Governor George E. Chamberlain's Administration
Governor's Message, 1907
Source: Oregon Messages and Documents, 1907, Governor's Regular Session Message, Salem, Oregon, J.R. Whitney, State Printer, 1906.
[Editor's note: Budget table not included]
Message Of George E Chamberlain Governor of Oregon, To the Twenty-Fourth Legislative Assembly 1907
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:
My fellow citizens of this great and growing commonwealth at the last general election honored my far beyond my deserts by electing me for a second time their Chief Executive. I can not express in words my high appreciation of this great honor, but I can and do promise then through you, their chosen representatives, that with the help of Almighty God, who controls the destinies of all the nations of earth, I will in the future as in the past remain faithful to every trust confided to my care and keeping. I crave, as I believe I shall receive, at your hands, that courteous consideration which has at all times been accorded to me by this distinguished body, and in return I give you the assurance of the best efforts of my life to assist you in making the work of this session an epoch-making period in the history of our State.
Under the provisions of the Constitution, it becomes my duty to inform you with reference to the finances and affairs of the State, to advise you as to the conditions of the several departments and institutions thereof, and to recommend for your consideration such measures as shall seem most conducive to its welfare and development.
ELECTION OF A SENATOR
The provisions of the direct primary nominating law, with respect to the election of a United States senator should be carried out in letter and in spirit. At the last primary election Mr. Frederick W. Mulkey received the nomination of the Republican party for Senator for the short term, and Mr. Jonathan Bourne for the long term, while Mr. John M Gearin received the nomination of the Democratic party. At the election held late, Mr. Mulkey received the highest number of the votes cast for the short term and Mr. Bourne for the long term, whilst a majority of the members elect (Democratic and Republican) of the Legislature pledged themselves to vote for the choice of the people for Senator. But whether they did or not, the people have expressed their choice for the important office, and their wishes should be respected and obeyed, and the gentlemen who have been nominated by the people ought to be elected unanimously, for the short and the long term respectively. I suggest that this be done as soon as the legislature is organized, so that the work of the session may proceed, and the time which has heretofore been devoted to this purpose may be given to legislation vitally affecting the welfare of the State.
REPORTS OF STATE OFFICERS, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS
Reports have been made by all state officers, boards and commissions. These are printed and will be placed before you. I have examined them all, and they are replete with statistical and other information of value. They contain recommendations as to the needs of the several departments over which they preside, and most of them ask for appropriations for the ensuring two years.
I respectfully ask for them all your courteous and careful consideration.
The several State institutions are in excellent condition and it is hoped that every member of the legislature will visit them all. The superintendents of the Asylum, Penitentiary, Reform School, Blind School, and Deaf Mute School have prepared reports showing in detail the population, condition and cost of each institution. These reports are printed, and to each is appended a report of the trustees, and your attention is particularly called to them and to the recommendations made therein. I deem it unnecessary to do more than call attention to these reports, and to say that each of these institutions is splendidly officered by capable and conscientious public servants, and to them as well as to a faithful and efficient corps of subordinate employees the State is indebted for an economical and intelligent administration of its affairs.
The financial condition of the State was never better in its history than now, there being no indebtedness of any kind outstanding against it. I respectfully refer you to the reports of the Secretary of State and State Treasurer, both of which are full, and contain information in detail as to all the financial transactions of the state for the two fiscal years just ended.
As rapidly as conditions will admit, there ought to be a complete divorcement between the system of taxation for State and that for county and municipal purposes. This policy is being adopted in other states, and will doubtless be adopted here as the State advances in population and wealth.
As showing the trend of Oregon legislation to accomplish the results herein suggested, permit me to call your attention to the following comparative statement of revenue and receipts applicable to the payment of the ordinary expenses of the state government form 1899 to 1906, both inclusive:
Revenues and receipts applicable to the payment of the ordinary expenses of the State government.
