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RAJNEESHPURAM

AND THE ABUSE OF POWER

T. L. SHAY, Ph.D.

-="""'==""-""-~-,-,.--,.-.~---------------

This is a case study. It deals with the vital issue of


lawful government and the potential for the abuse of
power. It examines, in outline, some of the most
important legal and political developments that have
surrounded the Rajneeshee community in Oregon.

Copyright March, 1985 by T. L. Shay


A II rights reserved. No portion of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form, mechanical or
electronic, without written permission from the Scout
Creek Press, except by a reviewer who may quote
brief passages in connection with a review.
Manufactured in the United States of America

Scout Creek Press


P.O. Box 3
West Linn, Oregon 97068
(503) 635-1333

Too often this subject has been discussed in an


atmosphere of confrontation and misunderstanding.
Extraneous issues, biases, personality clashes and an
amazing array of rumors have contributed to the loss
of factual perspective. Fear of the unknown, cultural
and religious intolerance,
media distortion and
sensationalism have all added to an irrational climate
of opinion in which reasoned accommodation has been
rendered almost impossible. And often, actions of
various governmental units have also failed to
contribute clarity and justice.
This article, therefore, is written in the belief that,
"As they struggle with the mysteries of Rajneeshism,
what citizenr of this grand state require most is
perspective."
Unfounded claims, rumors and accusations are not
analyzed here.
It is time, instead, to abandon
distortion and verbal overkill.
For example, it is
unfortunate, but irrelevant, that some Rajneeshees
have used words like "fascist", "idiot", "redneck" and
"bigot" in reference to their opponents. And it is
equally unfortunate
and irrelevant
that some
opponents hove referred to Rajneeshees with words
like "cultists",
"brain-washed",
"zombies" and
"satanists".
Also not considered here are Rajneeshee religious
beliefs or practices, Iifestyles, morals or values. One
of the bosic tenets of Amer icon democracy is that as
long as people obey the laws their faith and practices
are not the legitimate concern of government.
America is also founded on a faith in equal justice
under law cn,d an abhorrence of arbitrary and abusive
government.
Officeholders must always be public
servants, never masters. And the rights of minorites
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are a sacred trust for all Americans, for we are all


members of some minority some of the time.
This article
focuses on factual
events, on
behaviors,
on
their
consequences
and
their
implications. Actions do speak louder than words.
The 0 1nvosion" of Antelope

Of all the issues, the so-called "invasion" and


subsequent "take-over" of Antelope has been the most
distorted and has inflamed public opinion most
seriously.
Antelope is a tiny hamlet some 20 miles from the
former Big Muddy Ranch. The 1980 census revealed a
population of 39, few of whom had lived there more
than ten years or so. Since 1970 it had been described
as a "Ghost Town". The only business, the Antelope
Cafe and Store, was for sale, as was 75 percent of the
property in town. Few "o~tsiders" had any interest in
purchasing property there.
In July of 1981 the followers of Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh
bought
the over-grazed,
ecologically
devastated Big Muddy Ranch.
In order to have
adequate telephone service, they purchased two
commercial lots in Antelope to set up a trailer-based
communications center. They also bought two of the
several houses for sale as living quarters for the
staff.
By September they had purchased four
additional lots. At the same time, the Rajneeshees
were trying to develop their ranch. They were granted
permits by Wasco and Jefferson counties to locate
trailers there.

IOOO Friends of Oregon became


Then the
involved.
This self-styled "public interest" lobby
considers itself the "watch-dog" of Oregon's land use
laws. Their staff of Portland-based attorneys litigate
a wide variety of land use cases, seeking to institute
their own interpretation
of the statutes in court
decisions. One of those interpretations is that nonfarm uses of land must be located in an already
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existing urban area with a designated Urban Growth


Boundary (UGB).
Moreover,
again by their
interpretation, Oregon law precludes the development
of any new cities on rural land, regardless of the
agricultural value or productivity of that land, without
completion of an extensive and untested "exceptions
process".
Based on these views, I000 Friends' lawyers told
the Rajneeshees that they would be opposed in court if
they sought to have urban-type services on their
ranch. Instead, the 1000 Friends specifically advised
them to locate their non-farm services in Antelope,
the nearest town with a UGB.
In an early legal brief I000 Friends stated,
"Antelope
is committed
to providing essentiai
facilities and services and Antelope is committed to
encouraging housing inside its urban growth boundary."
Furthermore, the Rajneeshees "may not rely on the
hostility of Antelope residents to excuse residing
there Consequently, non-farm uses should locate in
Antelooe, consistent with the County Comprehensive
Plan."J
Facing this kind of
additional facilities, the
lots in Antelope.
The
increased local "hostility"

opposition and in need of


Rajneeshees purchased more
purchases were followed by
and rumors of "invasion".

In order to use their land and buildings, the


Rajneeshees requested remodeling and construction
permits from the Antelope City Council. The council
achpted a strategy of delaying the consideration and
granting of the permit requests, offering a variety of
justifications.
They also created a previously nonexistent position of Zone Code Enforcement Officer,
ensuring further delays, and eventually adopted a
temporary moratorium on the issuance of permits
entirely. Thus began the abuse of power by a local
government.
These actioos were clearly discriminatory and the

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Wasco County Circuit Court ordered that the


outstanding permits be issued. Subsequently, rumors
about the "take-over" of Antelope began to circulate
statewide.
The Disincorporotion

Election

The city council obeyed the court order, issued the


permits, but immediately placed a moratorium on all
building in Antelope. By this time, the council also
had already set the April 15, 1982 date for holding an
election to disincorporate the city.
The election was a drastic move. However, if
Antelope were to disincorporate itself, it would no
longer have a city council to issue building permits. In
fact, it would no longer be an urban area with a UGB
and, therefore, no longer an appropriate location for
urban-type services.
Interestingly, staff from I000
Friends, who had originally insisted that such services
must locate in the town, now participated in activities
to "save Antelope" from the Rajneeshees.
The disincorporation election captured national
media attention.
Reporters swarmed into the hamlet
to see it "self-destruct" rather than allow Americans
of a particular religious persuasion to live in and
conduct business there.
Emotions ran high and the
media were quick to dramatize every comment. Wild
charges were made.
Rumors were rampant.
Not
uncharacteristic
was the attitude of one later letter
writer, "They (the Rajneeshees) say they have not
harassed the old-timers of Antelope, but by merely
BEING there, even though they do hav the legal right
to be there, they have harassed them."

For the Rajneeshees, disincorporation represented


a threat to their experiment.
1000 Friends was using
all possible legal means to prevent the development of
their own city of Rajneeshpuram. If, at some level of
litigation appeal, the I000 Friends should prevail, and
if Antelope were no longer a city, there would remain
no site at all on which to locate needed services. A

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considerable number of Rajneeshees had moved to


Antelope and hod become registered voters there.
Disincorporation was defeated by a vote of 55 to 42
in an election personally supervised by the Secretary
of State. Accusations of voter fraud were made by all
sides, but investigations resulted in no legal charges.
Several "old-time" residents decided, however, to
challenge the validity of 46 votes. The Wasco County
Circuit Court dismissed the challenges, ruled the
election valid and awarded attorney's fees to the
Rojneeshees.
Antelope, with its UGB, remained
incorporated.
The city council reverted to delaying tactics.
Prolonged negotiations began under the auspices of the
U.S. Justice Department in on attempt to achieve an
equitable settlement of differences.
In mid-May the
Rojneeshees filed a civil rights suit in federal court,
asking for an injunction against the city council's
actions. By July of 1982 negotiations resulted in an
out-of-court settlement of this and other matters,
after councilmembers were advised that they might
well lose the case and suffer monetary damages.
The COtR1CilElectioos
Two months later a Rajneeshee was appointed to
fill a vacancy on the city council. A careful reading of
the Charter then revealed that all six council seats,
plus the positions of Mayor, City Recorder, Treasurer
and Town Marshal were due for election in November.
Three Rajneeshee residents filed for council seats,
leaving three others available for non-Rajneeshee
candidates.
Non-Rajneeshees
filed and were
unopposed for Mayor and the other offices as well. It
seemed to be reasoned that, should there be a threethree division along religious lines on the council, a
non-Rajneeshee Mayor would then cast the deciding
vote.
The way seemed
open for rational
accommodation of all points of view.
However, during the campaign the candidate for

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Mayor made it clear that he felt he would only


represent the views of the longer term residents.
Moreover, there was no candidate for Town Marshal
and the candidates for Recorder and Treasurer
withdrew from their uncontested races. Under these
circumstances, the Rajneeshees decided to stand a
write-in candidate of their own choice to oppose for
Mayor. They also offered write-in candidates in the
other three vacated races.
The election results were predictable since a
majority of the residents were Rajneeshees. The three
Rajneeshee
Council
candidates,
the
write-in
candidates
for the uncontested
posts, and the
Rajneeshee candidate for Mayor were winners. Three
non-Rajneeshee candidates for council seats, one a
write-in, were also winners.
However, after the
results were tabulated, two of the non-Rajneeshee
Councilmembers-elect refused to serve. No other nonRajneeshee residents of Antelope would agree to be
appointed to the council vacancies, even though they
were asked. Consequently, two additional Rajneeshees
were drafted to serve. One non-Rajneeshee, having
won an uncontested seat, did agree to take his place on
the council.
Now the "take-over" of Antelope was described as
complete and widely reported by the media using that
pejorative term. However, the fact that Rajneeshees
were sworn into all but one of ten Antelope city
government positions by February I, 1983 was not the
result of a carefully pre-planned strate9r nor of a
Machiavellian manipulation as some in the media
implied.
Neither was it the result of ballot-box
stuffing nor of voter fraud, but rather an outcome
determined by a perfectly democratic election.
A majority of the residents of a town elected their
city officials from among the candidates who had
agreed to run. By the time of the election, the
Rajneeshees had purchased more than 38 pieces of
property, most of which, it should be recalled, had

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--

been for sale


constituted a
those citizens
them who had

even before their arrival. They clearly


majority of the town's citizens.
And
now had a government of those among
won election and agreed to serve.

The most unfortunate thing that can be said about


this election is that voting broke along religious lines.
However, such patterns of election decision-making
are not uncommon in America.

