Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part 4 – Rajneeshpuram

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty
or nearly empty because the activities that kept
people there have stopped

Rajneeshpuram

Chandra Mohan Jain aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh aka Osho (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Chandra Mohan Jain was born December 11, 1931 in India. He later became known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In the 1960’s he traveled throughout India as a public speaker sharing his philosophies and criticizing orthodox religions.  Bhagwan encouraged meditation, mindfulness, celebration, courage, and humor. His teachings on having an open attitude of sexuality is what caused him the most controversy during his life.

In the early 1970’s Bhagwan and his followers, which were called neo-sannyasins, settled in Pune, Maharashtra, India. The neo-sannyasins built an ashram for Bhagwan, which is similar to a monastery, where his followers could learn his teachings. By the late ’70s the ashram was in debt to the Indian government for back taxes of over $5 million.

And this is where Oregon comes in.

Central Oregon

Bhagwan became interested in the United States and sent his people to create a new ashram. His right hand woman, Ma Anand Sheela, purchased land in Oregon near the small town of Antelope with the money they had saved on their taxes.

Rajneeshpuram (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

The Big Muddy Ranch in central Oregon became Rancho Rajneesh, and was later incorporated as the city of Rajneeshpuram. The commune was an enormous 64,229 acres. Rajneeshpuram had a 160-room hotel, a 2 acre meeting hall, shopping malls, restaurants, laundromats, city police, and even an airport. For being a spiritual leader Bhagwan sure had a taste for the finer things; like 85 Rolex watches and 93 Rolls Royce.

(Photo Credit: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock)
Part of the runway for the Rajneeshpuram airport, and an old fire truck in the background.

Rajneeshpuram was a bustling city and its resident were the only ones happy about it. The following years were filled with legal battles between the Rajneesh and local farmers and Oregon government. Most conflicts were due to illegal land use by the commune and the commune’s unwillingness to compromise.

The main office of Rajneeshpuram, as it looks today.

After the Rajneeshees established Bhagwan as a religious leader in the United States, he began a vow of silence and Sheela became his voice. Eventually Sheela started using her own voice to gain local political power. At her direction some members of the commune moved into the nearest town, Antelope. In time they managed to get themselves voted onto the city council and they changed the name of Antelope to Rajneesh.

Dedicated to those of this community who throughout the Rajneesh invasion and occupation of 1981-1985 remained, resisted, and remembered…”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burk

Flexing their political muscles gave the Rajneesh even more bad press. Rumors that the commune was nothing more than a sex cult with rampant drug use irritated everyone…except for those having the sex most likely. Gossip was that even Bhagwan had his own drug problem of a lot of Valium and inhaling nitrous-oxide for fun.

Temporary housing for the 1983 First World Celebration. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

In the summers of 1983 and 1984 Rajneeshpuram held World Celebration Festivals. During the festivals there were up to 15,000 neo-sannyasins visiting rural central Oregon. The Rajneeshees were spreading through Wasco and Jefferson counties like a bright red STD.

Bhagwan driving one of his Rolls Royce to wave at his followers. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

In October of 1984 neo-sannyasins, following the orders of Ma Anand Sheela, poisoned multiple salad bars at restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon with Salmonella. The purpose? It was a practice run for election day in November. The goal was to keep the citizens of The Dalles home sick so they couldn’t vote, which would give the Rajneeshees even more political power. No one died during the attack, but the 750 people that got food poisoning probably wished they had. The incident is considered the first bioterrorism attack in the United States. It is still questioned as to whether Bhagwan was the mastermind behind the bioterrorism or if Sheela planned it on her own.

Rajneesh propaganda that is completely fake.
According to rumor this is the building that the Rajneesh grew their Salmonella.

By 1985 Rajneeshpuram was falling apart. Bhagwan began insisting that he was not a religious leader and ordered his neo-sannyasins to burn all his teachings and books. In October of ‘85 a grand jury indicted Rajneesh and several of his disciples with conspiracy to evade immigration laws. His lawyers, which were of course neo-sannyasins, made a deal with the US Attorney’s office. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was given a 10 year suspended sentence, 5 years of probation and a $400,000 fine – and the agreement that he leave the United States.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh left Oregon and went back to India. He changed his name to Osho and continued his spiritual teachings to new and old neo-sannyasins. Osho died January 19, 1990 in Pune, India of natural causes. His philosophies and teachings are still available, and you can still join his cult if you like. Just visit https://www.osho.com/

Apartment Buildings still standing
Currently there are signs saying that this is maintenance housing.

