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State Board Cements Sale of ‘Slab City’

The State Lands Commission voted 3 to 0 Thursday to sell a 640-acre patch of desert in Imperial County, called Slab City, to Escondido building contractor Don Campbell.

Campbell’s bid of $164,000 was the only offer made on the property and was accepted by the commission at its meeting in Sacramento.

Each winter, the abandoned World War II military base is home to thousands of recreational vehicle driving tourists, drawn by warm weather and the chance to stay for free. The state, which has owned the weed-choked site since 1961, does not invite the snowbirds, but neither has it attempted to evict them.

Campbell said he hopes to leave the area as a camping site, but county officials may insist that he install water and sanitation service and other improvements. “I kind of like it out there,” said Campbell, a recreational vehicle enthusiast.

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