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Two Years in Oregon By Wallis Nash Characters: 37455

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

The transportation question-?Its importance-?Present legal position-? Oregon Railway and Navigation Committee's general report-?That company -?Its ocean-going steamers-?Their traffic and earnings-?Its river-boats -?Their traffic and earnings-?Its railroads in existence-?Their traffic and earnings-?Its new railroads in construction and in prospect-?Their probable influence-?The Northern Pacific-?Terminus on Puget Sound-?Its prospects-?The East and West Side Railroads-?"Bearing" traffic and earnings-?How to get "control"-?Lands owned by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company-?Monopoly-?How threatened-?The narrow-gauge railroads -?Their terminus and working-?Efforts to consolidate monopoly-?The "blind pool"-?Resistance-?The Oregon Pacific-?Its causes, possessions, and prospects-?Land grant and its enemies-?The traffic of the valley-? Yaquina Bay-?Its improvement-?The farmers take it in hand-?Contrast and comparisons-?The two presidents-?Probable effects of competition -?Tactics in opposition-?The Yaquina improvements-?Description of works-?The prospects for competition and the farmers' gains.

From all that has gone before, the deduction is plain that on the solution of the transportation question in the interests of the fixed and industrious population of the State depends absolutely the growth and prosperity of Oregon. Nature has done her part.

The words of Messrs. George M. Pullman, of Chicago, and William Endicott, Jr., of Boston, in their report of August 1, 1880, to the stockholders of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, will be echoed by every man who is now or has been in Oregon with eyes to see. They wrote as follows:

"Our observations afforded, in the first place, ample confirmation of all we had previously heard and read of the propitious climate, great attractions of scenery, and wonderful agricultural resources of Western and Eastern Oregon, and Eastern Washington Territory. We believe that in these respects those regions are not surpassed, if equaled, by any other portion of the United States. It can, indeed, be safely said that nowhere else in this country do rich soil and mild climate combine to the same degree in insuring such extraordinary results of almost every agricultural pursuit as regards quantity, quality, and regularity of yield.... The striking evidence of past and present growth which we found everywhere, forced at the same time the irresistible conclusion upon us that we were beholding but the beginning of the sure and rapid progress in population, productiveness, and prosperity which will be witnessed in the immediate future within the vast stretch of country watered by the great river Columbia and its numerous tributaries."

The reader of this book will, I think, admit that the facts herein detailed go far to justify the conclusions summed up in these few but carefully chosen words.

How does this transportation question now stand, and what (if any) matters are in progress or contemplation to affect it?

In the first place, the companies are all free to manage their own business in their own way; they charge what they like, favor what persons and places they choose, and load on others burdens heavy to be borne.

I have before indicated what was the purpose of the bill introduced in the Legislature of 1880, to prevent discrimination by common carriers. "The Oregonian" commented on the loss of the measure in these terms: "We present to-day the report of the (hostile) Senate committee on this bill. The report shows why the proposed measure was both an unjust and an impracticable one. It should be apparent to every one that railways never can be operated in this way. The confusion and disorder would be endless; besides, every railroad which is undertaken and constructed as an actual business enterprise is entitled to make fair earnings. Instead of being annoyed by straw railroads got up for speculative purposes, it ought to have protection from such annoyance."

OREGON RAILWAY AND NAVIGATION CO.In further illustration of the working of the present system, I would instance the fact that from Corvallis to Portland for about a year the freight on wheat by the river steamboats of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company has been one dollar a ton, and of this fifty cents had to be paid for passing the locks at Oregon City; the rate immediately previous to this was three dollars and a half. This ridiculously low rate was put on in order to destroy the traffic of the East and West Side Railroads, and is in strong contrast with the rate from Corvallis to Junction City, some twenty miles up the river, where no such reasons existed, and which stood through this period at about tenfold the one-dollar rate.

No sooner did the President of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company think he had secured "control" of the two railroads, than steps were prepared to quadruple the previous rate. The question of "control" stood adjourned, and the one-dollar rate was confirmed. But, having seen reason to think his acquisition secure, the rates from Portland to Corvallis (ninety-seven miles by railroad), both by railroads and steamboats, have just now (April, 1881) been raised to six dollars per ton-a rate equal to that charged in the infancy of the business, twenty years ago.