The New Taxes


When the new city council took office, they found
that some important records and the city seal were
missing. The treasury had a balance of just $180.16 in
January, while bills outstanding totaled $1,338.22 by
February I. In addition, the former City Attorney,
who had resigned, submitted a bill for $13,900.00 for
services rendered the old council. There was no city
tax to help shore up the overburdened treasury. There
was also no city police force and other city services
were underfunded and inadequate.
An increase in water rates seemed one possible
source of needed funds, so the council raised them
from $10.00 to $20.00 for residential and from $20.00
to $40.00 for commercial users. A $20.00 irrigation
fee was instituted for the summer months.
Fire
protection rates were also incrr1sed, from $1.00 to
$4.00 per month per property.
In the absence of
adequate property tax funding, these were the only
means of balancing the city's budget.
On May 17 the city's voters passed a special one
year operating levy and agreed to pay about $18.00 per
$ I000.00 valuation on property to finance it. This, in
combination with property taxes already levied for
education, brought Antelope's tax rate into rough
parity with those of other Wasco County towns. Since
there was now another source of budget-balancing
funds, the council agreed to lower water rates as
promised.
In

spite

of

this,

non-Rajneeshee

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residents

complained bitterly about the increase in taxes.


However, most of the longer term citizens had sold
their property and left town during the preceding two
years. It was reported in July of 1983 that only about
13 of them remained to be affected by the enactment
of the new taxes.
Therefore, virtually all of the
increased tax burden fell on the 80 or so Rajneeshee
residents of Antelope.

The New Names


The "take-over" theme has also been related to the
fact that the Rajneeshee majority on the city council
voted to change many names of the streets in
Antelope. Most were renamed after world renowned
religious leaciers.
Later, in August of 1984, acting upon a petition
signed by about one-third of the residents, the Council
approved referral of a measure to change the name of
the town from the City of Antelope to City of
Rajneesh.
The voters were to decide the issue on
September 18.
The Wasco County Clerk decided that this election
would be a controversial one and so declared there
would be no polling place in Antelope itself. Anyone
wishing to vote, she said, would have to do so by
casting an absentee ballot or by traveling the 180
miles round trip to the Wasco County Courthouse in
The Dalles on election day.
The Mayor and other city officials protested. The
County Clerk responded that state law does not
require polls to be physically located within precincts,
even though there had been a polling place in Antelope
for as long as anyone could remember.
A circuit court judge ruled that there is no specific
law dealing with the removal of a municipal election
outside of the boundaries of that municipality.
The
clerk's decision stood, in spite of the fact that, in
terms of inconvenience, it represents the equivalent of
requiring a Portland municipal election to be held in
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Corvallis.
All but one voter, who traveled to The Dalles,
chose to cast absentee ballots. The election results
were 57 in favor of the name change and 22 opposed.
Antelope is now officially the City of Rajneesh.
The School
One of the earliest fears of the longer term
Antelopians and nearby ranchers was the prospect of
an influx of Rajneeshee children into the school system
and a resulting increase in property taxes.
The
Rajneeshees were specifically asked and agreed from
the begiming not to send their children to the local
school.
Instead they agreed to establish a private
school on the ranch.
Nevertheless, the ranch was
located within the Antelope School District.
Thus
Rajneeshees paid property taxes to help support a
school which their children did not attend.
Even so, by I 983 several of the nearby ranchers had
petitioned the Wasco and Jefferson County Boundary
Boards to have their property moved into either the
Maupin or the Madras district.
The petitions were
accepted. Over 200 square miles were to be removed
from the Antelope district, leaving only property on
the Rajneeshee ranch and in the town itself to be
taxed in support of the school. To achieve this clearly
gerrymandered taxing district, Antelope and the ranch
were connected by a one foot wide strip of land that
stretched for fifteen miles. As a result, Rajneeshees
would be expected to provide the bulk of the tax
money to operate a school their children still did not
attend.
Not surprisingly, Rajneeshees voted against a
district budget request in June and also elected one of
their community to a vacancy on the school board.
The board members sent a reduced levy request to the
voters and it too was defeated.
Whereupon they
decided to close the Antelope school and send the
twelve non-Rajneeshee elementary schoolchildren to

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Madras. Yet another levy, however, was requested to


pay part of the temporary cost of their tuition and
transportation.
Before these proposals could be put to the voters,
the Wasco County ESD determined that the School
Board which had devised them was improperly
constituted. The redrawing of boundaries had removed
the property of four board members from the Ante lope
School District. This rendered them ineligible to vote
in the district and, therefore, to serve as members of
the school board. Four new property owners had to be
appointed by the ESD to fi II the vacated seats.
Rajneeshees were selected since they were the only
applicants and they received overwhelming support
from the residents of the recently truncated District.
The new board decided to keep the schoo I open for
all students in the district.
However, all nonRajneeshee families chose to send their children
elsewhere. So school began in the fall of 1983 with 53
children of Rajneeshees in attendance.
The Lincoln School, as it is now known, has
probably been subjected to more thorough scrutiny
than any other institution of its kind in Oregon. A
fact-finding team and education officials conducted
reviews in October and November of 1983.
A
standardization team of six from the Department of
Education completed a two-day review in April of
1984. The State Children's Services Division sent
investigators in June. Each visit produced a report
that standards were being met or exceeded.
The
Lincoln School, with its expanded K through 12
program,
has
held
a
State
Certificate
of
Standardization since September of 1984. Finally, the
Superintendent
of Public
Instruction
personally
surveyed the grounds and programs in February of
1985.
The Community Church
Another generally misunderstood issue concerns the

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Community Church, built as a Methodist-Episcopal


institution in 1896 when the town was much larger. In
October of 1953 it was transferred by warranty deed
to the Antelope School District. In August of 1969 the
school district transferred it to the City of Antelope
with a quit-claim deed.
After the failure of the April 1982 disincorporation
election, the old city council, without prior notice to
the public, transferred the building and accompanying
lots to the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon. This
occurred at the May 4 council meeting, without the
matter having been listed on the agenda.
In March of 1983 the new council began to seek the
return of the property to the city. They alleged that
the May action had been illegal and improper; that
procedures had been violated and authority exceeded.
They also contended that the old council had given
away valuable city-owned property at a time when the
town was in debt and that the community still needed
the building as a location for community activities and
the lots upon which the fire hall and a recycling center
were situated.
On April 29, the old council, which had been out of
office since January, met to "pass a retroactive
ordinance", thus attempting to legitimize the May
1982 transfer of the property to the Episcopal
diocese. This was an unusual digression from lawful
governmental action.
After over a year in the courts, in July of 1984, a
Wasco County Judge ruled against the present city
council. His reasoning was that the transfers of 1953
and 1969 to units of government had been invalid
because they violated the separation of church and
state. Therefore, the school district and city could not
have owned the property but must be seen, rather, as
having held it for the citizens who eventually
transferred it to the diocese. This decision seems to
have settled the issue of ownership for the time
being. However, the Judge did not specifically address

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complaigts against the 1982 actions


council. The case is now on appeal.

of

the

old

The "Take-Overn of Wasco County

The "take-over"
theme was not confined to
Antelope. By the fall of 1984 many Wasco residents
were alarmed that the Rajneeshees might "take over"
the county government in the November elections.
Their fears were stimulated by the "Sharing a Home"
program, which the Rajneeshees had initiated to
relocate numerous "street people" at their ranch.
It has been reported that 3700 homeless people
were recruited from among the most destit~te in
sixty-one major metropolitan areas nationwide.
The
program offered them medical attention, nutritious
food and housing in a clean, drug-free, crime-free
environment. It also offered them encouragement and
support to transform their lives for the better.
Bus fare to Oregon was provided for all and return
fare to those boarding the buses before September 23
who later might decide to leave. Return tickets were
no longer promised to newcomers after that date.
They were asked to sign an understanding to that
effect and to consider carefully whether they were
committed to a change of lifestyle. However, some of
the later arrivals did eventually decide to leave the
ranch. They subsequently called upon or were offered
charitable resources in Portland, Madras and The
Dalles for return transportation.

the
transportation
costs
some non-Rajneeshee
charities contributed to those who left.
But many viewed this program quite differently.
No sooner had it begun than rumors began to circulate
that the Rajneeshees were going to "import hordes of
street people" in order to "take over" Wasco County
government in the November elections.
Two of the
three county court I commission seats were at stake and
contested.
Each candidate had indicated that he or
she was not favorably predisposed towards the
Rajneeshees.
Any attempt by the Ra jneeshees to "take over"
would
have
required
mounting
two write-in
campaigns.
Then an enormous "bloc vote" of
Rajneeshees and newcomers would have had to be
delivered. There were several media reports pointing
out the virtual arithmetic impossibility of these fears
being realized.
But reasoned arguments had little
effect on the situation.
Non-Rajneeshee voter registration in the county
soared.
Anti-Rajneeshee
groups in Albany and
elsewhere announced plans to go to Wasco on or near
election day to register and to vote illegally in order
to "save" the county. Wasco officials pleaded with
these people to stay home.
Meanwhile the
Rajneeshees announced that they would offer two
write-in candidates and that they would "take over
Wasco County". These actions were later explained as
a "joke" designed to determine how far opponents
might go.

By the end of 1984 somewhat fewer than I000


"Sharing a Home" participants remained at the ranch.
Exact figures are uncertain.
Some of these have
adopted the religion of Rajneeshism, others have not.
The number remaining represents a 20-25 percent
success rate in the rehabilitation of people from the
most dehumanizing slums of our urban ghettos. Such
an accomplishment is remarkable.
It can also be
viewed as representing
a savings in taxes and
charitable funds in the long run that will far outweigh

Calling for public calm, the Secretary of State


directed the Wasco County Clerk to halt all voter
registration on October 12. She then established a
novel plan of requiring all prospective
voter
registrants to travel t<;>The l?alles. ?n.d. underg? a
"screening" to determine their el1g1b1ltty. Fifty
attorneys were recruited to administer the plan.

- 12 -

- 13 -

The Rajneeshees contested the legality of the plan

in U.S. District Court to no avail. They also asked


that some provision be made to conduct "screenings" in
south Wasco County.
They argued that to require
nearly 4000 potential voters to travel 180 miles round
trip in order to be questioned placed undue burdens on
and potentially deprived citizens of their rights to
register and thus to vote.
. The court did not require a south county location
for the "screenings", however, and the Secretary of
State would not acquiesce to the request for anyone
but the handicapped.
Nineteen Rajneeshpuram
residents submitted to the process in The Dalles on the
first day. Two registrants were rejected as ineligible.
However, the Secretary of State later admitted that in
a post-election court challgnge both were in fact
deemed qualified to register.
One result of the required travel time, distance and
first day rejections was that many Rajneeshees and
newcomers were unable to or discouraged from
attempting to register. Moreover, only two days were
scheduled for screening all applicants.
Many of the
citizens of Rajneeshpuram
chose to boycott a
registration procedure they held to be prejudicial and
unfair, and to boycott the election as well. They
decided after the election, however, not to contest the
results in court, although they might have had grounds.
Another consequence of the situation was that 93
percent of the registered voters in Wasco County
turned out to vote in November 1984. 13,561 ballots
were
cast,
of which only 249 were
from
Rajneeshpuram. The obvious arithmetic was the final
disclaimer to all rumors of impending take-over.
A successful Rajneeshee write-in candidate would
have had to receive a bloc of votes in excess of 6,656
to win by the barest of majorities. There never were
anywhere near that many potential voters at the
ranch, even assuming all living there were eligible,
registered, and voted in the same way.