By 1987 Rajneeshpuram was empty of the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The state of Oregon took ownership of the town for past due taxes and fines, and then sold it to Dennis Washington. Washington attempted to run a ranch for profit (The Washington Family Ranch), and when that failed he tried to sell the land back to Oregon to be used as a state park. Oregon said oh, hells no!

Welcome – Young Life – Washington Family Ranch

In 1996 The Washington Family Ranch donated the land to Young Life, a Christian youth organization. Since 1999 they have held various youth summer camps, festivals, and retreats.

Welcome to summer camp!

The city of Rajneeshpuram is so ghost town that it isn’t a town anymore…just a church camp where people congregate to hear the word of Jesus, a man who hung out with people of open sexuality and shared his philosophies and beliefs of prayer (meditation and mindfulness), church (celebration), and standing up for your fellow man (courage); plus he liked to brag about his 3-day hide and seek championship (humor).

A rainbow seen shining down on The Old Muddy Ranch aka Rajneeshpuram aka Washington Family Young Life Camp. Which one got the nod from God? Who knows. He works in mysterious ways.

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part Three – Antelope

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped

Antelope

Antelope Public School

The Antelope Post Office was built in 1871, and the tiny community of Antelope became the tiny town of Antelope. The town’s population peaked at 249 in 1900, after the Columbia Southern Railway completed a rail line between the Columbia River to just north of Antelope in the town of Shaniko. The State of Oregon incorporated Antelope in 1901 and the population has had a pretty steady decline since then. The 2010 census put the population at 46.

One of the older buildings in Antelope. I am sure these walls have secrets.
City of Antelope Fire Department
An old hose house for the fire department.
Hose Cart No. 2

Antelope found it’s fame in 1981 when the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh purchased the Old Muddy Ranch land just 18 miles southeast of Antelope. It quickly became clear to the residents of Antelope that the Rajneeshees were not just there for some small town farming. The Rajneeshees turned the Old Muddy Ranch into their own city, named Rajneeshpuram.

Lead by Bhagwan and Ma Anand Sheela, the Rajneesh flexed their newfound local power and took over the city council of Antelope – and even went so far as to rename the town Rajneesh. After nefarious actions by some of the citizens of Rajneeshpuram were discovered and investigations began, the town formally known as Antelope began to dwindle. In 1985 the remaining citizens of Rajneesh (including some Rajneeshees) voted 36-0 to restore Antelope’s original name.

The Antelope Garage
School’s Out.
Yes, this is pretty creepy in person too.
An original building from the community of Antelope

The citizens of Antelope commemorated their resistance to the cult of Rajneesh by installing a plaque next to the Antelope post office.

Dedicated to those of this community who throughout the Rajneesh invasion and occupation of 1981-1985 remained, resisted, and remembered…”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Want to know more about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his cult followers?

The office building in Rajneeshpuram, now known as The Washington Family Ranch/Young Life Camp.

UP NEXT Ghost Towns of North Central Oregon – Rajneeshpuram!

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part One – Grass Valley

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped

Grass Valley, Oregon

Grass Valley was established in 1878 and  was incorporated in 1901. The town is located in Sherman County, Oregon. According to the last census the town population is 164. Grass Valley earned its name because of how tall the rye grass would get in the area; it’s said that it was tall enough to be well over a mans head, even so when on horseback. Alternative history: the men were ridiculously short and made up a tall tale about mutant rye.

Grass Valley School was built in 1903, and closed sometime prior to 1940 when students started attending a school in nearby town of Moro – which is not much bigger than Grass Valley.

For this central Oregon tour of abandoned buildings and ghost towns, we stayed in Grass Valley for the week at the Grass Valley RV Park. It is not a five-star resort…but it centrally located for what we needed, and the owner was really nice – like hands out little bags of candy when you check in kind of nice. It is a tiny park with most residents being long term, but it isn’t a mess. The RV park is right on the highway, so expect some truck noise.

The Old Methodist Church in Grass Valley. The church was built in 1902. The church stopped holding service between 1946-1947.

There are a few abandoned and historical buildings in Grass Valley, including a beautiful abandoned Methodist church and an old school building, plus 99% of the buildings along the highway, but don’t be too impressed since that is only like 3 buildings.