The lion's share of the carrying business of the State is in the hands of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and with them are closely identified the hopes of the city of Portland. This company owns two of the steamers plying between Portland and San Francisco-the Oregon and the Columbia. With these two steamers, or with the George W. Elder as the predecessor of the Columbia, they carried from the 1st of July, 1879, to the 30th of June, 1880, 17,333 passengers, and 101,661 tons of freight. The gross receipts were $636,888; the net profits, $286,459. As we know from the published circular of Mr. Villard, the president, that the cost of the Columbia was $400,000, and the Oregon is a smaller and decidedly less expensive ship, the proportion of net earnings of the vessels in question to their total cost will be seen to be about enough to pay ten per cent. per annum on their cost, and to buy the vessels out and out in three years and a half. The fare from Portland to San Francisco, even while these earnings were being made, stood at twenty dollars the first-class passenger. News has just arrived that these fares are to be raised to thirty dollars a head. If the same rate of expense is maintained as during last year, the earnings at the higher figure now put on will be increased by about $100,000, and enough will be realized to pay for the fleet in about two years and a half.

With twenty-five steamboats (stern-wheelers) navigating the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, and twelve barges and two scows (several of the boats being old, and laid up in ordinary much of the time, reducing thus materially the fleet in real service), the company earned $1,992,836 gross, and $1,101,766 net profit. If $50,000 is deducted for the earnings of the barges, it will be seen that the average net earnings of the twenty-five river-steamers are positively $44,070 each. The fleet could be replaced for less than the sum of the net profit of one year. Like Oliver, "asking for more," they are positively raising these freights also!

RAILROAD ALONG THE COLUMBIA.The railroad possessions of the company for the year in question consisted of but forty-eight miles, and of these the line from Walla Walla to Wallula on the upper Columbia, a distance of about thirty miles, was the longest; the other two being short strips of portage railroad round the Cascades or rapids on the Columbia. The passengers carried were 12,588; the tons of freight, 72,149; and the net profits, $269,004, or $5,604 a mile.

The company is engaged in constructing a line of railroad along the south bank of the Columbia; the portion from Celilo (the upper end of the rapids, at the lower end of which the town of the Dalles is situated) to Wallula, just over the Washington Territory border, a distance of one hundred and fifteen miles, is just completed. The line is being extended to the city of Portland, the works between the Dalles and the western end of the pass through the Cascade Mountains being of the most severe and expensive character. At least two tunnels and mile after mile of blasting and cutting through solid rock, where the mountains tower perpendicular above, would inspire dismay in the soul of any ordinary railroad-man.

But the word has gone forth that the road has to follow what is facetiously called the pass of the Columbia through the Cascades, and doubtless it will be done. Several thousand Chinamen are at work; steam-drills are busy perforating the rocks; scows have to be moored alongside in the river (there not being even room for the track between mountain and water), while the perpendicular faces of the cliffs are being tormented and torn. And thus about seventy miles of construction of this nature have to be got through. When completed, of course, the result will be at once to transfer nearly all of as many of the 117,000 passengers as traveled in the company's boats on the Columbia, to the cars; and a vast quantity of the freight must follow the same route.

Columbia, above the Lower Cascade.

But another factor is intended shortly to come into play. The Northern Pacific Railroad is vigorously at work, and in a year or two will compete with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company for the Washington Territory and extreme Eastern Oregon trade. The passengers and freight intrusted to the Northern Pacific line will be carried from Wallula, the Columbia River point above referred to, to Tacoma, on Puget Sound. By this route a saving of one hundred and fifty-one miles in actual distance will be effected, and the traffic will reach the deep and still waters of Puget Sound, far away from the troubles and stickings of the Willamette and Columbia mouths, and the delays, dangers, and expenses of the Columbia bar. It is true that before this result is gained the line must cross the Cascade Mountains, but it is well known that a pass at less than thirty-four hundred feet exists, and the engineers have no doubt whatever that this piece of road will keep pace with the rest to the port.

