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Apr 10,2007
Former Rajneeshee site sold to youth ministry group
by Bend Weekly News Sources

Wasco County parcel on land formerly leased by Rajneeshees is sold to Young Life

Salem, Oregon – The State Land Board today approved the sale of a 480-acre parcel of state land in Wasco County for $153,475.88 to Young Life, a Christian youth ministry group.

The parcel has been under lease to the state since 1983, when followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh built sewer lagoons on land partially owned by the Department of State Lands (DSL).

Since occupying the former "Big Muddy" ranch in the Antelope area south of The Dalles, Young Life has leased the land from DSL, beginning in June 1998.

"We're pleased we were able to come to an agreement with Young Life on this parcel," said DSL Assistant Director for Land Management Steve Purchase. "Since this parcel is completely surrounded by land owned by Young Life, it makes sense for them to buy this acreage." The state will reserve the mineral rights to the property.

The Land Board authorized DSL to proceed with a direct sale to Young Life at the December 2005 public meeting. Since then, the department completed an appraisal of the land, and determined the fair market value for the property with the sewer lagoon improvements.

The State Land Board consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon's removal-fill law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.

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