[Editor's note: see table at bottom of page]
An examination of this statement shows that in 1899 all of the money for defraying the expenses of State government was collected from the various counties on apportionment of taxes, except $15,828.93 derived from other sources than direct tax, whilst I n1906 the amount received from indirect sources had increased $267,847.96, the largest item of this increase being from corporations, fees and licenses. This amount will probably be still further increased by the laws adopted at the last election providing for a license upon the gross earnings of sleeping car, express, telegraph and other companies, and if the suggestion which is made elsewhere in this message is adopted with reference to an amendment of the inheritance tax law, taxes derived from this source would be very largely increased.
The burden of taxation has in the past fallen in the main upon real property, whilst personal property of every kind, public service and other corporations have not contributed their just proportion to the burdens of government, and laws ought to be enacted that will reach all of this class of property which now practically escapes taxation.
The inheritance tax law was passed in 1903, and since that time up to and including the 30th day of September, 1906, there has been paid into the State treasury from this source $45,108.54. The law should be amended so as to increase the revenue derived therefrom. The tax should be graduated and increased as the inheritance increases, applying the same rule to lineal as to collateral kindred. Under the present statute where the inheritance passes to the father, mother, husband, wife, child, brother, sister, wife of a son, or the husband of a daughter, or any child or children adopted in conformity with law, or to any person to whom the decedent for not less than ten years prior to death stood in the acknowledge relation of a parent, or to any lineal descendant born in lawful wedlock, in every such case the tax is computer at the rate of one per centum upon the appraised value thereof received by each person, provided that any estate which may be valued at a less sum than $10,000 shall not be subject to any tax, and the tax is to be levied in the above cases only upon the excess of $5,000 received by each person. When the inheritance passes to any uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, or any lineal descendant of the same, then the tax shall be at the rate of two per centum upon amounts in excess of $2,000. In all other cases (and such are rare) there is a graduated tax of three per centum on amounts over $500 and not exceeding $10,000; four per centum on all amounts over $10,000 and not exceeding $20,000; five per centum on all amounts over $20,000 and not exceeding $50,000; six per centum on all amounts exceeding $50,000. It will thus be seen that in the first class, and that covers most of the cases of inheritance, an estate of the same size would only pay two per centum; whilst in the third class, which is even more rare, the tax is graduated and increases as the inheritance increases. The system of taxing inheritances which I propose is constitutional, and is certainly most just, and a proper adjustment of it in this and in other States must be the solution of the gradual absorption of the wealth of the country in the hands of a few. It restores to the whole people through taxation for governmental support, money which in many cases at least has been (to put it mildly) harshly obtained from them, and the heir who has not contributed to its accumulation either by the expenditure of brain or brawn, ought not to complain at being put measurably on a level with his fellows. There is no reason why the graduated system should not apply alike to each of the three classes mentioned, increasing the rate as the inheritance increases, and I recommend that the law be amended so as to accomplish this result.
In this connection your attention is called to the fact that through the incorporation of large estates, and the distribution of the stock prior to the death of the ancestor, the inheritance tax law even as it stands is likely to be avoided, and provision should be made to prevent this evasion. Experience has shown that in some cases large estates have practically escaped taxation until death, and the probate courts then disclose vast holdings in the inventories of the estates of decedents.
Another mode of taxation which should be resorted to is that of a graduated income tax. There could be constitutional objection to it, nor could there be any injustice in levying a reasonably rate upon all incomes, ranging from say $3,000.00 upwards, increasing the rate as the income increases.
The argument that a tax upon incomes is a tax upon thrift and enterprise is entirely without merit. The same argument might apply to the taxation upon the improvements and the household goods of the man or the woman who buys and builds a small home and accumulates therein the things that make for comfort and happiness, and in fact to any other system of taxation. Yet this tax is imposed and is sustained. Certainly the man who has a good income can not object to contributing his fair share of the burdens of government, and as that income increases he ought to contribute in proportion to the increase.
I recommend, therefore, the enactment of such a law.