HOW TO GET "CONTROL."Mark now another feature in the case. The East and West Side Railroads on either side of the Willamette River compete with the boats of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company for the trade of the Willamette Valley. The railroads naturally divert the passenger traffic almost entirely, and carry a large quantity of freight. They would carry more and earn a fair profit for their owners, the German and English bondholders, but, instead of a fair competition, the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, as I have said, put down the freights from Corvallis downward to Portland on grain to one dollar per ton-of course, an impossible rate for either river or railroad to profit by.

Why is this? Because what Mr. Villard calls the "control" of these railroads is vitally necessary to the future continuance of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's stocks in their exalted dividends and consequent enormous market value. Therefore, it is sought now to destroy the earning powers of these railroads, to force the owners into succumbing to the "policy of control."

One more step. The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company owns practically no land-that is to say, it is interested speculatively in the rise of value in property in Portland by having invested a large sum (I believe $199,000) in the purchase of 484 acres of land in and near the city. But, outside this and its railroad-track, the company owns altogether about 3,055 acres of land in scattered pieces, only about 850 acres of which lie in Oregon; the rest in Washington Territory, and a bit or two in Idaho. We will not omit to mention its wharves at the various stopping-places of the boats, as they represent the expenditure of a considerable sum. Once again: if anything at all is clear, it is that the inflated value of this company's securities depends solely on the continuance of their monopoly. I have shown that on the Columbia River this is threatened by the Northern Pacific, and also by themselves in effect, by the substitution of the costly railroad line for the inexpensive boats, and the consequent devotion of both investments, namely, that in the boats and that in the railroad, to the same traffic, which the competition of the Northern Pacific is certain to reduce in gross volume.

Now turn to the Willamette Valley traffic, and scrutinize the position there. Not only is there the existing competition of the railroads, which is fatal, so long as it is genuine, to the earning of large profits from the north and south traffic of the valley, both in passengers and goods, but here come in two competitors more.

The Scotch narrow-gauge system also centers everything in Portland, and has succeeded, after a hard fight with the city authorities, in securing a large tract of land for depot or terminal purposes. It had the audacity to claim a right of way right through the tract purchased by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and, under the law of eminent domain as it exists in Oregon, it would have got it, ay, and used it, too, with but scant regard for the feelings of the high and mighty corporation which had marked it for their own. But a working arrangement was with much difficulty made, by which the Scotch line runs, free of charge, alongside the other, right through its land, to the terminus of the narrow-gauge.

This Scotch line has put boats on the Willamette also. They ply between Ray's Landing, about seventeen miles up the Willamette, and Portland. The narrow-gauge also has an East-side and a West-side line through the Willamette Valley. The East-side line runs north and south a short distance from the foothills of the Cascades, and has now got as far as Brownsville, about one hundred and twenty miles from Portland. Their West-side line runs through the rich farming country in Polk County by Dallas to Sheridan, and a junction with the Western Oregon broad-gauge near by. This is also an ambitious company, who are pushing surveys across the Cascade Range.

The narrow-gauge system is yet by no means complete, but, when it is, it will become at once a very dangerous rival both to the East and West Side roads, and also to the boats of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company on the Willamette.

So seriously did Mr. Villard feel the impending danger that it is no secret in Oregon that a confidential agent was dispatched by him to Scotland, to endeavor to put the Scotch investors out of conceit with their property, and, failing that, he attempted to secure some of their stock, so as to gain a footing inside their camp. But there also he failed.

THE "BLIND POOL."Shortly before these pages were written, occurred the episode of what is known in financial circles in America as "the blind pool." Mr. Villard caused it to be known among his circle of followers that he desired the use of eight million dollars. According to statements made on his authority, he not only secured it, but in all fifteen millions were offered him. Quietly and secretly he used the eight millions in buying up stock of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the New York market, nor did he show his hand until he had thus secured twenty-seven millions par value of the stock of that road. When his great gun was thus loaded, he discharged it full at the head of Mr. Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific, and those directors who had loyally co?perated with him in the reorganization of the company and the redemption of its securities from the chaos into which they had fallen following the Jay Cooke failure. And the invader boldly claimed that he had secured the "control" of that company too, and proposed to oust the president, to install a representative of the "blind pool."

