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Local Army veteran hoping to finish his unique rounded home


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Randy Dixon stands outside his uncompleted yurt. His family established a GoFundMe to help him finish the dream project. | Eric Grossarth,

GOSHEN — Many homes across eastern Idaho have straight walls, but that is not the plan for a retired Army veteran living in Goshen.

Randy Dixon bought the property in 2001 just days before 9/11 and discovered two yurts, which led to an idea.

“I drove by this place, saw a ‘For Sale’ sign amongst all the weeds, went home, and told my wife,” Dixon said. “I thought she’s going to take one look at this and turn around and leave.”

The couple went back and visited the property. Dixon said they drove over a small bridge on a canal through the overgrown brush and fell in love with the place. They decided to purchase the property and Dixon planned to use his skills as a drafter at the Idaho National Lab to produce his plans for a mega yurt utilizing multiple structures joined together.

“It’s (been) a lot of work, a lot of help from family,” Dixon said. “It’s something my wife and I designed together. She didn’t want them (the yurts) to sit there and go to rot.”

Initially, the two yurts sat adjacent to each other. Dixon moved them further apart and placed them on permanent foundations. Historically, yurts were used by nomadic central Asians as a portable round tent covered in skins or felt.

Dixon’s yurts are far from that. In design plans, Dixon added a garage and an additional yurt joined by a large central room. The designs still call for the rounded structures but on a much larger scale than traditional yurts.

Randy Dixon shows the plans for the Yurt he’s been dreaming of for over 10 years at his Goshen property. | Eric Grossarth,

“It took me a long time to get the plans done,” Dixon said. “It took another four or five years to get an engineer to sign off (the plans) … We got a building permit and started working seven or eight years ago.”

While building the project, Dixon has run into several hurdles, like funding. Dixon said banks and credit unions would not loan money on the project since they live on the property in a decades-old trailer home. Finding contractors willing to help on the project also hurts his ability to finish the project.

“Up to about a year ago, I was deeply involved in the construction,” Dixon said. “Last summer, I was feeling a little unbalanced, so I kind of backed off on the work a little bit.”

Doctors diagnosed Dixon with advanced pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare disorder that gets worse and can eventually become fatal. The condition leaves Dixon on oxygen and with little energy to complete the project.

The view of the mega-yurt as you drive onto Randy Dixon’s Goshen property. | Eric Grossarth,

The retired Army special forces veteran hopes that he can still complete the project and continue to have a place for the entire family to gather.

“We love this place,” Dixon said. “We would just like it to be a gathering place and a nice house.”

To help with the completion of the Yurt, Dixon’s family established a GoFundMe with a $90,000 goal.

“His brothers have been helping, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Dixon’s sister Ev Nichols writes in the GoFundMe. “Due to medical bills, finances have gotten so tight they no longer have the funds to finish their dream. Randy is a proud Green Beret, but I would like to see him finish his dream with our help.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.