Antelope is a city in Wasco County, Oregon, United States. It was briefly named Rajneesh in the mid-1980s when followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh moved into the city from nearby Rajneeshpuram and voted for the name change. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 46.
Antelope Valley was probably named by members of Joseph Sherar's party who were packing supplies to mines in the John Day area. Sherar became known as the operator of a toll bridge across the Deschutes River, on a cut-off of the Barlow Road. There were many pronghorns (often called pronghorn antelope) in the area in the early 19th century.
In the mid-19th century, Antelope was along the wagon road connecting The Dalles on the Columbia River with gold mines near Canyon City. After about 1870, the wagon road became known as The Dalles Military Road. The road crossed the Deschutes River on Sherar's Bridge.
Antelope post office was established in 1871, with Howard Maupin, founder of Maupin, Oregon, as the first postmaster. The town's population peaked around 1900, shortly after the Columbia Southern Railway completed a rail line from Biggs, on the Columbia River, to Shaniko, a few miles north of Antelope. The railroad timetable for September 9, 1900, lists a daily stagecoach run from the train terminal in Shaniko to Antelope and beyond. Antelope was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on January 29, 1901.
In the 1980s the town grew again when followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who had started the city of Rajneeshpuram on the nearby "Big Muddy Ranch", began to move in. Rajneeshpuram was an intentional community (or commune) of Rajneeshees. On September 18, 1984, Antelope's charter was amended by a vote of 57 to 22 to change the name of the city to Rajneesh. In November, Rajneesh, who had originally pleaded innocent to charges of immigration fraud, changed his plea to guilty and was allowed to leave the United States under the terms of a plea bargain.
On November 6, 1985, the remaining residents, both original and Rajneeshee, voted 34 to 0 to restore the original name, which was never changed by the Postal Service but had been changed and was subsequently restored by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The ranch, from Antelope, is now owned by Young Life and has been converted into a camp known as "Washington Family Ranch."