But an unexpected check was met. It seems that part of the reconstituted stock of the company, amounting to eighteen million dollars, was as yet in the treasury of the company, but was the property of divers persons who had co?perated in or assented to the reconstruction. This being issued, as Mr. Billings and his friends claim, in fulfillment of engagements long since entered into, displaced the center of gravity, and caused it to incline heavily toward the Billings section. A vociferous outcry was of course heard; the courts were appealed to; and the result of what promises to be a long and costly litigation remains to be seen.

Even without the entrance on the field of the new forces I am about to describe, the position of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company appears to be a very perilous one.

Under the chieftainship of Mr. Villard, who was no novice at the art of playing with railroad companies as counters in the game of "beggar-my-neighbor," a vast amount of Eastern capital was taken up by the aid of the enormous profits earned by the previously existing Oregon Steamship and Oregon Steam Navigation Company. Then followed naturally an era of really delusive prosperity, while the expenditure of this capital in substituting the new lamps of costly railroads for the magical old lamps of stern-wheel steamboats was going on.

But, in order to secure this capital, it was necessary to publish to the world the enormous profits the earlier companies were making. The effects were twofold and immediate. One was to open the eyes of the farmers of Oregon to the fact that they were paying for the transport to market of their crops sums utterly disproportionate to the cost and risk of the services rendered. And thus it was certain that ere long measures would be taken in the Legislature of Oregon, similar in purport to those adopted in other States, to check and curb the power of discrimination, which was the engine used to force the traffic on to the boats and trains of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. The measure to that end introduced in the session of the Legislature of 1880 was, it is true, defeated by the strenuous efforts of the company, aided by their Portland friends. But that success was dearly bought, and the process was so patent as to awaken the farmers, with whom the real power dwells, in a fashion that will soon be felt.

YAQUINA BAY.The other result, equally inevitable, was to call into active life plans, long in preparation, for constructing an east and west line across the State, relying on Yaquina Bay as the outport, and on the trade of the Willamette Val

ley as the mainstay of the road.

But the enterprise had other features to recommend it. The Willamette Valley and Coast Railroad Company had been originated four or five years back by the farmers of the valley to construct a railroad between Corvallis and Yaquina Bay. It had obtained a charter from the Legislature giving it authority to extend its line across the State to the eastern boundary, at a point directly en route to Boisé City, Idaho.

This had been long ago marked out as the probable limit where connection either with a branch from the Union Pacific Railroad, or with some other road pushing westward to the ocean, might be made.

The Willamette Valley and Coast Railroad received in its charter from the State immunity from taxation for twenty years, and also a grant of all the rich tide and overflowed lands in Benton County, amounting to probably upward of one hundred thousand acres.

Not content with this, the framer of this scheme had obtained the right of purchase, on the basis of value of land in Eastern Oregon ten years ago, of the grant of lands in aid of the construction of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountains Military Wagon-road, amounting to eight hundred and fifty thousand acres. A sketch of the history of this road has been given before in these pages, and of the character of the country through which it runs.

The vital force of the Oregon Pacific Company, which was formed and brought before the world in the autumn of 1880 to complete and operate the Willamette Valley and Coast Railroad, lay in the advantage of position in its central line, cutting Oregon in half, and thereby attracting traffic to it from both sides, and also in the solid backing of about nine hundred and fifty thousand acres of land, stretching across the State from east to west, and which was certain to rise four-fold at least in value by the construction of the railroad through it.

The first hundred and thirty miles of the road pass through Benton and Linn Counties, which together produce about one half, and, with the adjoining counties of Polk and Marion on the north and the county of Lane on the south, fully three quarters of the wheat-crop of Oregon.

It was estimated by a committee formed in these counties, who investigated the subject thoroughly, that not less than one hundred and eighty thousand tons of grain, and other freight to the amount of fifty thousand tons or more, would seek an outlet over this road, from these valley counties, on the basis of the crop of 1878. The subsequent increase in acreage under crops would give not less than three hundred thousand acres instead of two hundred and fifty thousand, at a very moderate estimate. The inward freight may be taken at one half of the outward bound, thus giving four hundred and fourteen thousand tons which the new road would be called on to transport.