Under the present system, too many notaries public are appointed. The propriety of limiting the number is questionable, but if a liberal fee were authorized to be charged by the Secretary of State for issuing a commission, to be turned in to the general fund, it would operate to limit the number of applications and at the same time result in raising a considerable revenue for the state.
FOREST RESERVE RECEIPTS
The agricultural appropriation act of 1907, passed by Congress and approved June 30, 1906, contains the following provision:
“ That ten per centum of all money received from each forest reserve during any fiscal year, including the year ending June 30, 1906, shall be paid at the end thereof by the Secretary of the Treasury to the State or Territory in which said reserve is situated, to be expended as the State or Territorial legislature may prescribe for the benefit of the public schools and public roads of the county or counties in which the forest reserve is situated; provided, that when any forest reserve is in more than one State or Territory or county, the distributive share to each from the proceeds of said reserve shall be proportional to its area therein; and provided further, that there shall not be paid to any State or Territory for any county an amount equal to more than forty per centum of the total income of such county from all other sources.”
The receipts from the forest reserves in Oregon to June 30, 1906, as disclosed by the records of the Forest Service, are as follows:
Cascade (N) $7,344.43
Cascade (S) $6,476.39
Maury Mtns (E) $372.25
Blue Mtns (E) $17,115.85
Blue Mtns (W) $14,838.30
Ten per cent of this amount, or $7,587.36, is the approximate amount to be paid to Oregon from this source.
It will devolve upon the Legislature to provide for the method of expending this sum for the benefit of the public schools and public roads of the counties in which the forest reserves are situated. In this connection permit me to call your attention to the fact that more than one fifth of the area of the State, or 11,569,848 acres, is included within these federal reserves, and therefore practically withdrawn from settlement or sale. The moneys derived from this immense body of land ought all to be paid to the State to be added to the irreducible school fund, deducting first the cost of collecting the same. I suggest that a resolution be passed calling upon our representative in Congress to use their influence to have a law passed that will bring about this result.
EDUCATIONAL FUNDS OF THE STATE
Irreducible School Fund
But for the policies which have been adopted by the Legislature from time to time with respect to its school lands, the irreducible school fund might have been five or six times as large as it is at present. Lands have been fixed at prices too low under the pretext that these lands would be sold in limited quantities to actual settlers, thus compensating by the establishment of homes and families, and the subjecting of acquired titles to assessment and taxation, for the loss that was being incurred by the school fund in minimum prices. In theory this seemed not unreasonable. In practice, large bodies of these lands have been acquired by speculators who hold them now, and a magnificent domain in intended for the education of the children of the State has been measurably frittered away. Notwithstanding this, the irreducible school fund in the Treasury Department is in better condition today than it ever was before, as will be seen by the following comparison:
Mortgage loan notes December 31, 1899 $1,981,069.76
Cash in treasury unloaned December 31, 1899 $444,698.17
Mortgage loan notes September 30, 1902 $2,423,014.17
Cash in treasury unloaned September 30, 1902 $729,435.42
Mortgage loan notes September 30, 1904 $3,234,229.90
School District Bonds September 30, 1904 $266,950.00
Cash in treasury unloaned September 30, 1904 $200,361.24
Mortgage loan notes September 30, 1906 $3,723,539.64
School District Bonds September 30, 1906 $325,325.00
Cash in treasury unloaned September 30, 1906 $71,883.05
From this it will be seen that this fund in the Treasury Department has increased since the close of the fiscal year 1899, $1,694,979.76, and that while at the close of the fiscal year 1902 there was $729,435.42 in the treasury unloaned, and at the close of 1904 $2000,361.24 unloaned, there was at the close of 1906 only $71,883.05 unloaned and in the treasury. In respect to this latter sum it may be said that applications are on file for loans at this writing sufficient to consume it all.
In addition to $4,120,747.69 in securities and money belonging to the school fund, there is $478,712.70 in certificates of sale of school lands, certificates of sale of lands acquired by foreclosure, and unsold farms acquired by foreclosure and since undisposed of, making the fund amount in all to the sum of $4,599,460.39 on September 30, 1906.
