Logging company owner Jim Neikes came out on top at Friday's public auction for one of the downtown Flavel buildings with his bid of $50,000.

Dozens of onlookers crowded the main floor of the Clatsop County Courthouse as Neikes and several other bidders vied for the troubled property at Ninth and Commercial streets, which was put up for auction as a result of a lawsuit against its owners, Harry and Mary Louis Flavel.

Neikes, who owns Pacific Thinning logging company and Neikes Trucking, said he was surprised that his $50,000 bid was enough to win, although he said he is well aware there is a thick legal and financial tangle to get through first.

The county assessor's office lists the building's real market value at almost $200,000, but liens and unpaid tax bills totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars are levied against the Flavels and three of their Astoria properties, including the auctioned building.

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