These figures raised the ire of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and of some of its Portland friends, and their abuse called forth a reinvestigation of the whole subject, which resulted in thorough confirmation of the estimates.

OREGON PACIFIC RAILROAD.The Oregon Pacific proposed, as soon as open for business, to lower the seven dollars a ton, the previous average charge of the other company on valley freight to San Francisco, to three dollars and a half, and the twenty-four dollars for first-class passengers and fourteen dollars for emigrant passengers to one half of those figures. And it showed a very large probable dividend on its capital, on those reduced figures. The reasonableness of this will be seen by reference to the enormous earnings of the other company.

The whole question turned, of course, on the practicability of so improving the entrance to Yaquina Bay that heavy-laden ships of deep draught could enter to deliver and receive cargo.

The valley farmers and traders, to the number of thirty-four hundred, petitioned Congress to appropriate $240,000 for these works. Strenuous efforts in support of this petition at Washington, in the session of 1880, sufficed to overcome the opposition of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and the prayer was granted in principle, but only in extent to $40,000, after the fashion in such cases.

But the careful surveys and investigations of the United States engineers, which were at once undertaken, justified the hopes of the people and of those interested in the railroad, and very early in 1881 the works for the improvement were begun.

Application was made to Congress in the winter session of 1880-'81 to appropriate $200,000 more for the works; but only $10,000 were granted, although the Legislature of Oregon had, in their session of 1880, by formal resolution, unanimously supported the application for $200,000.

But the farmers of the valley counties were at last roused to vigorous action, and, under the presidency of the Linn County Grange and its officers, are raising a large fund by subscription, to continue without interruption the harbor-works until additional appropriations are made by Congress. The subscription will not only serve to keep the harbor-works in vigorous progress, but demonstrates the subscribers' conviction of the success of the efforts made for the completion of the Oregon Pacific Railroad, and their active and personal interest in such success.

PROBABLE EFFECTS OF COMPETITION.And now the full force of the figures given in the last chapter is seen. So far as the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company depends on Oregon for its support, it must come from counties the population of which is but 28,180, and the value of their taxable property, in 1880, only $6,256,547; the proportion of property for each inhabitant being $228.96, or nearly twenty per cent. below the average for the State.

The Oregon Pacific will draw its present support from the valley counties, with a population of 83,549, and taxable property of $23,735,262, each about four-fold greater. Their average property is $282.68 per head, or about two per cent. above the rate for the whole State.

If it be argued that the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company bases its hopes for maintaining its high dividends on its enlarged capital; on the development of Eastern Oregon in population and productions, which is in rapid progress-I reply that the same considerations apply with vastly increased force to the district served by the Oregon Pacific. The latter relies not only on the fertile lands on the western side of the Cascades, unequaled in the whole United States for attractiveness to immigrants of the better class, but it also asserts its undoubted claim to profit from the settlement of the broad stretch of country, also in Eastern Oregon, through which its line runs in its eastward course.

If stress is laid on the advantage of the established position of Portland for the headquarters of the one road, the scale kicks the beam when the one hundred and ten miles of towage and pilotage, the probable delays in the rivers, the certain dangers and difficulties of the Columbia bar, are weighed against the saving of two hundred and twenty-one miles in actual distance, and the short course of but three miles from the ocean to the wharves at Yaquina.

TACTICS IN OPPOSITION.If Mr. Villard has displayed his cleverness in laying hold of established profits and turning them to the enormous gain of himself and of those friends of his who have followed his lead, I can here do but partial justice to the foresight and energy of Colonel T. Egenton Hogg, whose clear judgment realized the necessity and the many advantages of the Yaquina route ten years ago, who has fought through unnumbered difficulties and a bitter and envenomed opposition toward its attainment, and who has secured in so doing the hearty support of the backbone and sinew of Oregon life, which trust to the Oregon Pacific to set free the commerce of the State.

