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Netted gem potatoes, onions, summer lettuce and strawberries in Jefferson County

100 YEARS AGO

May 4, 1922

As has been the usual case in every matter of importance affecting the territories of Jefferson County, itself split by many factual differences stands facing the abandonment of the railroad between South Junction and Metolius, without any assistance to fight it, and with every adjacent section favoring the change.

In this issue of the Pioneer will be found the notification of the Oregon Trunk Railway Company of their intention of having a certificate issued them by the Interstate Commerce Commission declaring "that the present and future convenience and necessity permit the abandonment of operation of its railway," specifying that section above named.

Going into the history of the railroads up the Deschutes Canyon into Central Oregon it is readily seen that one of them never should have been built. Oregon, north of the Columbia River, east of the Cascade Mountains and west of the place where the S.P.&S. arrives at the Columbia from Spokane, has always been considered the "property" of the O.R.&N. That railroad company has developed the territories enclosed within these bounds, three of the prominent ones being those centering at Heppner, Shaniko, and Condon. The Big Plains district, beginning at the junction of Trout Creek, including Jefferson County and the territory south of that centering in the two towns of Prineville and Bend, were not opened up until the last, for reasons principally known to the railroad company. In 1909, Jas. J. Hill, the Empire Builder, began the construction of the Columbia River railroad bridge at Fallbridge and began securing right of way for the Oregon Trunk, as a S.P.& S. branch to Bend. Previous to that time every effort had been made by the settlers of this territory to induce the Harriman interests to build a branch here from the O-W Harriman had many times promised to do this, at one time making a personal promise to Geo. E. Chamberlain, then Governor of the state who had interested himself in the matter, that immediate construction would commence, but he and his associates continued to procrastinate.

Immediately, with the plans of James Hill becoming apparent, the O-W assembled construction crews and began building the Deschutes branch into Central Oregon. The construction fight which was waged up each bank of the Deschutes River is personal fact to the residents of this country and would furnish basis for many a frontier romance were it reduced to fiction. Enough to say of that Hill, in honest endeavor laid out and constructed his railroad to this territory. The O-W line was conceived and constructed in enmity and hatred of the great builder of western empires. The Oregon Trunk completed its rails and ran a train to Madras on Feb. 15, 1911, and one day later the O-W was completed to the depot atop the hill. After both lines had completed to Metolius, an agreement for the joint use of the track to Bend was agreed between them, the Oregon Trunk completing their line and the O-W withdrawing from that territory, several miles of railroad grade south of Metolius remaining today to testify to its sinful and useless waste of investment.

In this construction duplicate tracks, one on each side of the Deschutes River, were laid by the Oregon Trunk 95.4 miles from Fallbridge to North Junction and the O-W 101 miles from Sherman to North Junction. From the Columbia to North Junction these two parallel lines traverse a sparely settled and little developed country in which the business of the two railroads is not enough to support either. These two stretches of expensive construction are useless, one line would well serve and if the motives of the railroad companies were honest this is the section where they would perfect an agreement for abandonment.

Above South Junction, 10.4 miles south of North Junction the two roads split joining again at Metolius, 28.92 by Oregon Trunk track and 24.3 miles by the O-W, both bounding producing territory wherein the business of either line undoubtedly exceeds the combined business of the two over the long and expensive stretch between the Columbia and North Junction. The Oregon Trunk on the portion which the company wants to abandon serves the northern and western sections of the great Agency Plains, the Warm Springs Indian Agency and reservation, the stations of Mecca, Vanora, and Pelton and the city of Madras and the territory lying east and south of Madras. Out of this district the Oregon Trunk undoubtedly handles more freight tonnage and passenger traffic, of a nature that would be seriously imperiled if the line is abandoned, than it does over the long and expensive stretch north of this territory.

But this is the portion of their track that they have applied for permission to abandon. Why do they do this?

This will be continued in next week's Pioneer

75 YEARS AGO

May 2, 1946

Potatoes

Ben Davidson, Central Oregon federal-state inspector, stationed at Redmond, reported Wednesday that up to Tuesday Central Oregon's counties producing Netted Gem potatoes, Crook and Deschutes, had forwarded a total of 2505 cars for the 1945 crop. About 100 cars remain in storage, warehouses or cellars of growers, he reported.

The tonnage of last year is an all-time record for the district, Davidson said, and indications are that as many potatoes will be produced in Central Oregon this year. Davidson says that Crook and Deschutes counties, where growers have been increasing acreages, following announcement of the 15 cents per bushel increase in support prices, will have a little less acreage than a year ago, but that the new plantings of potatoes on irrigated lands of the Jefferson Water Conservancy district will bring the total of the Central Oregon volume to about the same as a year ago.

Davidson stated that 237 cars of potatoes were inspected during April, of which 219 were shipped. The remaining 18 inspected cars, all seed stock, will be forwarded soon to the outside as certified seed. Some may be regraded and sent to the commercial market and a portion may be sold as seed to local growers.

Davidson said the total shipments of the 1944 crop up to June 1, 1945, reached only 2,066 cars.

Onion Acreage Heavy

Davidson said Wednesday that onion production is reaching substantial proportions this season. While last year the entire Central Oregon district produced only six cars of Southport White Globes for dehydration, this year 150 acres of this variety has been planted for the dehydration market. A substantial lot of the Yellow Danvers variety has been planted for commercial market. An acreage of onions has been planted in the lands to be irrigated in the Culver district of this country.

Lettuce planted

Davidson said he expects to see a substantial acreage of summer head lettuce developed, following first experiments in Jefferson County this year.

Berry Potential

Davidson said that recent discussion of a commercial strawberry acreage in Jefferson County will not, he thinks, result in any heavy planting of berries for fruit purposes. He believes, however, that a profitable business may be developed here in production of certified strawberry plants. He cites that climate and soil will produce a virile plant, and the virginity of the district, in so far as berry culture is concerned, will enable growers to produce disease and insect-free plants without handicaps found in older berry districts. Davidson stated that at present there are only two large certified strawberry plant operations in Oregon, one at Alsea and the other at Mosier.

Davidson expressed the belief that Jefferson County's new irrigated acres may be the location of a substantial development of commercial cane berries. He says that raspberries, loganberries and other cane types should produce a quality of fruit in keen demand by freezers and canners.


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