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In fact, a winning write-in Rajneeshee candidate


might have had to receive many thousands more than
just the 6,656 minimum votes.
Non-Rajneeshee
candidates for county court/commission seats had
already discussed the possibility of one candidate for
each seat withdrawing at the last moment. Such a
single candidate opposing a write-in Rajneeshee would
have presumably received almost all of the nonRajneeshee votes, given the climate in the county.
Thus it might have taken more than 13,312 votes for a
Rajneeshee write-in candidate to win the election.
The "take-over" of Wasco County existed only in
the rumors that some anti-Rajneeshees circulated and
in the "joke" the Rajneeshees instigated.
One
consequence of all of this, however, was to heighten
the fears of some Wasco citizens.
Another was to
cause the media to largely ignore the positive results
of the "Sharing a Home" program.

The Permit Problems


Almost from the beginning, both Wasco and
Jefferson counties presented the Rajneeshees with
permit problems similar to some they had experienced
before the Antelope City Counci I. In most such cases,
1000 Friends was once again involved.
The land-use lobby group protested issuance of
trailer-housing permits for workers on the ranch. They
opposed permits for support structures.
They took
credit for Jefferson County Court /Commission action
to limit the size of a medical facility and of a school
in 1981, and of a church in 1982. At one point, they
asked the Bonneville Power Administration to delay
the provision of needed electrical power lines to the
ranch.
When the Rajneeshees requested a permit for their
first religious festival in 1982, almost every facet of
the proposal was opposed by 1000 Friends.
They
argued that the festival should not be allowed at all on
ranch land. They fought to prevent the completion of

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a needed sewage treatment lagoon. They took a stand


against the installation of a water supply system
needed for fire fighting.
In this instance, state law and constitutional
guarantees of freedom of worship and assembly
supported the Rajneeshees' request.
According to
Oregon's mass gathering law all that is required to
obtain a festival permit is a demonstration that public
health and safety wi II be adequately protected.
The
Wasco County District Attorney attested to the law
and
Rajneeshee
compliance
at
the
April
court/commission public hearing.
The Wasco body
granted the permit, stipulating deadlines, inspections
and other requirements to be met. The stipulations,
however, did not prevent one Commissioner who
agreed with 1000 Friends' arguments from resigning in
protest.
From April until August, nearly a month after the
summer religious festival was held, I 000 Friends
initiated a series of actions against it. They wrote to
the Health Division, the Department of Environmental
Quality, the Governor and even local newspapers in
attempts to halt the issuance of permits. They filed
petitions and argued before the Wasco County Circuit
Court, in two separate actions before Land Use Board
of Appeols (LUBA) and in two actions before the
Oregon State Court of Appeals.
In each case the
rulings of the judicial bodies left permission for the
festival intact.
Meanwhile,
the
Jefferson
County
Court/Commission refused to issue a permit for the
religious event.
The Rajneeshees appealed and the
Deschutes
Circuit
Court
ordered
the
Court /Commission to grant the request.
In 1982, 1983 and 1984 summer religious festivals
were
held successfully
and without
untoward
incident. In 1985, however, the agreement to grant a
festival permit was delayed by the Wasco County
Court/Commission.
The body included as newly
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elected the very Commissioner who had resigned over


the
issuance
of
the
1982 permit.
This
Court/Commission granted the mass gathering permit
but with new stipulations of a sort never befor~
required in the state.
Once again, governmental
authority was employed to single out one community
for exceptional treatment.
Since 1981, several state agencies have been
involved in permit and inspection issues. One of the
more serious and certainly more unusual examples is
the 1985 situation in which the State Department of
Commerce fined Rajneeshees for violating state
electrical codes in 640 "huts" or "winterized tents"
which had been erected at the ranch. The fine for this
minor infraction was set at $1,400,000.00. The State
Building Code Administrator
admitted that this
e:<ceptional and massive fine was more than twenty
times as large as any he could ever recall having been
levied against anyone in Oregon's history.9 Another
singular distinction was awarded the Rajneeshees.
The Building Codes Division also announced that it
would seek up to $3,000,000.00 in fines since the
structures were not really temporary.
The Wasco
Circuit Court ordered all of the "winterized tents"
removed and the Rajneeshees complied.
The state
certified
building inspector
for
Rajneeshpuram,
who had ruled that these were
"temporary structures"
and thus did not require
building permits was threatened with revocation of his
certification.
This would be the first time in Oregon's
history that such a certification was revoked.

The Lmd Use Labyrinth


Oregon is well-known for its comprehensive and
stringent regulation of land use. However, nowhere in
Senate Bill 100, which created the Land Conservation
and Development Commission (LCDC), nor in the goals
established
by LCDC, is the subject of the
incorporation of new cities in rural areas explicitly

- 17 -

.I

I'

treated.
Land use statutes are, at best, ambiguous
with regard to the topic.
Goal 14, which deals
specifically
with the creation of Urban Growth
Boundaries (UGBs) does not explicitly deal with the
incorporation of cities in areas outside of already
existing UGBs.
The Rajneeshees, Wasco County
Court/Commission,
Wasco County Circuit Court,
LCDC, LUBA, and the State Court of Appeals, as well
as many legislators, have all interpreted this ambiguity
differently at different times. The result has been a
welter of administrative and judicial confusion.
The Oregon State Constitution is much clearer on
the issue of incorporation.
It provides for Home Rule
and states that, "The legal voters of every city and
town are hereby granted pwer to enact and amend
their municipal charter "
Oregon's implementing
statutes provide that 150 or more people living in an
area outside of an already existing city may initiate
the incorporation of their own city.
At least 10
percent of them are first to petition the appropriate
county court/commission,
which then holds one or
more public hearings and approves a detailed order for
an election.
If a majority of those residing in the
area vote to incorporate, the county recognizes the
creation of a new city by proclaiming the election
results. One issue under contention is what impact, if
any, SB I00 was intended to have on this statutory
procedure.
Implementation of SB I00 over the years has
res~lted in land in or near existing cities being
designated as urban or urbanizable if it falls within
UGBs adopted by local governments and approved by
LCDC. Almost by default, all land not falling within a
UGB, or specifically designated for some other use
such as forest or recreation, has been categorized as
Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). SB 100 contained no
explicit provision concerning the incorporation of a
new city outside of an established UGB, that is, on
EFU land.

Former State Senator Ted Hallock, one of the coauthors of SB I00, has explained legislative intent as
being the protection of truly valuable agricultural
land. He has also said that during the 1973 legislative
deliberations, the incorporation of new cities was
never considered to be a matter governed by SB l 00.
I spent five months of agony fighting to get
that bi II through the legislature, and I can tell
you that not for one moment was any
consideration given to the possible formation of
new cities. My primary purpose was to protect
good farm land from further encroachment by
existing urban areas. Not once did we discuss
the evolution of a new city in a semi-desert
area what you're doing here (Rajneeshpuram)
is totally cff'mensurate with the intent of our
legislation.
Another issue under contention is whether or not
the statutory language adopted by a 1981 legislative
session amendment renders land use planning goals
applicable to the incorporation of new cities.
The
attempt to clarify land use issues specifically related
to annexation was worded as follows:
"Cities and
counties shall exercise their planning and zoning
responsibilities, including, but not limited to, a city or
special district boundary change which shall mean the
incorporation
or ~rrexation
of unincorporated
territory by a city "
One judicial decision has held this language
ambiguous and not intended by the legislature to apply
to the incorporation of new cities. It reasoned that if
the legislature had intended such an application, it
would have worded the phrase to read "incorporation
of or annexation of".
Another decision disagreed,
saying that the passage "is not ambiguous, although it
could have been more artfully drafted" and that it does
rende~ ~and ~se goals applicable to the incorporation of
new c1t1es. 1
Meanwhile, 1000 Friends of Oregon has developed

- 18 -

- 19 -

its own interpretation of the relationship of Oregon's


land use planning laws to incorporation.
Their
attorneys have insisted that: urban development may
only take place on land within established UGBs; no
new cities may be incorporated
on EFU land,
regardless of the agricultural value of that land; and
no urban-type services may be provided in rural areas
without the completion of an inexplicably complex
procedure called an "exception".
A third issue under contention is this matter of
whether or not the "exceptions process" as outlined in
Goal 2 applies to the incorporation of new cities. This
process could ta.ke years and, as of early 1985, had
never been successfully completed by anyone in the
state who had been challenged.
Arnold Cogan, the first Director of the Department
of Land Conservation and Development, and head at
the time that the land use planning goals were written,
has clarified
LCDC intent
relating
to new
incorporations and Goals 14 and 2.
In 1983 he
explained that:
It is important to note that Goal 14 was not
intended to prohibit new urban areas or new
cities, nor was it anticipated that Goal 2
exceptions to Goal 14 would be required to
justify newly urbanizing areas. Again, hod this
been the intent of the goals, it wou\1 have been
inserted in a clear, exp Iicit manner.
LCDC had itself clarified this point in a May 1979
Exception Policy Poper. Their position was that the
"exceptions process" does not apply to Goal 14 because
its own conflict
resolution
Goal 14 contains
mechanism.

confusing labyrinth of controversy over these issues.


The lncorporatim

of Rajnees~ram

When the Rojneeshees purchased the 64,229 acre


Big Muddy Ranch in July of 1981, they voiced their
intention to develop an agriculturally based commune
where they could live, work and practice their
religion. The community was to be a home for those
who wished to shore in an experimental application of
religious teachings to everyday Iife.
They purposefully bought some of the most overgrazed and abused land in Oregon. Part of their vision
was to practice agriculture in the most technologically
advanced, yet ecologically restorative and supportive
way possible.
They began to implement intensive
agricultural practices, which required the labor of a
substantial population. This, in turn, necessitated the
provision of housing, medical services and the like.
Light industrial facilities, such as for the maintenance
of equipment, were also needed.
For its religious activities, the community required
other types of facilities.
It needed a church or
meditation hall and means for book publication and
distribution.
There were communications needs, of
course. And after several months there was a need to
develop facilities for the many guests and tourists who
began to arrive to visit the settlement.
The ranch was about 20 miles from the hamlet of
Antelope, which provided none of the needed
services.
The nearest location of some of those.
facilities was Madras, a city of under 3000 population
some
one
and one-half
hours' drive away.
Consequently, the Rajneeshees sought permits from
Wasco and Jefferson counties for some basic facilities
on their ranch. Trailer housing and office space were
requested first and permits were somewhat reluctantly
granted.