Let it not be supposed that the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company is foredoomed to failure, or to immediately explode and go out like a rocket. According to my ideas, it may have a moderately prosperous future, bringing down to Portland a certain quantity of freight and passengers from the upper country, and an increasing quantity as that country develops. But to suppose that on its enlarged capital it will be allowed to go on earning dividends at the same preposterous rate as heretofore its boats have made for it, is to insult the common-sense alike of the Oregon farmer and of the capitalist looking now more eagerly than ever for profitable and safe investment.

One other point deserves attention. The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company owns practically no land (except its building-land speculation in Portland); therefore, when these competing lines come into play, and traffic rates are consequently reduced over all the State, its dividend-producing power is gone.

The other lines can follow it down and down in any war of rates so far as the Oregon Railway and Navigation lines see fit to venture. Such tactics would be absolute madness in California, as by its new Constitution rates once lowered can not be raised again. But suppose the war of rates is begun in Oregon. The Northern Pacific, when completed according to law, will save one hundred and fifty-one miles in distance, and deliver freight and passengers at deep water on Puget Sound. The narrow-gauge roads and boats together can carry more cheaply than the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. The valley standard-gauge railroads and the Oregon Pacific share with the Northern Pacific this tremendous advantage, that every dollar they lose on transportation is only invested at enormous profit in the rise and value of their lands. It is the cost of transportation that keeps down value on their lands; lower this, and land rises at once.

Nor is it to be supposed for an instant that the same tactics by which it has been attempted to prevent, hamper, or delay the building of the Oregon Pacific Railroad will long succeed.

Shortly after the prospectus of that railroad was issued, there appeared in "The Oregonian," of Portland, three columns of abuse over the signature of "Examiner." The writer described himself as a citizen of Oregon, anxious to avoid delusion and disaster to the Eastern public.

The whole was telegraphed or mailed long in advance back to New York, and appeared in a garbled and still more contemptible form as a circular, professing to be reprinted from "The Oregonian," as if from the editor's chair of that paper. New York was flooded with the copies. Fortunately, it was easy enough to repel the attack, since the chief points were that the Eastern Oregon lands were worthless, and the statements of the Willamette Valley trade exaggerated. And on both points ample, even overwhelming, evidence was at hand.

THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS ROAD.Then, by what hidden influences it is of course impossible to say, the Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Schurz, was set in motion on the allegation that the Cascade Mountains road had never been made, and that consequently the United States had been imposed upon fourteen years ago when Congress granted the lands to the State of Oregon, and that State defrauded in turn ten years ago when, on certificates of due completion satisfactory to the then officials of the State, the lands were duly confirmed to the wagon-road company.

Thereupon, without inquiry as to the facts from the State officials of Oregon, or from the road company or their representatives, who had all the evidence in their possession-without one word of notice to any of the parties concerned-a man named Prosser, then residing at Seattle, and occupied in repressing unwarranted timber-cutting on Government lands in that neighborhood, was dispatched to professedly examine into the condition of things. His journey; the narrative of his duplicity; of his inducing the president of the road company, in the innocence of his heart, to fit him out and to lend him all the money for his expenses; of his return and interviews with the citizens of Albany; of his subsequent report that no road existed where upward of five thousand wagons and innumerable droves of cattle and of passengers on foot and horseback had passed without accident for ten years; of his allegations of the trivial cost of the works, met by the evidence of the outlay of about $100,000 on the construction and repairs of the road; of the storm of indignation which swept through Linn County, and found expression wherever the facts were known-all these things form an amusing chapter in the history of this transaction.

The Congressional committee, to whom the matter was referred, reported, as might be expected, that Congress had no jurisdiction; that, so far as they could see, the present owners, being innocent purchasers, had good title to the lands; and that, if there were to be any attempt made to disturb them, it must be a judicial and not a legislative matter.