One of the closed businesses along the main street on Highway 97.
Old Methodist Church.
On the inside, looking out.
Inside the Methodist church.
Grass Valley, Oregon School Building.
An old abandoned car on the school property.

However, there is a store/cafe that has found The Facebook. Yes, they even have The Facebook out here in ghost town country.

Country Cafe in Grass Valley appears to be the happening place in town…and they close at 6 p.m. every day.

Up Next Kent and Shaniko!

https://www.grassvalleyoregon.com/

Smith River Falls – Reedsport, Oregon

Smith River Falls

There are five Smith Rivers in the United States, plus the town of Smith River in California. Obviously, Oregon’s Smith River is the best because it has awesome free BLM campgrounds, as well as dispersed BLM land to stay on along the river, including near the Smith River Falls – which are really more like big steps than falls, but falls does sound more impressive.

Steps fit for a cave troll…

…which lives in the adorable heart-shaped cave! <3

Smith River Falls

There are a few privately owned RV parks and campgrounds, which includes a brand new one that will open soon. The falls are about 35 miles from Reedsport, OR, which is the closest town. There is an abundance of farms and farmland along the drive, plus some old abandoned barns that make for some great photo opportunities.

Smith River Highway

I love old barns. Imagine the history! Bucking hay, storing hay, rolling in the hay…

Another barn resisting time.

The local bovine are apparently very particular about their morning and afternoon road-crossings.

These are Great Egrets, or the Great White Heron. They can be seen along the first few miles of the Smith River Highway 

The Great Egrets in flight

This area is very popular with the local people, so it’s fairly busy on the weekends. During the week it wasn’t too crowded, but there were some camping neighbors that could learn a thing or two about camping etiquette…and better taste in music. If you’re going to play it that loud please don’t play crappy music.

Great clean campsites. 

In spite of the annoyances with some of the locals, we had a nice time completely off grid for a few days. Which we are determined to do more often to release our political pressure valve since we won’t have access to news 24/7. It’s better for everyone that way. Which also reminds me…make sure you are registered to vote!

All of July – All in Oregon

All of July. All in Oregon.

July was an interesting month for us here at Write on the Road. There was a lot of travel. Correction – there was a lot of driving.

Lakeside, OR
to Prineville, OR
to Portland, OR to
Prineville, OR to
Madras, OR to
Grants Pass, OR
to Lakeside, OR
to Prineville, OR to
Mitchell, OR to
Prospect, OR
to Grants Pass, OR
Ugh. I want out of Oregon for awhile!

The month was filled with doctor appointments, family visits, and family emergencies. It’s not what we had in mind when we decided to travel full time, but there it is…life.

It wasn’t all errands though. We went swimming, we saw cool stuff, we saw scary stuff, and beautiful stuff. Because there it is…life.

Just a deer running by our front door in Lakeside, OR

Crooked River near Prineville, OR

Old Highway tunnel near Madras, OR

This is what we call a No Thanks.

A fairly naked Mt. Hood

Interesting way the trees fell (or the Blair Witch is moving on to larger and more challenging designs.) near Mt. Hood.

A banana split bus! I hate bananas, but I like the split. Oh. Wait.

A TARDIS bus stop. I am officially jealous of these kids!

This School Bus Stop is the property of …. jealous. So jealous.

John Day River near Mitchell, OR.

Chasing sticks…

I got it! I got it!

I thtill gots it! I thtill gots it!

I see a little silhouette of a bird · Scaracutie, Scaracutie, will you do the chirpdango?

I haven’t see one of these in ages! Is that a bird? A plane?

It’s Superman! An illegal immigrant here to save our asses!

A long-awaited trip to Crater Lake..

Wizards Island in Crater Lake…through the smoke.

Fire Information. It’s hot. And it’s everywhere.

The Ghost Ship Island in Crater Lake. I think we’ll go back when the smoke clears. 

Welcome to August. Hoping for less driving and more travel!

 

Book Review – Dietland by Sarai Walker

Dietland by Sarai Walker

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“I’m every American woman’s worst nightmare. It’s what they spend their lives fighting against, it’s why they diet and exercise and have plastic surgery—because they don’t want to look like me.” 
― Sarai Walker, Dietland

Are you fat? Read this book. Are you skinny? Read this book. Are you female? Are you male? Are you human? Read this book. Are you a feminist? Read this book? Are you not a feminist? Read this book and learn something.