These are some of the central


issues of
interpretation which have been raised relative to the
incorporation of Rajneeshpuram.
However clear
original intent may appear to be, administrative
agencies and the courts have been embroiled in a

As early as September 1981, however, 1000Friends


challenged requests for basic facilities permits for the

- 20-

- 21 -

ranch. They contended that such services should not


be allowed on EFU land. Recall that it was 1000
Friends who originally told the Rajneeshees t1't they
must locate their non-farm uses in Antelope.
This
led to Rajneeshee requests for permits in Antelope and
the problems resulting therefrom.
They also decided
to seek the creation of their own city on ranch
property as a means of providing services. Relying
upon the advice of some of Oregon's finest land use
law experts, they sought to follow the provisions of the
state constitution
and the explicit wording of
incorporation
and land use planning statutes
in
requesting the required election.
On October i4, 1981 a petition was filed in The
Dalles seeking the incorporation of 2,135 acres of
Rajneeshee ranch land. A three and one-half hour
hearing on the request was held by the Wasco County
Court/Commission on November 4. About 200 people
attended.
The Rajneeshees and ten or so others testified
concerning the need for incorporation to provide nonfarm services, fire protectioo,
a water system
hospital, stores and the like.
The LCDC Field
Representative for the area testified that LCDC would
remain neutral on the issue of incorporation. He said
that LCDC would not become formally involved until
after the incorporation had taken place. He added
that the Rajneeshees had been receptive to land use
planning goals and guidelines in preparing their
request.
1000 Friends attorneys and others testified against
allowing an incorporation election primarily on the
grounds that the creation of a city on ranch property
would violate land use planning Goals 3 and 14. They
reiterated their interpretation that Goal 14 precludes
the incorporation of any new cities on EFU land. They
repeated their position that the only way the
Rajneeshees might be allowed to provide non-farm
services on the ranch would be to go through the

- 22 -

essentially
untried
"exceptions process".

and

potentially

protracted

The Wasco County Court/Commission expressly


disagreed with I000 Friends regarding the need for an
"exceptions process". In doing so, they relied on the
interpretations
in LCDC's 1979 Exception Policy
Paper.
In spite of the arguments of I000 Friends, the
Wasco County Court/Commission, by a 2 to I vote,
adopted the findings submitted by the Rajneeshees and
granted the petition for an incorporation election.
They set the election for May 18, 1982.
Throughout the November 4 hearing, and during the
many administrative and judicial proceedings they
later initiated, 1000 Friends continually stressed their
interest in protecting valuable agricultural land, a
Goal 3 concern. In 1983, the Director of I 000 Friends
wrote: "nullification of the Rajneeshees' city status
is the only way to restore Oregon's farmland
protection laws to the Muddy Ranch. This has been
the sole purposf7 of I000 Friends' efforts since
September 1981."
However, the November 4 hearing clearly showed
that the acreage to be incorporated consisted largely
of Class VI and VII soils. Much of it was also steeply
sloped. Later the application of Federal Bureau of
Land Management standards revealed that the portion
of the ranch to be incorporated had the agricultural
land use potential of supporting nine cows. This 2,135
acres was virtually useless wasteland, unsuited for
anything except the grazing of nine head of cattle.
Yet complex administrative and legal battles have
ensued. The area has seen escalating hostility. High
costs have been incurred by a II concerned, including
Oregon taxpayers.
These have been some of the
consequences of I000 Friends' "sole purpose" of
restoring "Oregon's farmland protection" to nine cows.
In pursuit of this purpose and almost immediately
- 23 -

after the Wasco Court /Commission decision, I000


Fri ends, often joined by three nearby ranch couples
who are members of the organization,
began a
protracted and costly process of appeals. They sought
to delay, modify and/or reverse the November 4
decision.
That same month they wrote asking the Governor
to direct LCDC to institute legal action to invalidate
the Wasco decision. Such action did not follow. In
December, I 000 Friends filed a notice of intent to
appeal the November 4 decision to LUBA. They also
filed a petition asking the Wasco County Circuit Court
to review and ~verturn the incorporation hearing
proceedings. The Circuit Court dismissed the request,
deferring to the LUBA review. 1000 Friends appealed
this dismissal to the Court of Appeals.
In January, the organization aided a rancher in
filing a complaint with the State Ethics Commission
calling into question the integrity and impartiality of
one of the Wasco County officials who had voted in
favor of holding the incorporation election.
This
particular action was settled in May when the Ethics
Commission dismissed all complaints against the
official.
Also in January, the 1000 Friends and the three
ranch couples filed a petition asking LUBA to review
and reject the November 4 decision to schedule an
incorporation election.

The State Approves Rojneest1)Urom


On March 12, 1982 the Land Use Board of Appeals
dismissed the petition for review of the county's
decision by a unanimous vote.
In part LUBA's
reasoning included the determination that ;tote land
use _goals wer: not inte~ded by the legislature to apply
to incorporation elections and the creation of new
cities. The opinion states:
We conclude that application of the goals is not
feasible in the incorporation process given the
- 24 -

limited discretion afforded county governing


bodies by statute in this process.
Because
application of the goals in the incorporation
process is not feasible, we conclude the
legislature
intended
to
use the
term
"incorporation" in its nonlegal sense and, thus,
did not intend the goals to be applied in the
incorporation process We conclude that the
1981 legislature in amending ORS 197.175 (I)
did not intend to require thf goals be applied in
the incorporation process.
I000 Friends filed for Court of Appeals review of
the LUBA decision a few days later. In April, they
requested that LUBA take action to delay the
incorporation election; LUBA declined to do so.
Twice, in April and in May, I000 Friends requested the
Wasco County Circuit Court to enjoin the election.
Twice the circuit court declined to do so.
On May 18, the residents of the area voted 154 to 0
to incorporate the City of Rajneeshpuram. Eight days
later, the Wasco County Court /Commission proclaimed
the incorporation and set an August 10 date for
election of a city council.
1000 Friends also filed for injunctions to halt this
election, and/or prohibit any city council which might
be elected from making any land use decisions and/or
prohibit them from exercising any planning or zoning
responsi bili ti es.
The Wasco Circuit Court denied the request to
enjoin this election.
They also refused to grant a
permanent injunction against land use decisions by a
duly elected Rajneeshpuram City Council. The ruling
did, however, contain the following provisions:
a
temporary order was granted stating that the city
council did not have the right to administer county
plaming and zoning laws within city limits; the council
was required to delay zoning decisions until the
Rajneeshpuram Comprehensive Land Use Plan had
been adopted; the council was asked to notify I000
- 25 -

Friends 24 hours before any ff


provide them with an agenda. 1

its meetings and to

In spite of two requests by I000 Friends that the


council be enjoined from holding hearings on and
adopting a comprehensive plan, the circuit court
allowed the proceedings.
By early September
Rajneeshpuram had adopted a Comprehensive Pion and
Development Code. Thus, the council replaced the
Wasco Court /Commission as the ruling body on land
use decisions for the 2,135 incorporated acres that
constituted the city. By mid-September the circuit
court had ruled that Rojneeshpuram was quite within
the low in establishing a city council, adopting a
comprehen bve plan and in proceeding to implement
that plan. 2
Not satisfied with that ruling, IOOO
Friends asked LUBA to review the city's adoption of a
land use plan and development code.
Later in the fall of I 982, the three volume
Rajneeshpuram
Comprehensive
Pion, which had
received
very widespread
recognition
for
its
thoroughness and professional quality, was adopted by
Wasco County and submitted to LCDC for review. By
January of 1983, 1000 Friends attorneys had filed some
38 pages of objections to the plan.
Their most important substantive argument against
the pion concerned the ovailabi lity of water.
I000
Friends claimed that Rajneeshpuram's use of water
would damage nearby farming operations.
The
Rajneeshees responded by citing hydrologist reports
that ground water reserves were well in excess of
projected needs, that the ranch is a self-contained
aquifer system and that it does not draw off water
from neighboring property. The Rajneeshees also hod
instituted a wide variety of the most advanced water
conservation
programs and had just completed
construction of an earthen dam and reservoir capable
of storing up to 330 million gallons of runoff water.

water supplies could provide for 16,000 people on the


ranch and in the city. It reiterated that the ranch's
ground water aquifers do not affect ground water
availability on neighboring properties. Moreover, the
report concluded that the effect of Rajnee~e
water
use on the John Day River was "very minor".
In February of 1983 the Mayor of Rajneeshpuram
reported that the Department of Land Conservation
and Development (DLCD) staff had only raised three
minor objections to the city's comprehensive plan.
One question related to whether the city boundary had
been drawn in such a way as to encourage the most
efficient provision of city services. Beyond this, the
Mayor reported, DLCD staff hod rejected or refuted
every objecti22 to the plan which had been raised by
1000 Friends.
The State Disapproves Rojnees'1:>urom

In early March 1983 a three-judge panel of the


Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the LUBA decision
of the previous March. They did not agree with LUBA
that it Jacked jurisdiction to consider the Wasco
Court/Commission
decision on the grounds that
incorporation election is not a land use
allowing
decision. 2
Therefore, the case was remanded to
LUBA for consideration on the merits. IOOOFriends
staff called the appeals court decision a "major
setback" for Rajneeshpuram.
The incorporators'
Iawyers decided to appeal to the Oregon Supreme
Court.

<f

A subsequent survey conducted by the Oregon


Water Policy Review Board confirmed that existing

Several days later, the director and staff of DLCD


recommended
to a meeting
of the land use
commissioners that they postpone a review of the
Rajneeshpuram Comprehensive P,]an until the city's
legality was firmly established. 24 The Rajneeshees'
attorneys argued at the hearing that this delay would
impose a serious hardship, prevent critical decisions by
the city and disrupt people's lives. A representative
from the attorney general's office, in response to an
LCDC question, stated that Rajneeshpuram was, at

- 26 -

- 27 -

.1

that time, a legally incorporated city. LCDC rejected


the staff proposal to postpone consi1 ration of the
comprehensive pion by a vote of 4 to 3. 5
Also worthy of note is the state legislature's June
passage of SB 360. The bill specifically provided for
state land use goals to apply to "the incorporation of a
new city". Obviously legislators did not believe the
goals hod applied in such cases before their adoption of
the explicit statutory requirement.
If they believed
the issue to hove been adequately treated by the
statutes, they would hove been passing a redundant
low.
Equally worthy of note is I000 Friends' lobbying
activity on SB 360. One other substantial argument
they hod brought forth against Rajneeshpuram was the
claim that it would create a precedent for the
incorporation of cities on more fertile land. Should
the city be allowed to exist, they argued, developers
would use incorporation as a way in which to
circumvent land use lows. They might incorporate
cities on the rich agricultural lands of the Willamette
Valley which SB I 00 hod been intended to protect.
This fear was laid to rest by the passage of SB 360,
which specified incorporation as a land use issue.
However, IOOOFriends further sought to convince
legislators to make the provisions of the new law apply
retroactively to the incorporation of Rajneeshpuram.
include such a retroactive
The legislature did
feature in the statute.

