Shaniko Ghost Town, OR

Shaniko Ghost Town, Oregon


The throaty roar of hard-core Harleys broke the evening calm in Shaniko, OR, a high desert ghost town. Curious, I followed the pipes to twelve Gypsy Jokers slamming bikes, on by one, back into a rickety wooden boardwalk.


I asked the leader if I could take his picture. Ignoring me, he turned abruptly, throwing me into the hard stare of his 2nd in command, outfitted in a rough, leather, cut-sleeve jacket with prominent badge declaring ‘1%er.’ The group soon remounted, and headed south.


Hours later on the road home, my car radio said a drunk woman in a huge SUV crossed the center line, mowing down a dozen Jokers, killing the first four instantly with others LifeFlighted off the road. Haunting me still is the question, “Did he die that day?”

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Shaniko Ghost Town, Oregon

An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by its own fullness, not by its reception.
~Harold Loukes, [Quaker]

The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.
~Henry Miller

Shaniko Ghost Town, Oregon
Shaniko Ghost Town, Oregon


The town of Shaniko was no accident. It was planned before it was born...the brainchild of a group of bankers and businessmen in The Dalles. By 1900, many permanent buildings existed, including a hotel, a combination City Hall, Fire Hall and jail and other structures some of which still stand. The reason for the town was the enormous production of wool, Central Oregon being one huge sheep ranch in the 1900s. The only outlet for these thousands of bales of fleece was the The Dalles, OR. In 1898, ir to expedite the shipment of wool, a railroad was brought in from Biggs Junction on the Columbia River. Since a railroad could not be useful without a terminal, Shaniko was built for that express purpose. As the sheep industry diminished, so did the town.