The amount of interest apportioned to the several counties of the state from the irreducible school fund in 1879 was $36,137.12, and this has steadily increased each year until in 1906 it amounted to $265,992.20, the largest apportionment in the history of the State. This gratifying increase, not-withstanding the rate of interest has been reduced from eight to six per cent.
For a detailed statement of the securities in this fund and its condition, I respectfully call your attention to the Treasurer’s report.
AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE FUND
In this fund there is $195,615.41 of principal in notes and land certificates and including $8,872.18 in cash unloaned, an increase of $1,836.90 since the close of the fiscal year September 30, 1904. The net income from this fund has been paid from time to time to the Treasurer of the Board of Regents on warrants drawn by the Secretary of State.
STATE UNIVERSITY FUND
In this fund there is $104,205.36 of principal in notes and land certificates, and including $3,148.61 in cash unloaned, an increase of $790,00 since the close of the fiscal year September 30, 1904. The net income has been paid from time to time to aid in the support of the University.
A.R. BURBANK TRUST FUND
In January, 1906, Mrs. Mary E Burbank, widow of the late A.R. Burbank, deceased, died leaving all her estate after the payment of her debts and liabilities and certain specific bequests, to the State in trust for the orphans’ homes at Salem and Portland, Oregon. The estate was finally settled since the end of this last fiscal year, and from it the State has received lands and other property of the value of about $10,000. This will be converted into money as soon as possible, and kept loaned on mortgage security. Under the directions of her will, the estate is to be added to that of her husband, which now amounts to $14,296.22, and will become a part of and be treated in the same manner.
An examination of the report of the Commandant of the home for old soldiers discloses that because of increased accommodations it contains a larger number of inmates than ever before in its history. The erection of cottages for old soldiers and their wives since the last session of the Legislature has proven a great boon to the few who occupy them. The Grand Army of the Republic and the Woman’s Relief Corps have contributed money to assist in making these cottages comfortable, and I take pleasure in reporting to you that these patriotic bodies have at all times cheerfully advised with me and with the officers of the home in relation to matters tending to the betterment of the condition of these old defenders of the flag. The commandant, the adjutant, and the matrons of the Home and Hospital, have endeared themselves to the old soldiers themselves have endeavored in every way possible to make life pleasant and agreeable. I sincerely trust the recommendations of the Commandant will receive your favorably consideration, and all be done that is possible to make the declining years of these old soldiers comfortable.
STATE LAND AGENT
The report of the State Land Agent, Mr. Oswald West, shows in detail what has been accomplished in his department during the two years ending September 30, 1906. It is entitled to your very careful consideration as showing the efforts he has made and the results which have been accomplished in the way of placing his department on a businesslike basis and bringing it in close touch with the office of the State Land Board. I take occasion to commend him for faithful and efficient service, for it has been largely through his personal effort and attention to duty that the fraudulent speculations in the public lands of the State have been brought to an end, and some of the criminals prosecuted and convicted.
There has been no operations in selecting indemnity lands on alleged mineral base during the past four years. Within the past two the creation of the Wallowa, Wenaha and Chenimnus Forest Reserves have made available 47,000 acres of new base for indemnity selection. Instead of selling this base for the minimum price of $2.50 per acre it was determined in the spring of 1905 to offer a limited amount thereof to the highest bidders in order to ascertain something as to its market value. Bids were received therefore and offers ranged from five to six dollars per acre, while seven and eight dollars were offered for a few small tracts. All of these offers were accepted, and the Board decided to fix the price at $6.00 per acre until further notice. The demand was active for this base, and on the 24th of April, 1906, the price was raised to $7.50 per acre, which has been maintained since, and the probability is that this amount can always be obtained for this base to be used for indemnity selection.
In addition to the reserves mentioned, the creation of the Blue Mountain, Maury, Heppner, Siskiyou, Goose Lake and Freemont Reserves will give the State about 55,000 acres more of base, all of which is available for indemnity selection. For the proper handling of this, the State Land Agent should be furnished with an office assistant, and I recommend that his request in this behalf be granted.