~t

Also in June, LCDC met to consider Rajneeshpuram's Comprehensive Plan. Four hours of testimony
were heard and four critical votes were taken. First,
LCDC rejected a request from I000 Friends for an
enforcement order that would have stopped development in the city. Second, they rejected a motion to
deny the comprehensive plan because there had been
no justification for or exception taken to two of the
planning goals. Third, LCDC rejected a proposal to
postpone action on the plan because of litigation
- 28 -

-----

-------

......

--------

-------------------------

pending before the State Supreme Court. Finally, they


approved the comprehensive
plan as being in
compliance with 13 of the 14 statewide planning
goals. They did return it to Rajneeshpuram, however,
and grant 150 days to correct "flaws" in that portion
dealing with the way in which the UGB had been
drawn. All four cr~fal issues were decided on the
basis of 4 to 3 votes.
With the plan essentially approved, the city council
set about making their UGB and city limits more
compact and contiguous, as required by LCDC. In
order to do so they informed Wasco County of their
intent to annex 119 acres to the city and return over
300 acres to an EFU designation. They believed this
action, which proposed a smaller city acreage and a
redrawn UGB, would satisfy the problem identified by
LCDC.
However, the Wasco County Planning Commission
refused to hear or consider the requested plan changes
on four separate occasions and the Wasco County
Court/Commission refused to hear on appeal of these
actions.
After several months of delay, the city
council proceeded with the annexation and rezoned the
acreage.
Towards the end of June, IOOOFriends had filed a
petition asking LUBA to stay the implementation of
the Rajneeshpuram Comprehensive Pion and to stay
developmnent in the city. In August LUBA denied the
stay.
Not long after the city council's annexation
action, however, IOOOFriends again filed suit seeking
to halt development. This time they filed in the Wasco
County Circuit Court. Wasco County later joined the
suit, specifically objecting to development on the
annexed acres. Both groups eventually sought not only
to stop all construction, but also to prohibit use of any
already completed buildings in the area.
At the end of June I 983, the Oregon Supreme
Court refused to review the decision of the appeals
court to remand consideration of the Rajneeshpuram

- 29-

incorporation election to LUBA. The denial of review


was made without comment.
LUBA was ordered to .
reconsider the case on its merits.
At this juncture one of the co-sponsors of the
original land use law, SB 100, stated:
" I 000 Fri ends has done a Iot for Oreg on but on
this issue they are full of baloney. Their interpretation of Senate Bill I 00 and mine are two
completely
different
things We
never
envisioned
an
experiment
like
this
(Rajneeshpuram) This city is
support of a
wonderful agrarian experiment."

The LCDC "Temporary'' md "Retroactive" Rule


I000 Friends had failed to persuade the legislature
to apply the provisions of SB 360 retroactively to
Rajneeshpuram.
Taking another approach, they were
reported to have worked closely with DLCD staff to
draft a new LCDC rule that would achieve the same
goal.
On July 14 of 1983, LCDC promulgated an eight
page "temporary" rule to go into effect immediately.
Their stated purpose was to "give direction to LUBA"
in its interpretation of the land use goals as they apply
to the incorporation of new cities. Not only did the
new rule interpret the goals and go into effect
immediately, it also was to be applied retroactively to
August 1981.
Interestingly, according to the state statutes which
govern LCDC's own procedures, all "temporary" rules
have a life of only 180 days. Within that time period
they must be either made permanent or terminated. It
is difficult to understand how a temporary rule, with a
Iife of only 180 days, could be made to apply to events
which '2'9d occurred two years, or some 700 days,
earlier.

incorporation election for land outside of a UGB must


include the process of filing for and justifying an
"exception" to land use goals. This newly interpreted
requirement was to apply to all county decisions on
incorporation elections made since August 21, I 981.
That meant that the retroactive feature of the rule
applied
to
the
Wasco
County
decision
on
Rajneeshpuram, and only to that decision.
One observer commented:
The astonishing thing about the administrative
rule promulgated in July 1983 is that it was
made retroactive to August 1981 to include the
incorporation of Rajneeshpuram in November
1981. This is the first time that it was stated
publicly that the urbanization goal (Goal 14) of
the land use law prohibits the incorporation of a
city on rural land unless an exception - a
lengthy legal process - is taken to the goal. 30
The 1000 Friends staff and the DLCD staff argued
that the rule was not really "new", but rather merely
an interpretation
of how the land use goals were
always to have been applied to cases of incorporation. Moreover, they argued, such clarification and
interpretation was needed to guide LUBA in its review
of the Rajneeshpuram case.
The incorporators' attorneys argued that the rule
was not only completely new, but also represented
substantial changes from the original land use goals.
They pointed out that the new agency rule flatly
contradicted LCDC's own 1979 policy paper, in which
they held that the exceptions process does not apply to
Goal 14.

Leaving that aside, the thrust of the "retroactive"


rule was to require that county authorization of an

Moreover, the lawyers for the incorporators


reasoned, any goal that now required eight pages of
interpretation
could hardly have been considered
"clear" in its original form.
To make such a
"clarification" apply retroactively to govern a decision
made in good faith two years earlier by Wasco County

- 30 -

- 31 -

puram.
And after the LUBA rulings, they made
additional requests of the Wasco County Circuit
Court.
They asked the court to issue orders for the
removal of all structures in the city which had been
constructed under permits issued by the city since the
adoption of the Rajneeshpuram Comprehensive Plan in
September of 1982. They also asked the court to order
the removal of the community's sewer and water
systems.
In sum, they sought the destruction of the
city, based upon the LUBA rulings, which in turn had
been based upon LCDC's retro41rtive rule, which they
had reportedly helped to write.

to repeal or suspend the retroactive

LCDC decided to maintain its earlier position,


disregard the appeals court ruling, and continued to
consider Rajneeshpuram's incorporation to have been
"flawed", pending a Supreme Court decision.
The
commission members also agreed to join IOOOFriends
in appealing the Court of Appeals decision which
reversed LUBA's ruling and their own concurrence.
During these several months, LCDC also denied
Rajneeshpuram's
request
not to transform
the
"temporary" rule into a permanent one and its petition

Rajnees~uram Once Again


On June 27, 1984 the Oregon Court of Appeals
reversed its own decision of March 21. It was a 180
degree reversal.
The 3 to O March opinion was
reversed by a minimal 6 to 4 margin. Historically,
such a Court of Appeals reversal of itself is
exceptionally rare.
The majority opinion held that the city must return
to the Wasco County Court/Commission "to go through
the difficult exceptions process".
The reversal was
explained as being necessary in order to give the
"a~prop ~ate degree of judicial respect" to LCDC
rulings. 4
IOOOFriends then said they would ask the circuit
Court to rule the city illegal.
The incorporators'
attorneys decided to appeal the unusually reversed
decision to the Oregon Supreme Court.
In a related ruling on the same day, the appeals
court held that Rajneeshpuraro had failed to complete
a required exceptions process in annexing the 119
acres.
Of course, it would have been difficult for
them to have known that to annex in August 1983
required the exceptions process. The appellate court
had only just made the process applicable to
incorporation that day, June 27, I 984. Nevertheless,
the decision meant that the J 19 acres reverted to EFU
land and thus to the control of Wasco County.
Meanwhile, 1000 Friends had brought suit in circuit
court seeking removal of all buildings on the annexed
acreage. Rajneeshpuram attorneys appealed the Court
of Appeals ruling.
Some state and county agencies decided, on the
basis of the appeals court reversal of itself, to
consider the city to hove been invalidly incorporated.
For example, Wasco planning bodies, and eventually
the Court/Commission, acting according to their own
interpretation of LCDC, LUBA and Court of Appeals

- 36-

- 37 -

On March 21, 1984 the Court of Appeals rendered


an opinion in the matter. They handed down a decision
which stated that the September ruling by LUBA was
in error. They overturned the LUBA ruling.
In part, the appeals court opinion stated that,
"LUBA's interpretation
is really a de facto goal
amendment."
The decision continued by saying that
the incorporation of rural land is not in and of itself a
violation of state land use planning goals. Insofar as
the LCDC retroactive
rule embodies a contrary
misinterpretation
of the goals, it too is invalid, they
declared.
The court did not elect to rule on the
constitutionality of LCDC's retroactive rule. The case
was remanded to LUBA for further consideration.
1000 Friends and others requested the Court of
Appeals to reconsider its opinion, t~ first step in an
appea I to the Oregon Supreme Court. 1

The State Dis~roves

rule.

