Alpha Farm: 'There are only two rules: no guns, no hard drugs'

DEADWOOD, Ore. - Cross the creek onto this 280-acre spread between Eugene and Florence and it's like you've stepped into another world.

"There are only two rules: no guns, no hard drugs," said Caroline Estes, 86. She moved to Alpha Farm in 1971 from Philadelphia.

"You leave your house in the morning and go to the townspeople and meet for coffee," said Abigal Textor, 24, formerly of Tennessee. "It's like a little village."

"You are here to be away from Insania," said Anahata Vayin, 47, formerly of New York, "so lets create a magical place."

They live on Alpha Farm in Deadwood, Oregon - on your way to Florence from Eugene, blink and you'll miss the turn.

The people who live there come from all around the country.

There was something special about this place that made them want to stay.

"It's beautiful here. You have everything you need," said Mike Robinson, 39, from Indiana. "I mean, look around. This place is absolutely beautiful.

"I'd rather not cross the bridge if at all possible."

Estes and five friends came here in 1971 to get away from the outside world. She is the last of the original residents.

It's like a commune, but Estes prefers to call it an "intentional community" because people here plan to stay.

Over the years, Estes has heard a lot of speculation about life on Alpha Farm.

"They're a bunch of hippies. They're laid back, probably smoked up on dope all the time," she said. "I don't qualify as hippy. Never did."

Her lifelong mission has been to create a space of togetherness, something she accomplished in a myriad of ways - from consensus decision making to joint income.

"It all goes into a common pot," she said. "We pay all the bills out of one checkbook."

Alpha Farm residents deliver mail over 90 miles a day or work at Alpha Bit in Mapleton, selling crafts and coffee.

Together, Estes estimates they make about $8,000 each month.

It's all shared - from making dinner, doing the dishes, growing the garden or building a house from the ground up.

Estes is the only one left from the original five who started this place.

"The people that are coming to us now are coming from a different world than I came from," Estes said.

To visit Alpha Farm, contact the residents online.