Numerous parties had purchased lands in several of the above named reserves prior to their creation as such, and now hold either certificates of sale upon which a portion of the price is still unpaid, or having paid in full hold deeds therefore. The Board ought to be authorized by the Legislature to cancel the certificates of those willing to surrender them and to refund to the purchasers thereof the amount paid by them thereon. These lands were purchased generally at $1.25 per acre, and since the repeal of the indemnity selection law by Congress they are of little value to the present holders of the certificates, whilst if the certificates were cancelled the State could use them for base which at present prices is worth $7.50 per acre.
There were withdrawn from sale by an act of the Legislature of 1899, 10,000 acres of indemnity lands which had been selected under the act of 1895. I suggest that this act of withdrawal be repealed, and that the lands so selected be put upon the market and sold to the highest bidders.
With respect to tide lands, I recommend that they be withdrawn from sale for ten years. It seems to me that the policy of selling these tide lands has been a mistaken one. If they had been withdrawn from sale years ago and simply leased, the State would have realized more from them and might have continued to own valuable rights and privileges which under the policy which has been followed have been sold for a mere song.
DESERT LAND ACT
The State Land Board files a separate report relating to desert lands, and your particular attention is called to it, and especially to the recommendations made by the Board.
The reclamation of these lands under the Carey Act and the acceptance of said act by the Legislature of this State has been a source of great anxiety to the Board, because of the imperfections in both the federal and the State law. These troubles, which have seemed great to the Board during the past four years, will grow greater with the coming years unless the law is made more definite in its terms along the line of the recommendations made by the Board in its report.
Another serious trouble will be encountered in the near future because of the want of a code of laws defining water rights and water titles and preventing the monopolization of the waters powers of the State by private interests. As the State grows and develops, her water powers will become one of the most important resources of the State, and acts looking to their conservation should not be longer delayed. The title to water rights should be just as certain and definite as is the title to land. Realizing the importance of this subject, the Portland Board of Trade some time since put on foot a movement which resulted in the framing of a bill by a capable committee covering this whole subject, and whilst I have not read its provisions carefully, my acquaintance with those who participated in framing the act leads me to say to you that the bill ought to receive your very careful consideration. It may be objectionable in some particulars, but in the main it will result beneficially to the State in future, and any defects can be cured by subsequent legislation.
It has been said by persons in a position to know, that one concern practically controls the water power of California, and those who have given the subject any consideration at all know that steps are being taken in Oregon by private interests to acquire the water powers of this State, and action ought to be taken at once looking to the prevention of such a lamentable condition of affairs.
I earnestly call your attention to the code framed by the committee mentioned, and beg you to be extremely cautious about making any changes in a proposed measure which has been framed after weeks of deliberation and consultation by a committee having the best interests of the whole State at heart.
STATE LAND BOARD
I call attention to the report of the State Land Board as showing the operations of the Land Department for the past two years.
I think it safe to say that this department is in better condition now than it has been at any time in the history of the State. The Clerk and his office force have been painstaking, honest and efficient, and I deem it my duty in calling attention to this report to express to you my appreciation of the efforts they have made to assist the Board in straightening up the tangle into which the public lands of the State had been permitted to get through lax, and some times through questionable, methods.