decisions, voted to remove all references to Rajneeshpuram from the county's comprehensive plan. This
action was tantamount to rescinding the earlier
ordinance adopting the city's comprehensive plan.
However, the appeals court had merely required the
incorporators to return to Wasco County to pursue the
exceptions process. It had not declared the city to be
illegal.
The Court of Appeals reversal of its own March
decision brought criticism
from many quarters.
Among those comments was an editorial in the Eugene
Register Guard. It called for the legislature to pass
clear laws concerning the incorporation of new cities.
It went on to state, "The prospect of retroactive
municipal aborticr based on ex post facto land-use law
is unappealing."
Lmd Use l~ues in Perspective
When evaluating all of the legislative, judicial and
bureaucratic confusion and contradiction in this case,
three vital factors must be kept in mind.
First, the land use laws of Oregon are, at best,
vague and ambiguous insofar as they relate to the
incorporation of new cities in rura I areas. At worst,
these
Jaws are
incomplete,
inapplicable
and
incomprehensible as they relate to the issue at hand.
The authors of SB 100 disagree as to what they
meant to include and to exclude from the jurisdiction
of the statute. The 1981 session of the legislature did
not unambiguously clarify the matter.
The various
di rectors of DLCD disagree as to whether or not
incorporation was ever meant to be or actually has
been regulated by the goals of LCDC. LCDC members
themselves have been divided in their understandings
and interpretations
of their own rules.
Most
importantly in this case, LCDC members were divided
on the issue of fairness of applying their retroactive
administrative rule.
The petitioners

puram have been the victims of this governmental


chaos. Those petitioners and Wasco County officials
acted in good faith and with the best available legal
advice in 1981-82 when they approved incorporation.
They made every effort to comply with the State
Constitution, the statutes on incorporation and the
land use laws at that time.
Initially the Land Use Board of Appeals agreed with
their understanding and ruled that incorporation was
not a land use issue. The Court of Appeals read the
regulations differently and reversed LUBA, remanding
the case for further consideration.
The state legislature entered the morass in an attempt to clarify its
position, but refused to render its clarifications
retrooctively applicable to Rajneeshpuram.
At this juncture LCDC decided to give guidance to
LUBA in its application of land use laws by adopting
the temporary and retroactive administrative rule to
apply to Rajneeshpuram, and only to Rajneeshpuram.
LUBA then accepted the retroactive interpretation of
LCDC's rules and referred the matter back to Wasco
County.
However, on appea I from the incorporators of
Rajneeshpuram, the Court of Appeals overturned the
LUBA decision. Then the Court of Appeals took the
unusual step of reversing itself, overturning its own
earlier decision by a narrow majority. The Supreme
Court is now deliberating the issue.
If additional evidence is needed to illustrate the
ambiguity of Oregon's land use laws as they may or
may not apply to the incorporation of new cities in
rural areas, it is available as follows. Votes taken on
the critical
incorporation
issues by the various
tribunals that have rendered decisions are listed in the
form of a "score card" on the following page.
The "score card'' reveals an almost Kafkaesque
scenario.
Confusion, uncertainty and contradictions
have plagued the decision-makers in this case. The

for the incorporation of Rajneesh- 38-

- 39 -

Approve
Date, Tribunal,
City
Issue
November 4, I 981, Wasco
County/Commission approves
incorporation election
2
March 12, 1982, LUBA holds that
land use laws do not apply
3
March I, 1983, Court of Appeals
reverses LUBA and remands
0
June 2, 1983, LCDC refuses
to stop development
4
June 2, I 983, LCDC refuses
to deny comprehensive plan
4
June 2, 1983, LCDC refuses
to postpone vote on plan
4
June 2, 1983, LCDC approves
13 of 14 Goals in plan
4
July I4, 1983, LCDC adopts
temporary retroactive rule
3
September 26, 1983, LUBA
holds that exceptions process
required
0
September 29, 1983, LCDC
accepts LUBA September 26
ruling
2
March 2 I , 1984, Court of
Appeals reverses LUBA
ruling
3
June 22, I 984, Court of
Appeals reverses Court of
Appeals March ruling
4
TOTAL VOTES ON
33
CRITICAL ISSUES

- 40-

Disapprove
City

0
3
3
3
3
3
4

6
32

most knowledgeable administrative and judicial minds


in state government who have participated in the
various decisions about Rajneeshpuram's incorporation
are in almost complete disagreement.
In summary, no general agreement exists in the
State of Oregon concerning the meaning of land use
laws as they relate to the incorporation of a new city
in a rural area. While the City of Rajneeshpuram is
still struggling to be fully validated at law, however, it
is an existential fact. Thousands of Oregonians live
and work in the city or in the farming operations which
the city supports.
The second vital factor which must be remembered
in evaluating this situation relates to the preservation
of Oregon's prime agricultural land. Such preservation
was one of the essential purposes which motivated the
enactment of a statewide land use planning program
from the outset.
In this regard, it bears repeating that the land upon
which Rajneeshpuram has been located is almost
entirely within the least fertile classifications for soil
types. The only possible agricultural use of the 2000
or so acres which comprise the city would be for the
grazing of nine cows.
Outside of the city, there are some 62,000 acres
now used not only for grazing, but some of which is
under cultivation. The farming practices employed by
the Rajneeshees on this land have been acclaimed as
being not only efficient and highly productive, but also
sensitive to the ecology of the area.
Intensive farming, extensive water conservation
projects, and vast reclamation programs have been
employed. The most severe erosion problems on the
ranch have been virtually eliminated.
Experiments
with new methods and new crops initiated by the
Rajneeshees may prove to be of great benefit to future
farming activity in the arid regions of central Oregon.
In sum, the Rajneeshees have greatly increased the
- 41 -

state's pool of agricultural land. In the face of that


fact, there is an unacceptable
irrationality
in the
insist~nce of 1000 Friends that their particular rigid
and controversial interpretation
of the land use laws
must be upheld at all costs, including the physical
dismantling of the city. In one of their legal briefs
IOOOFriends asks the court to hold that:
'
The election
for
the
incorporation
of
Rajneeshpuram
and the election of a city
council were illegal; the proclamation declaring
the city's incorporation is null and void; and the
City of Rajneeshpura~
does not exist and has
never lawfully existed.
The protection of grazing lands that could support only
nine cows is not a reasonable justification
for the
destruction of a city. Such a position seems all the
less reasonable when that city is in support of an
agrarian experiment
which is adding to the total
agriculturally productive acreage in the state.
The third factor which must not be forgotten when
assessing
Rajneeshpuram
is that
it is a fully
functioning, economically productive, crime and drug
free city. Its structures have been planned to blend
into the rugged landscape.
It houses fifteen
corporations and forty-seven businesses.
The total
investment in the city and the ranch has exceeded
$130,000,000.00, making a very major contribution to
Oregon's economy. It has become one of the state's
key tourist attractions,
with some I00,000 visitors
annually, and is the center for worldwide religious
festivals four times a year.
Above all, Rajneeshpuram
sets a standard for
cle~n,
non-polluting
rural-urban
harmony
and
environmental compatibility in the finest of Oregon
traditions. And its existence harms no one.
The Religious City Issue

represented LCDC in the land use cases. In addition,


in October of 1983, he issued a 59 page "advisory
opinion" concerning the "religious nature" of the city.
Such an opinion does not have the force of law.
Nonetheless, it was widely welcomed by many who
oppose the presence of Rajneeshees in Oregon.
The AG's opinion contended that Rajneeshpuram
violates
both
state
and federal
constitutional
guarantees of separation of church and state.
It
expressed the belief that the city should not be
permitted to provide any services because there is a
"pervasive and unavoidable" intrusion of religion into
city government.
However, the AG did not fully document his
position and admitted that he had "assumed" many
facts about Rajneeshpuram in preparing the opinion.
For example, he noted that the city's land is owned by
a religious corporation and then assumed as fact that
only Rajneeshees are permitted
to live upon that
land. The Mayor of Rajneeshpuram, on the other hand,
has stated that residence is not restricted to members
of the religion.
The AG's opinion further claimed that the separate
statuses of city government, the Rajneesh Investment
Corporation, the Rajneesh Neo-Sannyas International
Commune and the Rajneesh Foundation International
are only technical and not substantial.
It goes on to
assert that "in a pervasively religious city, exclusively
owned and exclusively inhabited by the religion and its
members, every city action would directly affect the
religion .. This would clearly constitute the prohibited
government entanglement
with religion."
Furthermore, the AG stated his belief that "There is in effect
a total fusion of government
and of religious
functions. In short, as presently constituted, thi~ ity
is fundamentally incapable of behaving as a city." 5

The Attorney Genera I of the State of Oregon


acting in his capacity as legal counsel for the state ha~

Finally, the Attorney General asserted that the


governmental actions
"Secular and religious effects
are inextricably intertwined."
However, he did not

- 42 -

- 43 -

f/l

cite any specific actions of the city council which


might provide some evidence to support his claims.
Rather, he stated that his department and other state
agencies would investigate
the validity of his
assumptions. If they were substantiated, he planned to
challenge the legality of Rajneeshpuram
in the
courts. In the meantime, however, he proceeded to
give advice based on his opinion. For example, he
recommended that the Governor sign HS 3028 and
direct that all state revenue-sharing funds be withheld
from the city and placed in escrow.
By November the AG had filed suit in Wasco
County Circuit Court against the city, the religious
foundation, the investment
corporation
and the
farming commune. His complaint was similar to his
"opinion" and alleged that the city violates state and
federal constitutional principles of the separation of
church and state. He also charged that residence in
the city is controlled by religious bodies or leaders.
The AG's suit sought a judicial declaration that
Rajneeshpuram may no longer exercise governmental
powers. It also asked for a ruling that the city is
ineligible to receive public moneys. Finally, the AG
requested that the court award the state attorneys'
fees and other re Ii ef.
In December, Rajneeshee lawyers removed the suit
to the U.S. District Court in Portland.
The AG
countered with a motion to remand the case back to
the Wasco County Circuit Court.
In March, the
district court ruled against the AG's request. His suit
was ordered to remain in federal court since it deals
with federal statutes and provisions of the United
States Constitution.
Interestingly, the AG's own brief
contained several pages of citations referring to
federal provisions. Even more surprising, a few days
later the AG filed a motion to dismiss his own case.
This was an intriguing attempt
to avoid federal
jurisdiction in the matter.
The AG's next move was to refile

- 44-

a modified

complaint in the Wasco Circuit Court, naming Wasco


County and the County Sheriff as defendants _along
with the Rajneeshees. Rajneeshee attorneys agam had
the case removed to the U.S. District Court since it
still involved U.S. constitutional issues. They also
argued that inclusion of the county ?nd the Sh~rif! ~as
a maneuver designed solely to avoid federal Jurisdiction. They contended that these were not appro~riate
defendants, but rather that they were also hostile to
the existence of Rajneeshpuram.
Nevertheless, the
Attorney Genera I ago in requested that the case be
returned to the county circuit court.
In July, the federal judge ag~in rejected. the AG'~
motion.
The ruling agreed with the RaJneeshees
contention that the county and Sheriff "must be
aligned with the state as plaintiffs" because
have
The
the same interests in the case as the state.~
Attorney General responded by appealing the decision
to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the
matter is now being considered.

tryt7

During the same time period in. which these


complicated legal maneuvers were taking place, the
Attorney Genera I proceeded to take ot he_r se~i?Vs
measures against the city. Even though his opmton
stil I lacked the force of law and had not been upheld
by any court, the Attorney Gener.al continu.ed to use it
as the basis for several actions detrimental to
Rajneeshpuram.
In December, he instructed the manager of the
Oregon Law Enforcement Data System (LED;S)to deny
requests from the Rajneeshpuram .P~ace (Police) F o~ce
for access to information. In add1t1on, the Accounting
Division of the Executive Department was advised to
withhold money for the city's 911 emergency telephone
system.
Shortly thereafter,
city officials were
informed that denial of access to LEDS would
automatically brinq denial of access to data from the
FBl's National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
The Rajneesh<es protested
- 45 -

oil three actions as

potentially endangering the city's residents.


