Prineville is a city in and the seat of Crook County, Oregon, United States. It was named for the first merchant located in the present location, Barney Prine. The population was 9,253 at the 2010 census.
Prineville was founded in 1877 when Monroe Hodges filed the original plat for the city. The post office for the community had been established with the name of Prine on April 13, 1871, but changed to Prineville on December 23, 1872. The city was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on October 23, 1880, and obtained its first high school in 1902.
Long the major town in central Oregon, Prineville was snubbed in 1911 when the railroad tycoons James J. Hill and Edward H. Harriman bypassed the city as they laid track south from The Dalles. In a period when the presence of a railroad meant the difference between prosperity and the eventual fate as a ghost town, in a 1917 election, Prineville residents voted 355 to 1 to build their own railway, and raised the money to connect their town to the main line 19 miles (31 km) away.
Helped by timber harvests from the nearby Ochoco National Forest, the City of Prineville Railroad prospered for decades. The profits from the railroad were so abundant that between 1964 and 1968, the city levied no property taxes. However, with the decline of the timber industry in Oregon, the railroad reported a loss of nearly $1 million between 2002–04 .