It is axiomatic that a railroad company is a quasi public corporation and the public has an interest in its proper operation and in the regulation and control of its rates and fares, as well as in the proper rendition of the services required to be performed by it. In those States where this right has not been asserted the railroad company and the public stand measurably in the relation of members of a great partnership, with the managers of the company dictating its policies and establishing its rates, not only without consulting the public but frequently in such a way as to injurious affect their most vital interests. Not otherwise and in no other business does such an anomalous situation exist. The State has a primary interest in the establishment not only of a uniformity of rates by railways, but in seeing to it that the rates charged are just and reasonably throughout its boundaries, and it is no argument against this right that the State has been slow to assert it. No State has been so liberal as Oregon in its policy with respect to corporations generally and railroad companies in particular. If sections of the State rich in lumber, in mineral, in agriculture, and in everything that tends to industrial and commercial development, have been neglected by the one great railway system which practically controls its whole traffic, it certainly can not be justly claimed that the neglect is invited or induced by the illiberal policy of our law makers. Through the generous policy of the federal government lands sufficient in amount and value have been granted in aid of railways within the jurisdiction of the State to build not only the lines now in operation, but to extend them across and through the central, eastern and southeastern portions of this magnificent commonwealth. Not only that. Vast forest reserves have been created along the Cascade Mountains in this State, and in other States, in which have been included worthless lava beds and deforested lands of railway companies now operating here, and in exchange for these worthless lands these companies have been permitted to select hundreds of thousands of the most valuable timber lands in the State under Congressional legislation, thus increasing by millions the value of their original grants, and these lands are withheld from sale and settlement, greatly hindering the development of the State.
The demands of the people for railway extension have been unheeded by the powers that be, and they have been publicly informed that when any particular section of the State has been developed sufficiently to make a railway a profitable investment, their demands would be investigated and considered, thus reversing the usual policy of extending lines into rich sections to aid and assist in general development. The result has been that with all its possibilities for commercial and industrial growth, Oregon is far behind all the other States in obtaining what it needs and what it is of right entitled to have in the way of better facilities for transportation and travel. Nor does the evil stop here. There is a lack of uniformity in rates where roads have already been built. Many rates are grievously unjust and unreasonable, retarding the development of the State. Persons and places are discriminated against, a woeful lack of proper equipment to handle freight and even passengers, exists everywhere, depot accommodations, switching and other facilities are inadequate, and no effort seems to be making to rectify these crying evils anywhere. For the rectification of these conditions the shipper is without remedy. The cost and expense to an individual would be too great to warrants him in undertaking through any court their correction, nor could he with safety incur the ill will of the railway company which has been derelict in its duty to him and to the public. Neither the farmer nor the producer can get his product to the market, nor can the merchant supply the consumer with his wares. The result has been and will be still disastrous to the State, and the time has come when the other members of the great partnership in railway operation, the public, should assert itself in the correction of existing evils. With interstate traffic the State has nothing to do, but with intrastate, or that which is purely local, the evils which are acknowledged to exist can be greatly relieved in short order, and eventually corrected by a railway commission, vested with ample powers and composed of men who have been taught to believe that a public office is a public trust and that the people have rights which great transportation companies are bound to respect. The courts of this State, of other States, and of the United States have sustained the action of commissioners in their attempts to correct the evils which now exist in Oregon, and the question of power is no longer in the experimental stage. Where a commission exists and conditions have not been bettered, the fault lies either with the statute under which it acts, or in the personally of the commission; and the evils complained of in this State can be largely corrected by a railway commission acting under authority of an ample statute and appointed by the Governor with power of removal. In the proper enforcement of such a law the responsibility is fixed and certain, and it has been the experience of other States that in no other way can relief be assured. The control of railways and the regulation of rates has become a burning question in this country, and a large share of the time of the first session of the present Congress was devoted to the subject of interstate railway regulation and control. Every reason and argument which was urged in support of interstate regulation and control, applies with equal force to regulation and control of traffic which is intrastate and local, and subject to the jurisdiction of the State authorities. Recent and continuous discussion of the subject renders it unnecessary for me to dwell at length upon conditions in Oregon, which suggest prompt action at your hands to relieve a situation both unprecedented and unjustifiable.
I earnestly recommend, therefore, the passage of a law creating a railroad commission, to be appointed by the executive and subject to removal by him for failure to properly discharge its duties, with ample powers to carry out the purpose of its creation. In this connection I commend to your consideration a bill prepared by the transportation committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Portland. It shows careful preparation, and contains provisions which have been tested in other States and which in many instances have received the approval of courts of last resort.