This novel follows the life of Plum Kettle. She is scheduled for a weight loss surgery, and is looking forward to it so much that she spends her free time online shopping for her “skinny” clothes. With a closet full of things that aren’t even close to fitting, her regular uniform is her ankle length black skirts and long sleeve black shirts – even in the sweltering heat of summer.

Plum’s life changes when a mysterious woman wearing bright tights and combat boots starts following her. Between the punk stalker and the news of a dangerous anarchist causing damage around the world, Plum heads down a dark, winding road with no place to turn around.

This is Sarai Walkers’ debut novel, and I will probably cry if she never publishes another.

March for Our Lives – Coos Bay, Oregon

March for Our Lives

Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims

That is a list of the 17 victims in Parkland, Florida, where an asshole with an AR-15 shot up a high school.  This is just ONE of the mass shootings in America…but this was THE mass shooting that woke up America’s children.

 

March for Our Lives – March 24, 2018 – Coos Bay, Oregon

A record number of people flooded the streets in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York and countless other towns across America – and the world – today for the March for Our Lives event. We attended the march in Coos Bay, Oregon since we were back at our home base for appointments and family visits.

A useful bucket to store all the thoughts and prayers…

Coos County, Oregon tends to lean toward the red side of the aisle…lots of crabbing, fishing, camouflage, and hunting, hunting, hunting. I believed that we may end up with a few people hanging around the March for Our Lives event to argue for their 2nd amendment right to stroke themselves with their AR-15…surprisingly, there was more support from people than opposition. That is saying a lot about how people are feeling about assault-style weapons being in the hands of people that shouldn’t be left alone with a potato gun. Even in the small redneck towns on the Oregon Coast, people want to see change.

Even old guys that are gun owners want stricter gun laws!

Alright, lawmakers!! Even the dude with the mullet and the camouflage hat showed up! Pay attention!

Marshfield High School student – Coos Bay, Oregon

This young gentleman is Cameron. He is a student at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay…and he helped plan the event. He led the marchers through the town while holding a March for Our Lives Banner. He spoke in front of the small crowd of 150 marchers with confidence and conviction. He is America’s future…and he makes it look bright.

Cameron, high schooler in Coos Bay, Oregon – leading the March for Our Lives

The adults of America have run out of time. We had our chance: a chance to leave a better world to our children and grandchildren, a chance to be the change that the world has needed, a chance to spread empathy, knowledge, and compassion instead of more bigotry, hatred, misogyny, and greed. We blew it. We blew it so hard that we don’t even get to pass our torch…our children have taken that torch away from us – and they are using it to light America’s future.

This amazing mama marched with her littles…

Outta the way! I have a country to save!

Hugs Not Guns!

Love is all you need. And stricter gun laws.

Darth Vader and Superman showed up to the March for Our Lives event. Superman is always welcome..Vader appearing is quite..disturbing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit the following pages:

March for Our Lives 

Register to Vote 

or text P2P to RTVOTE to register

 

 

Women’s March 2018: Power to the Polls – Las Vegas, Nevada

Women’s March 2018: Power to the Polls

Lines for the Power to the Polls event started forming many hours before the event started.

There were plenty of signs…and pink hats.

Keep your hands off my kitty. Meow.

On January 21st 2017, between 721,000 and 1,005,000 people participated in the Women’s March by taking to the streets across our nation to protest the incoming president, Dondolf Twitler. The Women’s March was the largest protest that the U.S. has ever seen. That march turned into a organization and a nationwide movement. On January 21, 2018 the Women’s March organization celebrated their one year anniversary in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Women’s March 2018: Power to the Polls event.

This lovely message of trusting Jesus was backed up by screaming about how evil women are…

Thousands of people attended this event at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Speakers included the four co-chairs of the Women’s March organization Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory.  Other speakers included Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, Reverend William Barber II, Cher, and many, many more. Entertainment guests included Ledisi and Faith Evans.

Female dancers from the Las Vegas Tribe of Paiute Indians. Their dance was to honor the women who have lost their lives to violence, or are still missing.

Text P2P To Register to VOTE!

He knows that he is not qualified to regulate women’s reproduction…

I can’t say that I agree with everything that every speaker had to say, but I can say that I firmly stand behind something that they all spoke of – GO VOTE.

My Neck. My Back. My Pussy Will Grab Back.

So, what could people learn from an event like the Women’s March 2018?

  1. Being a feminist does not equal being a manhater. Quite the opposite, really! Equality does not knock men down a notch – it just makes them share the ladder!