Meanwhile an action of ejectment had been brought by the purchasers from the road company of the land grant, in the United States District Court at Portland, against a squatter on the land, whose letters of old date to the Commissioner of the Land-Office had been made the pretext for the course taken by the Secretary of the Interior. Every opportunity was given for raising in court the question of no road; but the defendant dared not accept the challenge, and Judge Deady rendered judgment for the owners of the land grant, and so settled the question for good and all, so far as I can see. His judgment was masterly and exhaustive, and I should think would convince any candid mind.

Thus ends this act in the drama, with the position of the Oregon Pacific confirmed at every point, and the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company with a very pretty quarrel on their hands with the Northern Pacific, and an impending competition, at which the farmers of the State rejoice.

And so the transportation question in Oregon is in a fair way to be settled in a manner consonant with justice and honesty, so that produce will be charged only what is commensurate in fair measure with the cost and risk of the service rendered, and not in the opposite direction of what the producer can bear.

THE YAQUINA IMPROVEMENTS.Before I close this subject, let me describe very shortly the principle and method of the harbor improvement at Yaquina.

The problem is this: In the harbor is a sheet of tidal water running up more than twenty miles inland, and in the bay or harbor proper expanding into a width of about three miles. To the tidal water has to be added that brought down by the Yaquina River and its tributaries in a course of fifty miles or thereabout. The deep-water channel to the ocean through which this inflow and outflow are repeated twice every twenty-four hours is deep and narrow, and the current very swift. Thus, this channel of a quarter of a mile wide between the headlands on either side of the mouth does not vary appreciably in width or depth, and requires no attention.

Just where the mouth opens to the ocean is the reef, of soft sandstone rock, rising in intervals of separate rocks to within ten or eleven feet of low-water mark-that is to say, each of the three channels through the reef, north, middle, and south, gives this depth of water. But here the water, which has kept clear and deep the channel of a quarter of a mile wide or thereabout, expands to a width of about two miles. Consequently, the current is not sufficiently strong in any one of the three channels to prevent the piling of the sand against the rock outside and in, in a gentle rise from the forty-feet depth outside to the height of the rocky reef, and similarly from the thirty feet inside the reef.

The engineers propose, by a jetty from the south beach to a group of rocks forming the south side of the middle channel, to extend the narrow deep channel inside, and the consequent force of concentrated tidal and river water, up to the rocky reef itself. They judge that the tidal force is ample to scour away clean all the sand deposited both in and outside the reef. They propose, then, to blast away the rock itself from the middle channel, which, as the obstruction is both soft and narrow, will be neither a difficult nor costly operation, and they intend thus to open to the commerce of the world the calm and deep waters of the harbor, which will suffice to receive all the fleet of vessels trading to this coast.

The construction of the jetty is proceeding rapidly by means of large mattresses of brushwood sunk in the destined position, loaded with rock and attracting and retaining the sand, and covered in, when the needed breadth and height are gained, with larger rocks brought down from a quarry of hard stone about eight miles up the harbor.

No one who, like the present writer, has often tried to stem the tidal current sweeping out to sea, can doubt the force and velocity it will bring to bear; and no one familiar with Yaquina doubts the anticipated success of the improvement. Once gained, it will be permanent, and then half an hour will suffice to tug the arriving vessel from the deep waters of the Pacific to her station alongside her wharf, and the same time will dispatch her, fully loaded, on her voyage.

To sum up this matter: At present a very large portion of the profits of farming and of other industries in Oregon goes into the pockets of the transportation company. The rates of freight bear no proportion to the benefits obtained, but are fixed simply on the principle of sitting down to pencil out a list to see how much the farmers can possibly pay. If this state of things were to be indefinitely perpetuated, the outlook would be dreary. That a radical change is impending is to me clear. The country is too rich in productive powers, the citizens are too fully awake to the needs of their position, the knowledge of what Oregon is and what she wants is too widely spread, and the president of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company has trumpeted forth the enormous profits of his corporation too loudly, for the failure of the efforts now in progress to introduce competition in the carrying-trade. So that I, for one, am at rest as to the result. Oregon will take her own part in the general movement, now current throughout the United States, to regulate, if not to curtail, the powers of the corporations.

But I have confidence in the steady and peaceful character of her population not to carry this matter here to extremes, which might unduly burden associated capital, and check the flow of its full current to our State.

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