Closely allied to the railroad question is that of opening and improving the waterways of the State. These are the instrumentalities which Providence has placed at our doors for natural regulation of the rate question. Statutes unquestionably assist in protecting the public from exorbitant transportation charges, when there are no competing waterways. But neither statute nor other compulsory method is ever necessary as a factor for bringing about just and reasonable charges when there exists a navigable waterway. For this reason, short-sighted indeed is he who does not see and realize the importance to the State of keeping the Columbia, the Willamette and other navigable streams of the State open for navigation. Appropriations made by the general government have been inadequate to meet the growing demands in all the States. Not only have they been inadequate but they have been too infrequent to complete important projects already under way or to protect them from almost total destruction by the elements in exposed places after appropriations are exhausted. The movement now being fostered and furthered by the National Rivers and Harbors Congress will do much to educate the people to the importance of river and harbor improvement, and it is confidently hoped that in future Congress will come to look upon the subject of larger and more frequent appropriations with greater favor, and place the subject alongside of appropriations for defraying the expenses of government, instead of relegating it to a place of minor importance as has been done in the past.
In the meantime and until the needs of the State are properly recognize, Oregon should follow the lead of other progressive States, and meet the demands of her rapid commercial and industrial development. The locks at the Falls of the Willamette, now in private ownership, should be purchased by the general government, and maintained without cost to the shippers of the great country tributary to the Willamette River. Every ton of freight which passes through them pays a heavy toll, and if this could be cut off, a like reduction would be made on the charges now made by the railroad company paralleling the river. The saving thus accomplished would in a year or two more than pay the reasonable cost of condemnation and ownership of these locks. Our representatives have apparently not been able to impress upon Congress the importance of opening this magnificent highway to free navigation, and it seems to me that the time has arrived when the Legislature should take steps looking to this end. An act should be passed creating a commission with ample power to negotiate the purchase of these locks, if Congress will not do so, by agreement or condemnation, and a sufficient appropriation made therefore, and to maintain them when acquired free to the producers of the State. The wisdom of such legislation in the past has been amply vindicated. The construction of the portage railway by the State at Cascade Locks a few years ago resulted in the prompt completion by the government of the canal at the place, and the subject abandonment of the portage. The saving to the people in reduced freight rates by the opening of the river to The Dalles since the completion of the Cascade Locks, has made estimated by competent authorities at $7,000,000, making the money appropriated by the State a mere bagatelle in comparison with the benefits attained.
Realizing what had been accomplished by this public work, the Legislature in 1903 and again in 1905 made liberal appropriations for the acquirement of a right of way for a portage railway from Big Eddy to Celilo, above the Dalles, for its construction and maintenance, and for securing a right of way for the canal in course of construction by the Government. For a detailed report as to the expenditures in this behalf, reference is made to the report of the Board of Canal Commissioners, and to that of the Board of Portage Railway Commissioners. From the latter report it will be seen that the road has been operated at a loss to the State. But while this is true, it has accomplished its purpose in this: first, the canal around the rapids is in course of construction, and it will eventually be completed at a cost to the Government of probably $5,000,000. Second, the rates by water on freight in both directions in the territory tributary to the Columbia and Snake rivers as far up as boats can reach are materially less than by rail. But what is of more importance, at competitive points the service of the railroads had been improved, and in a number of cases material reduction made by it, and there can be no question but that eventually, above Celilo as below, the cost of the water haul will largely determine the rail rate.
The work of construction of the canal is not only difficult and expensive, but in the nature of things it will be slow. In the meantime the portage railway should be maintained. The question as to whether or not it can be maintained at a profit, or made self-sustaining is immaterial. To undertake to accomplish this might defeat the very purpose it was intended to subserve. The locks built by the government are maintained and operated without cost to the shipper, and the same is true of most government works. The thing to be kept in mind is, the reduction of rates, increased facilities, and the development of other lines of transportation, and if this is attained, the amount of business done or the moneys earned, is not a basis for the estimation of the benefits secured. The maintenance of the portage, more particularly if it can be made free, will result in the development of the State by encouraging the building of electric and other lines of railway from the interior to the river, from whence freight can be carried to its destination by water.