They
became increasingly concerned for life and safety in
the absence of information and the emergency phone
system. They reminded the state of the threats which
had been directed against the community and of the
earlier bombing of the Hotel Rajneesh in Portland.
They emphasized that the three actions were based on
a LUBA ruling which was under appeal and an Attorney
General's opinion as to the city's legality which hod not
as yet been upheld in any court of law. The Mayor of
Rajneeshpuram
noted that the city was being
condemned "as guilty until proven innocent".
In fact, the
The protests were to no ova i I.
Attorney General continued his policy of selectively
treating Rajneeshpurom as non-existent. In September
of 1984 he declared the city's Peace (Police) Force not
to be legally constituted.
This view was based on his
belief that the city is not legally constituted.
At that time, the Peace Force consisted of 16
officers trained at the State Police Academy and of 30
trained reservists.
The AG has subsequently issued
instructions to bar all training for Rajneeshpuram
officers in the future. It should be noted, however,
that the Oregon State Police reportedly still consider
Rajneeshpuram to have an authorized police force.
All of the actions by the Attorney General seem,
once again, to single out this city for singular
treatment by government. However the statutory and
constitutional issues related to the city and religion
may eventually be resolved, surely it will only be after
many years of litigation and appeal. In the meantime,
the actions of the AG in attempting to enforce his
interpretations
of the law prior to formal judicial
resolution of the matters seem designed specifically to
inconvenience the residents of Rajneeshpuram. More
than that, his moves against police protection
functions for the community hove few consequences
other than to render it increasingly vulnerable to any
and all hostile or criminal actions.

- 46 -

The New Legislative Proposals

Early in the 1985 session of the legislature, some


politicians could not resist proposing new "antiRajneeshee" legislation.
Representative Fawbush announced that he was
considering a proposal "that would keep the Rajneesh
(Antelope) police force from getting access to the
state's Law Enforcement
Data System."
As it
happened,
after
the AG had instructed
that
Rajneeshpuram be denied access to LEDS, the City
Council of Rajneesh applied for access. The Fawbush
proposal would reportedly
"deny cities with c1
population of less than 1,000 access to the systern."
The City of Rajneesh is the only city which has oppli<Jd
for LEDS that has a population under 1,000. This tinw
the legislature may be responsi9Jg for singlinq out this
group for discriminatory action.
Even more far reaching are three proposals drafted
by freshman representotiave McTeogue. First, he has
introduced HJR 25 which would amend the Oregon
State Constitution to allow "the voters and the
legislature" to repeal any city's charter if that city
"consistently abuses municipal powers." He is quoted
as saying that legislatures and voters should hove the
ability to "withdraw the state's delegation of municipal
powers when these powe ~ are being abused by a
despotic city government." 4
Neither HJR 25 nor McTeague's February 12 press
release provide any clue as to his usage of the word
"despotic", although the usual definition includes
"autocratic, tyrannical and undemocratic". Neither do
they provide any criterion or standard by which the
legislature is to determine whether or not a given city
council has behaved despotically.
His press release
does indicate, however, that a city might be guilty of
operating "in o despotic manner", and thereby subject
to legal destruction, if it is "unreosonnbly using otherwise legal toctics in o monner which abuses the
municipal powers." (Lrnphosis odded.)
- ,, 7 -

McTeague claims that city elections, city officer


recall, initiative and referendum petitions might all be
ineffective remedies against such a city government.
He dismisses court suits as expensive, time consuming
and ineffective to remedy "prospective acts". Since
these methods may not be useful in removing
autocratic municipal governments, he suggests his
amendment, whereby the "Legislature could review
overall operations of a city government and determine
under broad polic~ guidelines if a city is abusing
municipal powers."~ 0 However, his proposal includes
no indication as to what those "broad policy guidelines"
would be.
History reveals that Oregon's Constitution was
amended by initiative petition some 80 years ago to
remove the legislature's
power to repeal city
charters.
Legislators were forbidden from tampering
with charters precisely because of abuses by the
state's politicians.
Needless to say, the Legislative
Committee of the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) is
reported to have voted unanimously "to oppose a
constitutional
amendment which S rould allow the
legislature to repeal city charters."
Of course the LOC has realized that such a vast
and ill-defined power could be used against any and all
cities in Oregon. However, McTeague has made it
perfectly
clear that his proposed amendment is
directed solely at Rajneeshees by introducing two
additional bills. HB 2892 would repeal the Charter of
the City of Rajneesh and HB 2893 would repeal the
Charter
of Rajneeshpuram,
upon approval in a
referendum. Singling out the two cities which happen
to have majorities of citizens of one religious
conviction is undoubtedly contrary to First Amendment, due process and equal protection provisions of
the U.S. Constitution.
McTeague's proposals have
discriminatory and dangerous.
editorial noted:

- 48 -

been recognized as
As one newspaper

A constitutional change drafted specifically


to allow discrimination against one group could,
at some future date, be turned on any group.
Oregonians .... should continue to work within the
legal system to seek accommodation with the
Rajneeshees.
They should reject McTeague's
proposal to l521alize discrimination against the
Raj neeshees.
Interestingly, Representative Fawbush is listed as a
co-sponsor. Sadly, the same three pieces of l~~islation
have also been introduced in the state senate.
Such proposals seem designed to earn OncJon the
dubious distinction of being one of the most l>lqoted
states in the country. At the very leust, t hoy he lie
Governor Atiyeh's prediction as to how we will be
viewed by posterity. In his openin~J ocldrr.ssto thu 1985
Legislative Assembly the Governor cfoclornch
Another generation will remember our
uncompromising statement that religious and
racial harassment ore offensive to Oregonians
and wils be tolerated nowhere within our
borders. 4

The Abuse of Power


The entire situation surrounding the Rajneeshee
community in Oregon has begun to take on an air of
unreality not unlike that found in Alice's Wonderland.
But this is reality, this is the United States and the
Rajneeshees
stand to be real victims of the
governmental system.
Rojneeshpurarn has become ensnared in the most
complex incorporation/lnnd-use labyrinth ever created
by a state qovernrm~nt. Thf? leqislotive, administrative
and judiciol confusion is so pervasive that ttm decisionmakers who hnv,! rulod on ttw lssu<~hav(~ heen nlrnost
evenly divided or1 the l<<JullntnrprPtutlonN.
1

There is no q11,,stion thnt the' tonql,~or lornluseand


religious frecck>rn iss111sIs Cl complcx om\. And In the

- 1,9 -

I
confrontation between the Rajneeshees and the 1000
Friends of Oregon, we are witness to two determined,
assertive and well-financed organizations locked in an
intricate legal battle.
Various units of government
in Oregon have
become involved in this confrontation.
What must be
demanded by citizens is that such governmental
involvement be fair, open, lawful and impartial.
Instead, there are a number of examples wherein
government has failed in its great responsibility and
has used its power arbitrarily.
This is the abuse of
power which must not be permitted to go unchallenged
or uncorrected.
In some instances, the courts have played a vital
role in correcting arbitrary or discriminatory actions
by government.
One example is the Wasco County
Circuit Court's order to the "old" Antelope City
Council to cease its obstructive behavior and issue
lawfully requested permits. Another example is the
same court's reversal of the Jefferson
County
Court/Commission
decision to refuse to grant a
religious festival permit, an action clearly not in
accordance with the law.
In other instances, the courts are still considering,
on appeal, various questionable governmental actions.
Among such actions are the "temporary"
and
"retroactive" rule of LCDC and the LUBA decisions
guided by that rule. Such actions include also the
Attorney General's complaint, which has been based on
his "assumed" facts concerning the intermingling of
religion and government in Rajneeshpuram.
Other governmental actions are clearly premature,
such as the efforts of Wasco County and its Planning
Director to treat Rajneeshpuram as if it had already
been declared illegal. And some actions seem simply
excessive, such as those of the State Department of
Commerce in setting a $1,400,000.00 fine for the
questionable installation of some electrical wiring.

- 50-

I
'
~.

.1

Finally, there are the remarkable proposals bef~re


the legislature. The issue of LEDS access for the City
of Rajneesh must be carefully considered in light of
government's
responsibility to ensure the public
safety.
The proposed constitutional
amendment
empowering the legislature to repeal city charters and
the two companion bills which would specifically apply
this new provision to the only two cities in Oregon
which house a majority of citizens of a particular
religious faith must be viewed as discriminatory.
The Rajneeshees
have been singled out for
treatment at the hands of various state and locol
government bodies such as would not. b_etolerotP-d t~od
it been directed against any other religious community
in Oregon.
thcit no ot hn
One hears the counter-argument
community has ever been so assertive, hns uver hod
spokespersons who used such provoccitive l~ngua~Je, hos
ever insisted upon gaining all the benef1 ts the law
would provide. But are these justifications for the
types of government action which have been directed
at Rajneeshees?
And are these be~avi~rs unlawful?
The only logical answer to both questions 1s no.
If and when Rajneeshees break the law, there are
legal remedies available, as is the case if and wh~n
anyone might break the law. What govern~ent 1s
required to do is to deal evenhandedly with all
citizens.
It must provide a system of justice. And
government must restrain any an~ all of its officials
from yielding to the temptation
to use power
abusively. If and when government ceases to be the
impartial arbiter of public affairs and instead becomes
a partisan purticipcmt, with its massive coercive
power, then our Pntirc~ woy of life is at risk.
A brenth of frPsh oir oncl common s,mse wns
provided by on /\tJ<JUst, I ?RI~ .O.rtgo!tl~ t~cHtorlnl.
Some of its rPnsonohlP s11qcwstfc,ns nre worthy of
repetition hen!.

- 51 -

The followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh,


gathered in a commune on the Muddy Ranch in
Eastern
Oregon,
should receive
neither
privileged treatment nor harrasment at the
hands of Oregon state government
The governor, in effect, invited them to
leave.
The attorney general held that the
incorporation of their city violates separation
of church and state. And their city and other
developments are under attack as conflicting
with state land laws.
After a sorry record of antagonism, with
plenty of fault to be found all around, it is time
to
try
a constructive
approach.
If
Rajneeshpuram in its present form is an
unconstitutional
mingling of religion and
government, the state's legal talent should
strive to help the inhabitants form a city that
does meet constitutional tests.
Similar attention should be given land use
laws, which were intended to protect the
environment and preserve farmland, not to
prohibit creation of new cities where there is
reason to have them.
In short, a cooperative effort is in order to
help the Rajneeshees establish what it is they
want in ways that are compatible with federal
and state constitutions and the environment of
Wasco and Jefferson counties.
Then there should be no question
about special favors or heavy-handed action
by state agencies.
In the eyes of the state,
equality for all should apply to a commune on
the Muddy Ranch th same as to any other
community in Oregon.

protect the rights of all of its citizens.


