Fields is both a tiny town and an enormous community. The town “center” — so to speak — is Fields Station, a combination gas station, restaurant, liquor store, hotel, bar, and grocery store run by a single family. There are a few houses in the immediate vicinity, but the population within a mile of Fields Station is fewer than 25.
But people say they’re from Fields if they’re anywhere within about an hour from that center — and distances here are measured in hours, not miles. It’s two hours to Burns, two hours to Winnemucca, Nevada, and over four hours to Bend, Reno, or Boise. The community is a spread-out network of ranches and neighbors are often at least 10 miles away. But despite that distance, the people here are close to one another. As Fields rancher Ty Henricks puts it:
In this area, if you don’t have good neighbors, you don’t have anything.
Think Out Loud spoke with some of the residents of Fields on Friday November 22, 2013 at Fields Elementary School about life in rural southeast Oregon.
Have you been to — or through — Fields? What brought you there? What do you remember?
We’ve put together a companion website for the Our Town series. Head over there to check out our interactive map which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Fields.