    Vote for Democrats to STOP Trump
  2. We need to break the traditions of decades past when women were expected to vote the way their husbands did – she can vote the way she actually believes AND still love her significant other. Yes, really. 
  3. Bring your sons and daughters to events like the Women’s March and teach them that it is not wrong to stand up for their beliefs and it is right to stand up for those that cannot stand for themselves.
  4. You don’t have to agree 100% with someone to be able to stand with them for human rights.
  5. VOTE

“If you don’t VOTE, you don’t have a voice.” -Cher

You can find out more about the Women’s March at www.womensmarch.com

Let Her Sleep – Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington

We don’t treat our Mother Earth very well, and occasionally She likes to return the favor.

Oh! Do you kiss your mother earth with that mouth?

On May 18, 1980, She threw a fit. The eruption caused a cloud of gas and rock debris to blow out of the mountain, removing 1300 feet of the mountain’s summit. Everything within eight miles of the blast was destroyed almost instantly. The shockwave caused by the blast dropped everything over the next 19 miles. Beyond the “tree down zone” the damaged area  was over 260 square miles.

Dead tree zone – some still standing after 37 years

She dropped her top…and everything else.

Dead Tree Zone – all downed trees after the May 1980 eruption were on the ground, pointed north.

The eruption caused a mushroom cloud of ash and gas 12 miles into the air, resulting in ash falling from the sky in seven different states.

The ash darkened sky caused the street lights in Spokane (300 miles away) to turn on in the middle of the day.

The Mt. St. Helens eruption is considered the most destructive volcano in U.S. history.  At least 57 people died, over 200 homes were destroyed, and more than 185 miles of roads and 15 miles of railways were damaged.

It is hard to imagine this being anything less than breathtaking – but I suppose about 540 million tons of ash was pretty breathtaking as well.

Mt. St. Helens National Monument now is evidence of us trying to rebuild that damage that was done. We have replanted trees over the years, a lot of them. The rivers and creeks that were dammed by fallen trees and damaged by mud rivers are flowing again. Mt. St. Helens became a national monument in 1982, making it easier to get grants and monies to help fund the replanting and repair all the damage.

Between 2004 – 2008 the mountain showed volcanic activity as a continuous eruption with a gradual sploosh of magma. Basically, it was a very long, very unladylike burp – just to remind us of Her power.

Mother Earth – beautiful, dangerous, and first place prize winner of any burping contest.

Since 2008 Mt. St. Helens has been considered dormant – but one should keep an eye where sleeping bitches lie. Amiright?

Visiting the National Monument is a must if you are cruising through Washington. It’s really a blast!

Coming Soon – Halloweentown!

 

Write on the Road Marching for Science – Coos Bay, OR

March for Science

We exercised our First Amendment Rights – Again…

Mr. Write on the Road would like us all to Think. I’m still debating whether this is hypocritical or not…

My sign…

On 04/22/2017 we joined the community in Coos Bay, OR, along with over 600 other cities around the world, for a March for Science. It was great to see so many people show up impassioned about our planet and what science does, can, and will do for all of us.

Our March for Science had a Science Fair as well!

But I think most people showed up because they thought there would be π …

Even a T-Rex showed up for our March for Science. His arms are too short to hold a sign though, so I’m not sure what his platform was…

Science is not a liberal conspiracy that can just be pushed aside. So many regulations that help keep our waters cleans, our air breathable, and our kids unpoisoned, are being overturned by the Trump Administration. Marching for Science was just one way to let them know that we want sustainable energy, clean water, and clean air.

“According to a survey in this week’s Time magazine, 85% of Americans think global warming is happening. The other 15% work for the White House.” –Jay Leno

I could tell a dirty joke here, but….

Classic.

There were fewer bird-slingers at the Science March than there were at the Tax Rally last weekend. I’m assuming it’s because you can’t really argue with science – unless you’re the Trump Administration.

However, we did get a drive-by of a four-wheel drive pickup truck, full of 20-something males decked out in camouflage. They were chanting loudly “Trump is #1. Trump is #1.” I’m not entirely sure that we had enough data to come to the conclusion that Trump is #1. He is #1 at what? How many others are in the running? Just him? You see my point, I’m sure…


If you would like more information on the March for Science please check out some of the links below.

Alt EPA on Twitter

March for Science

Alt NASA on Twitter

EarthDay.org

Climate Change Basics