Now it is time for action to implement such
principles. For it still holds true, actions speak ouder
than words.

55

These are words written in the spirit of American


justice.
They are words designed to remind
government of the need to exercise power responsibly
and not abusively. They are words which remind all of
us that government is created to serve the needs and

- 52 -

- .'j] -

.
1

Ii
I

NOTES (continued)

NOTES
I Fred Bruning, "Holy cities
Maclean's,January
14, 1985,p. 7.

in Oregon

hills",

2 Kirk Braun, Ra"neesh uram:


Society, West Linn, Oregon: cout
p. 40.

-----------------------------

LUBA No. 81-132.

The Dalles Weekly Reminder, May 12, 1983.

The Dalles Chronicle, March 4, 1983.


The Oregonian, July 26, I 984.

7 Susan Orlean, "The Guru and his Yuppie Cult", The


Boston Phoenix, December I I , 1984.
8 Norma Paulus, The Oregon State
January, I 985, p. 23.
9

17 Henry Richmond,
March, 1984, p. I.

IOOO Friends

Bar Bulletin,

Mailing, circa

18 5 Or LUBA 133 (1982).


I 9 Wasco County Circuit
August 11, I 982.

16 LUBA No. 81-132.

Court Case No. 17487,

20

The Oregonian, September I 7, I 982.

21

The Raineesh Times, April 8, 1983.

22

The Rajneesh Times, February 4, I 983.

23

26 Or App 75 ( 1983).

24

The Oregon ion, March 3, 1983.

25 The Rajneesh Times, March 18, 1983.


The Bend Bulletin, January I I, 1985.

10 The Oregon
Section 2.

State

Constitution,

Article

26

1983 OR Laws, Chapter 230 (SB 360).

27

The Oregonian, June 3, I 983.

XI,

11 See ORS 221 .020 and 221 .031

28 State Senator Ted Hallock, The Rajneesh Times,


July I, 1983.

12 The Rajneesh Times, July I, 1983.


13 ORS 197.175(1).
14 LUBA No. 81-132 and 26 Or App 75 ( 1983).
IS Arnold
Cogan,
Comments
on the
LCDC
Urbanization Goal 1114, before the Oregon LCDC,
March 11, 1983.

29

The Oregonian, July 15, 1983.

30 S. Bishop, "Lund Use Lows Seeing Red", Oregon


Business, November, I 984, p. 37. (Emphasis added.)
31 Arguments in LUBA No. 81-132.
32

LUBA No. 81-132.

- l

NOTES (continued)

NOTES (continued)

33 The Oregonian, September 29, 1983.

51 The Raj neesh T irnes,

34 Senator Jack Ripper quoted in The Oregonian,


October I, 1983.

52 Ashland Dnily Tidings, February 14, 1985.


53

35 The Dalles Chronicle, April 13, I 983.

37 The Oregonian, February 10, 1984.

55 The Oregonian, August 8, I 984.

38 The Oregonian, February 11, 1984.


39 Wasco County Circuit Court No. CC 83-202.
40 The Oregonian, February 23, 1984.
67 Or App 418 (1984).

42

68 Or App 765 (1984).

43 Editorial, Eugene Register Guard, June 29, I 984.


44 Wasco County Circuit Court No. CC 83-202.
45

Bend Bullet in, October 6, 1983.

46 Attorney
359FR.

General's
.

revised

complaint

in 84-

47 Bend Bulletin, July 18, 1984.


48 The Dalles Chronicle, Februory 12, I 985.
49

Statesman-Journal,

February 12, 1985.

50 Representative Dave McTeague, "News Release",


February 12, 1985, p. 4.

____l

SJ!{ 15, SO 599, and SB 600.

Slt Governor Victor Atiyeh, Prepared Text, "63rd


Legislative Assembly Opening Speech", January 14,
1985, p. 2.

36 Arguments in 67 Or App 418 ( 1984).

41

r ebruory 15, I 985.

. I
~ I

l;

would be grossly unjust, they continued.


It was
obviously impossible for the county to have anticipated
the "cl or ifi cation" that was to be made some two years
after the fact.
Finally, incorporators' attorneys contended that the
retroactive creation and application of administrative
rules is one of the most threatening
of possible
government actions. To uphold such a procedure in a
court of la~ would mean that, long after the fact, any
bureaucratic body such as LCDC could "interpret" the
rules in such a way as to render a lawful action retroactively,
unlawful.
They asserted
that ~uch a
manipulation of the rule-making process ls in clear
violation of the principle of the rule of law. j I
But such reasoning did not prevail. LCDC not only
adopted the "temporary" and "retroactive" rule LUBA
considered itself restrained by the rule's provi~ions in
deciding
the Rajneeshpuram
incorporation
case.
LUBA's September 26 ruling stated that LCDC's "new"
rule required them to hold that the procedures which
led to the incorporation of the city were "flawed".
LUBA noted, however, that their decision did not
necessarily mean that the city was illegally formed.
They remanded the issue to the Wasco County
Court/Commission for redetermination.
An exception
to Goal 14 must be taken, said LUBA, though they
added that doing~ would "necessarily involve a rather
jumbled process."
Three days later, in their req~ired review, LCDC
voted 5 to 2 to accept the LUBA decision with minor
revisions.
At that time a minority of commission
men:-bers stressed the unfairness of LUBA's having
appl!ed LCDCs temporary retroactive"
rule in this
particular case.
The following day LUBA issued its
ord~~' which included the LCDC suggestions for
rev1s1on, and returned the entire matter to the Wasco
Court/Commission for reconsideration.

33

On that same day, IOOOFriends turned attention

- 32 -

to

their suit before the county's circuit court.


They
requested an immediate restraining order to halt all
construction and land use decision-making in Rajneeshpuram. They held the LUBA opinion to mean that the
city no longer existed as a city. Rajneeshee attorneys,
on the other hand, argued that Wasco County's
1981 decision
was valid until the
November
court/commission acted to reverse it.
The circuit court did order a stop to development
inside the Rajneeshpuram UGB. Its order required any
developer to apply to Wasco County for planning,
zoning and building permits for the time being. The
Court reasoned that LUBA had ruled the incorporation
invalid for land use purposes until an exception to the
land use goo ls had been taken.
However, the court
clearly stated that the preliminary injunction applied
to the city council only in the specific areas of land
use decision-making listed in the order. The restrictions did not apply to other decisions of the council.
It should be noted that the state legislature was in
special session at the time of the LUBA decision.
Using that board's opinion as justification,
the
legislators passed HB 3028 in a matter of just a few
hours by suspending their normal rules of procedure.
The bill provided that state revenue-sharing funds,
which by statute must be distributed among all lawful
cities, be placed into escrow for any city whose legal
status had been challenged.
Rajneeshpuram was the
only city impacted by the legislation.
Rajneeshees
were, again, singled out for exceptional treatment by
government.
In arguing against passage of the bill, a
state senator noted t~~t the measure amounted to
"religious persecution".
With regard to taxes,
neither the City of
Rajneeshpuram nor Rancho Rajneesh has sought taxexempt status. Citizens there have contributed to the
very state gasoline, alcohol and tobacco revenues
which are mandated for distribution to Oregon's
cities.
They also provide all the tax revenues for

- 33 -

Rajneeshpuram and virtually all such funds for the


City of Rajneesh (Antelope). Rajneeshee citizens also
pay almost all of the local property taxes in support of
Lincoln (Antelope) School.
Wasco and Jefferson counties have also benefited
from taxes collected on Rajneeshee property.
For
example, before the Rajneeshees arrived, the 1980
assessed value of all Big Muddy Ranch property
located in Wasco County was $198,186.00. In 1981 the
assessed value climbed moderately to $233,830.00. In
1982 the combined value of the ranch and city
property rose to $1,831,709.00 and in 1983 shot up to
$6,277,563.00. It was estimated that the 1984 assessed
value of the Wasco County portion of the city and
ranch would be near $8,000,000.00.
The amount of
taxes paid on this property has increased accordingly.
Jefferson County has benefited in a simi'g fashion
from the portion of the ranch located there.
The State Approves Rajnees~ram

Again

The LUBA decision and LCDC's concurrence were


appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Arguments
were heard by a three-judge panel in January of I 984.
lncorporators' lawyers argued that the city and Wasco
County had complied with all land use laws and rules
which were in effect at the time of the incorporation. Furthermore, they said, LCDC had no authority
to make retroactive rules or to make goal amendments
in violation of their own goal amendment procedures.
I000 Friends, on the other hand, held that
Rajneeshpuram did nof legally exist because it had not
complied with the intent of land use laws, and neither
had the county. They contended that the LCDC rule
which guided the LUBA decision was not retroactive
b.ecau~g it was consistent with past LCDC interpretations.

puram request for a stay of enforcement on their


September ruling while the case was on appeal. The
refusal was based on LUBA's determination that the
incorporators had failed to sho~ irrevocable harm if
the ruling were allowed to stand. 7
That same month LUBA proceeded to apply the
September ruling to the legality of Rajneeshpuram's
annexation of 119 acres. They felt required to hold
that the city had lacked legal authority to annex in
August by virtue of LUBA's own decision which was
made one month later. Recall that LUBA had determined the city might not be legally incorporated
because it had not complied, in 1981, with the 1983
LCDC retroactive rule requiring the completion of an
"exceptions process".
1000 Friends and Wasco County argued that the
effect of the LUBA opinion should be to place
decisions as to the future development on the 119
acres under the jurisdiction
of Wasco County.
lncorporators' attorneys appealed the LUBA opinion on
the annexation because it had been based on LUBA's
earlier decision and on the LCDC retroactive rule,
both of which were bei~ challenged before the Court
of Appeals at the time.
Regardless of the appeal, however, the Wasco
County planner decided to take action the day after
LUBA released its opinion. He issued 26 notices of
violations of the county's zoning ordinances because he
interpreted the latest LUBA ruling to have returned
zoning control to his office. He also argued that the
State Building Codes Division of the State Department
of Commerce, through Wasco County, was now in
charge of inspection of buildings on the 119 acres.
Rajneeshpu ?m also appealed these actions and interpretations.

Meanwhile LUBA further complicated the intricate


judicial and administrative
situation.
They held
several hearings and, in February, refused a Rajneesh-

Meanwhile 1000 Friends was initiating actions of


its own.
In December the organization filed suit
against several state agencies for not moving fast
enough to invalidate the incorporation of Rajneesh-

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