight, it takes a lot of planning and foresight to make each step successful. Ron is going to be 80 soon, and there aren't many men in their 70s who did what he did after the fire and said 'We can do this again.' We need to start looking ahead."

Annual revenue has grown 300 percent in the 18 years since the couple acquired the property near the Mount Ashland exit off Interstate 5, Bergquist said. Last year, Callahan's took in $425,000. After a rough January, largely due to Mount Ashland's snowless slopes, the operation has erased a year-over-year deficit and is now running ahead of 2013's sales figures, she reported. On Mother's Day there were 600 diners.

She said at $5 million, the price is more than right.

"The truth is someone would have trouble recreating this place for double that," Bergquist said. "It's on 50 wonderful acres with a phenomenal water source and a wastewater plant big enough for a small community."

The Bergquists have completed two-thirds of the planned build-out since a 2006 Labor Day weekend fire that leveled the original structure. Four more guest rooms and nine cabins remain on the drawing board, along with three building sites.

— Greg Stiles