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Alfalfa, Oregon

Coordinates: 44°04′39″N 121°00′57″W / 44.0775°N 121.01583°W / 44.0775; -121.01583
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alfalfa is a rural unincorporated community[1] in Deschutes County, Oregon, United States, in the high desert 16 miles (26 km) east of Bend.[2] Alfalfa was named for the primary forage crop grown there under irrigation.[2] There is a store with gas pumps and a church as the only businesses or services; Alfalfa had a post office from 1912 until 1922.[2] The community serves a population of about 400 families living in the surrounding farms.[3]

Alfalfa's 80-day growing season limits the local farmers to growing grass and alfalfa, and because the crop yields are so low, the grass is considered somewhat more suitable for grazing livestock—most commonly cattle—than for haying.[3] The Alfalfa irrigation district was formed in the early 1900s, and many of the local houses date to that time.[3] The Central Oregon Canal passes through the community.[3][4]

Alfalfa is sixteen miles east of Bend, but has a Bend zip code. With potential zoning changes that came with the passage of Oregon's Measure 37 in 2004, the community's rural character appeared it may change from being primarily agricultural to residential,[5] but Measure 49 reversed nearly all of Measure 37, and today Alfalfa continues to be a primarily agricultural area.

Alfalfa Grade School was founded in 1911 and closed in 1987.[6][7] At the time the one-teacher, two-room school closed, it served 18 students in kindergarten through second grade.[7] Now, despite being closer to Bend, all public school students from Alfalfa attend school in Redmond.[5]

The hub of the community is the Alfalfa Store.[5] Alfalfa Grange is a historic grange hall, also known as the Alfalfa Community Hall.[8] Deschutes County considers the 1930 building a historic landmark.[9][10] The hall is the meeting location of the Alfalfa Community Church.[11]


  1. ^ "GNIS Detail - Alfalfa". geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.
  3. ^ a b c d Cole, Leslie; James Yuskavitch (2002) [1999]. Insiders' Guide to Bend & Central Oregon (2nd ed.). Globe Pequot Press. pp. 411–412. ISBN 0-7627-1057-8. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  4. ^ "Central Oregon Canal". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  5. ^ a b c Chu, Keith (October 26, 2006). "Change is in the wind for Alfalfa". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Monson, Stephanie (May 19, 1987). "Alfalfa School Loses Bid to Remain Open". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Monson, Stephanie (June 10, 1987). "School's Out in Alfalfa". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  8. ^ "Arts & Culture Directory of Central Oregon". Cascade Arts & Entertainment. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  9. ^ "Deschutes County Landmarks". Deschutes County, Oregon. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  10. ^ "Deschutes County Code, Chapter 23.108: Historic and Cultural". Deschutes County, Oregon. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  11. ^ "Churches in Central Oregon: Non-Denominational". High Desert Sun. Retrieved October 18, 2009.

44°04′39″N 121°00′57″W / 44.0775°N 121.01583°W / 44.0775; -121.01583