3E Ranch History
The 3E Ranch is one of the original Pacific Livestock Company (PLS) ranches in Oregon. Originally known as the “Swamp Ranch,” it was part of a million-acre empire owned by Henry Miller and Charles Lux. PLS bought the land in the late 1870s and established first water rights on the central fork of the Malheur River in 1881; water diversions were created to irrigate and grow natural grass hay, and the same tradition continues today.
Many small homesteads were established on this land, as well as a working saw mill at “Milldale.” Evidence of these are found in old fruit orchards, cabin ruins, banks of yellow roses, and old cottonwood trees. An abundance of spring water and a beautiful location on the river made this valley a very desirable spot.
In recent history, George Riley owned this land for over 50 years and expanded the ranch to over 7,000 acres. After Mr. Riley’s death, a succession of owners reduced the size of the ranch over a 20-year period. In the 1980s, improved cattle treatment areas and hay storage buildings were built.
Today, the ranch is 8,600 acres, including three miles of river and the following wildlife: elk, deer, antelope, badger, coyote, rabbit, pheasant, quail, sage hen, cougar, black bear, and sand hill crane. John and Judy Ahmann bought the ranch in 1992, and they continue the tradition of raising cattle and hay started so many years ago by Henry Miller and the PLS.
This unique way of life has become more and more threatened with extinction due to ignorance and ill-advised government legislation. Come share the experience now, while you can still be part of the Old West.
The “Blue Bucket Inn” is the original ranch house, enlarged by George Riley in the 1950s. It is named for Blue Bucket Creek, which converges with the Malheur River just north of the ranch boundary. History tells us that children of the tragic Meek Party wagon train collected pretty gold rocks in a blue bucket while searching for water ... the source was never found!
Come join us where history and wildlife abound, along with pine-covered mesas, rim rocks, sage-covered hills, and brilliant green meadows along the river.