Rajneesh building for sale in Antelope, Oregon features relics from Rajneeshpuram made famous in ‘Wild Wild Country’


For $ 258,500, or the highest bidding, you can own a two-story building filled with stories, many told in the Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country,” about the township of Rajneeshees that took over the small town of Wasco County of Antelope for a brief, tumultuous weather.

The 1898 wooden structure for sale was originally a room for the fraternal United Workmen organization.

In the 1980s, copies of the Rajneesh Times were printed here with news of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh as well as warnings to his thousands of followers by the guru’s powerful personal secretary, Ma Anand Sheela.

“Please be careful, stay together; don’t allow negativity to spring up anywhere, especially among us. Because it’s our unity that will keep us together and strong, ”Sheela explained in an issue of the Rajneesh Times.

The ambitious township of north-central Oregon collapsed in 1985, wrote the Oregonian’s Douglas Perry, amid plots of murder, poisoning, political intimidation and illegal eavesdropping.

Subsequently, Antelope, fleetingly renamed Rajneesh, reverted to around 50 residents.

Now the printing house is a museum with living quarters and the entire 0.66 acre property at 45380 Main Street in Antelope is up for auction.

The sealed bids are due Dec. 8 to John C. Rosenthal of Realty Marketing / Northwest Auctions, who calls it “one of the most unusual remote properties for sale in Oregon.”

A new owner could use the building as a living and working space which, although secluded, has access to a fiber-optic internet connection and is 300 steps from the Antelope post office.

Antelope’s Main Street is on the winding Shaniko-Fossil Road (Oregon Route 218), which begins at the ghost town of Shaniko on US Route 97 and crosses the John Day River before ending in Fossil, the largest city in the route, with a population of approximately 425.

Listing agent John Gill of Land and Wildlife in Bend said the 3,000-square-foot building is “rich in history” and that the property’s three contiguous lots create “endless” opportunities.

The land’s commercial zoning may allow the rental of RV space for travelers along Highway 218, which is part of the 286-mile Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.

A motorhome on the property generates $ 350 per month in rent. Annual property taxes are less than $ 400, Rosenthal said.

The auction reserve price of $ 258,500 is $ 90,500 less than the last asking price of $ 349,000.

The cash sale includes most of the furniture and a collection of books, signs, photos, clothing and newspaper clippings from the Rajneeshpuram era, Rosenthal added.

The museum has loaned memorabilia reflecting the region’s past to the High Desert Museum in Bend for the “Imagine the World” exhibit, which opens in January. The new owner of the Antelope property will receive the items as part of the deal after the show closes in October 2022.

Story

The building for sale was built on a stone foundation by the Old Order of United Workers (AOUW), the first fraternal organization in the world to provide life insurance for workers. Oregon’s other AOUW building in Portland was demolished in 2017.

For decades, the livestock, mining and railroad workers living around Antelope have walked through double-entry doors to socialize and receive support when needed.

From 1981, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers moved to Antelope and reported some of their activities in their diary.

Over time, they transformed the undeveloped Big Muddy Ranch around the John Day River into a self-contained complex with residences, meeting rooms, nightclubs, medical clinics, a crematorium, a bakery, an airport and a dam surrounded by a giant grass logo painted with doves.

Members wore clothing in shades of red, purple and pink, which made them look like a color-coordinated cult, wrote the Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist.

Rajneeshees would line up for a “daily drive” to greet the guru as he slowly accompanied them in one of his 74 Rolls-Royces.

The complex was abandoned in 1985 as authorities sought to link the commune’s leaders and members with food poisoning, murder plots, immigration fraud and other crimes.

The Bhagwan was deported and sent back to India. Sheela and others were convicted of various charges and served prison terms.

Big Muddy Ranch has been sold and is now operated as a Washington Family Ranch camp by Young Life.

By 2000, most of what had been built in the Rajneeshpuram settlement was either decaying or had disappeared.

The current owner of the building, which is in town and not part of the settlement, bought the structure in 1995, then restored it and added a kitchen and bathroom.

Following the release of the 2018 Emmy Award-winning documentary “Wild Wild Country,” the building became the Wild Wild Country Museum, featuring artifacts left behind by Bhagwan followers.

For more on the story, read the Oregonian’s original 20-part investigative series of Rajneeshees.


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