Young Life school kids

Middle school students conduct tests of water in Currant Creek at the Young Life Washington Family Ranch.

A Redmond-based investment company is in a property dispute with Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch and another property owner for blocking the company’s access to its land near Antelope.

Ace High Investments LLC filed a complaint April 10 in Jefferson County Circuit Court against Young Life, a religious youth organization that owns the Washington Family Ranch, and adjacent property owner, Jay Olson. Young Life’s property was the site of the controversial Rajneeshee commune in the 1980s.

The company is asking the court for an easement to access its property, which “is 100% landlocked and surrounded by the Young Life property,” according to Ace High’s attorney Alan Stewart.

Property records show the company bought a 640-acre tract of farmland for $500,000 in 2017. But the only way to access the property is by traveling through Young Life’s property on an access road that has been used for 100 years, according to Stewart.

The entry point for the road is on Olson’s property and is restricted by a gate owned and controlled by Olson. His property is west of Young Life.

Without the road, the property has no value, Stewart said.

“The use of the access road is necessary to the plaintiff as it is the only means to reach the plaintiff’s property,” Stewart wrote in the court filing.

In February 2018, Young Life told Ace High that the company couldn’t use the road without written permission, according to the court filing. Then in April 2018 and again recently in March and April, Olson told Ace High the gate would remain locked.

Those actions “attempt to terminate,” Ace High’s only access to the property, Stewart wrote in the court filing.

Young Life has owned the Washington Family Ranch since 1999, after Montana billionaire Dennis Washington donated the property to the organization.

The ranch in Jefferson and Wasco counties was known as the Muddy Ranch before it was bought by the Rajneeshees for $5.75 million in 1981, according to the Oregon Historical Society.

After the Rajneeshees left the land, Dennis Washington’s company, Washington Construction, bought the ranch in 1991 for $3.65 million, according to the historical society.

Today, the ranch is used as a nondenominational Christian youth summer camp.

Reporter: 541-617-7820,

kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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