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1922: Railroad Debate sparks statewide commentary and 1946: Old Culver hotel burns down

100 YEARS AGO

May 4, 1922

Continued from last week's Pioneer

The Pioneer believes that this request is made by the Oregon Trunk because of the reason that they do not longer desire to live up to the obligation which they owe to the settlers of the affected portion of the Agency Plains and the Warm Springs Indian Agency, because they do not desire to assist the farmers of the Agency Plains by standing their fair share of the cost of the Farmers Domestic Water District and because of influence brought to bear on them by interests which would see the defeat of the North Unit and the economic failure of Jefferson County and its northern parts. If the Oregon Trunk honestly seeks relief because "that present and future convenience and necessity" permit an abandonment, why do they not ask for permission to remove the more than ninety-five miles of expensively maintained track north of North Junction, where their revenues are good and where reasonable prospects of a fine business increase is probable?

Granting that the building of the two railroads up the Deschutes Canyon was a sinful waste of money and an economic mistake we claim that the railroad in the construction of their line via Mecca and Vanora caused the investment of much private capital and the commonwealth of Jefferson County to expend huge sums of the peoples money on building and improving roads and grades that the people effected could have better transportation to the stations of the Oregon Trunk along the Deschutes River in Jefferson County, and in so doing incurred a moral obligation which extends beyond them to the Interstate Commerce Commission of Oregon so far that those commissions have not the privilege of abetting the public service corporation in breaking their moral promises.

The Oregon Trunk Railroad has made its bed, though a corporation, it should be required, as is every honest individual, to lie in it.

In this fight the affected part of Jefferson County stands without an aid, with the one shining exception of the commercial club of the City of Metolius, which has filed protests against this nefarious abandonment and will stand with the territory in seeking justice.

Bend has taken her stand favorable to the Oregon Trunk and has through the Bend Commercial Club, instructed their vote in the State Chamber of Commerce to favor the scheme. This action was expected of Bend by this country and Bend ran true to form. With the Trunk abandonment assessable valuation of the western and northern part of the Agency Plains would be lowered, perhaps to the extent that the financing of the North Unit would be impossible, and the Bend Commercial Club put their heart and soul behind the move.

The Portland Oregonian in its Sunday edition carried the following misleading editorial:

"News is that agreement has been reached between the Union Pacific and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle railroads on terms for abandonment of parts of the Oregon Trunk and Deschutes railroads from Celilo to Bend and the operation of the remaining parts as a single line up the Deschutes Canyon and valley. This arrangement is decidedly a step of economy. Construction of two railroads on a route where there is barely enough traffic for one was an incident of the era of competitive railroad building, which is past. It caused waste of capital which would better have been used in building a second road through a section which had none. To continue operation of both roads would involve further waste.

The people of Oregon no longer nourish the delusion that they gain by operation of two railroads where there is room for only one or by the efforts of one to bankrupt the other. Waste is a loss to the people at large whether it is committed in the railroad or any other business, for they pay for it in the end. The people of Bend, Prineville, and other communities served by the two Deschutes lines realize this, for they realize that they will be better served by one line that pays its way than by two that are "in the red," and they approve the consolidation.

Under the transportation act the next move is for the two companies interested to apply to the interstate commerce commission for consent to the abandonment of the duplicate sections of line, for the union of the remainder and for their operation as a single continuous line. As there is no opposition from the territory traversed, as all interests affected are provided for in the agreement and as a higher efficiency will result there should be no delay in making application to the commission. When all consent, the commission should not be slow to grant permission to act.

The Oregonian is usually misleading regarding things in Central Oregon with the possible exception of things around the city of Bend. To give the big Portland paper credit for everything it is entitled to in the above editorial would be to say that the editorial was based on fact, the "fact" admitted would be found in the first paragraph. From the first paragraph to the finish the balance of the editorial deals nearly entirely in misrepresentation. Bend and Prineville are not served by "two Deschutes lines" and never have been any more than they intend to be after the short distance of track in Jefferson County is removed. In the last paragraph of the editorial the Oregonian states that there is no opposition from the territory affected. When the Oregonian states those things it misrepresents, either maliciously or through lack of knowledge. Protests have been filed by numerous organizations both at Salem and Washington and this fact has been carried in daily news dispatches. There is no excuse for a newspaper of the ability of the Oregonian not to know this. We believe it does and that its motive for the editorial came from other sources.

The Oregonian editorial has but one object, to mislead the public.

Jefferson County people face an important crisis. Will they forget petty personal and sectional differences of opinion for the fight which they will have to make in cooperation if this monstrous civic atrocity against them is successfully combatted? They will have to do it if they win.

75 YEARS AGO

May 9, 1946

The old Culver Hotel, a two-story frame structure, within 40 minutes after fire of an unknown origin was discovered in its interior Wednesday afternoon, was left a heap of smoking embers near The Dalles-California Highway eight miles south of here.

Mrs. Addie South, owner of the building, reported that she was alarmed by tenants running up and down the stairs. Opening the door of her room, she attempted to save personal belongings, which, she was forced to drop and flee for her life. Mrs. South, who says the loss is covered partially by insurance, stated that she has recently been offered $2,100 for the building.

The loss of Mrs. South's furniture and personal belongings of about 25 members of crews of the Conley Construction Co., engaged in surfacing a new short-cut stretch of The Dalles-California Highway between here and Redmond, was estimated at around $3,000.

Responding to a call for help, members of the Madras fire department rushed by automobile to the scene, where volunteer fighters from business houses and surrounding ranchers, manned hoses and prevented a spread of the flames to other buildings.

Loss of an undetermined amount was caused to lines of the Northwestern Telephone Co. of Redmond and the Pacific Power & Light Co.

Joe Helvey, café operator at Culver, here Wednesday afternoon, reported that he was able to save his furnishings, removing them from a rear apartment. He reported that a Model A Ford car, left parked beside the building, was destroyed.

M.R. Shurte, associate with J.N. and M.J. Conley of the construction company engaged in highway work, reported while in town today that the loss of equipment, materials and records suffered by the concern will reach around $4,000.

It was reported that Mrs. South lost an undetermined amount of currency, bonds and other securities, which were stored in a piano.


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