Under the present law the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer compose the Board of Portage Commissioners. These officers should be relieved of this duty for two reasons: first, and important, the Commission should be nearer the work, and in closer touch with it than it is possible for the officers named to be; and second, the duties of these officers have been constantly increased from year to year and they have found it almost impracticable to visit the portage as often and remain there as long each time as the importance of the work demands.
With this change in the present law, I recommend an appropriation sufficient to maintain and operate the portage railway until the next session of the Legislature.
EXPERTING THE BOOKS OF STATE OFFICERS
It has been the custom of the Legislature from time immemorial to appoint a committee to examine and report upon the books of the several state officers. The committee so appointed selects a clerical force without much regard to fitness to do this work, with the result that where there are irregularities they are seldom if ever discovered. The time allotted is in the nature of things very short, and if it is possible to make a proper examination within that time it goes without saying it must be done by a competent accountant with a force selected by himself. I suggest that on the first day of the session, you appoint an expert accountant who shall be empowered to select his own assistants, to expert the books of all state officers, with instruction to report to the Legislature prior to adjournment, if possible, and if the work is not then completed, the continue until it is fully done, and to report to the executive in detail, so that if any irregularities exist the proper steps may be taken to adjust and correct them.
In this connection I desire to call the attention of the Legislature to the necessity of creating the office of expert accountant, making it the duty of the appointee to adopt a uniform system of bookkeeping for use by State and county officers, and public boards handling public funds, and to examine and report upon the condition of the accounts of these officers and boards. I recommended to the last Legislature the creation of such an office, and I renew that recommendation now. The business of the State is growing rapidly, more money is being collected and disbursed each year, and the opportunities for extravagance and misappropriation of public funds correspondingly greater. Many of the counties of the state have found it to their interest to employ experts the past two years, and the result has been most beneficial to the taxpayer.
At the last election a law was proposed by initiative to abolish free passes. The author of the law omitted to preface it with an enacting clause. It was, therefore, inoperative under the constitution. Notwithstanding this fact, a majority of the people expressed themselves in favor of such a law, and I recommend its enactment by the Legislature, and an appropriation sufficient to pay the actual expenses of public officers while traveling on public business.
Railroad companies charge shippers a certain sum denominated demurrage, for each day’s failure to load cars promptly. This is not an unreasonably charge to make as it hastens the shipper and relieves a congested traffic situation. On the other hand, this right should be made reciprocal, and when a company fails beyond a reasonable time to furnish cars to a shipper it should be compelled to pay him a sum equal to that which the shipper would have to pay for failure to unload. The rights and duties should be made reciprocal by law.
The report of the Secretary shows the work which has been accomplished by the Library Commission during the past two years. This Commission has been a factor for great good, and has done and is doing a work entitling its report and recommendations to your serious consideration. Not only has the money appropriated for its use at the last session of the legislature been economically expended but it has been instrumental in saving large sums to the libraries of the several school districts of the State in the purchase of books, besides assisting in the selection of works which are standard in their character. The statement of what the Commission has accomplished in the past year ought to be a guaranty of its usefulness as an educational force in the State in the future, and warrant the Legislature in complying with its request for additional appropriation for the ensuing two years.
OREGON NATIONAL GUARD
The Oregon National Guard is in a splendid condition of efficiency, and there has not been a time within the last two years when a call to arms by the President of the United States could not have been answered on a few hours’ notice by the National Guard of this State. Not only is it well officered, but its ranks are composed of the best and most enterprising young men of the State. The hope of the early founders of the Republic that the safety of our institutions lay in a well trained militia will eventually find fruition in the maintenance of splendid Guards in every State in the Union, aided as they are at present by Congressional appropriation of money and equipment, as well as by the several States.
I commend the report of the Adjutant General to you, and bespeak for its recommendations your very careful consideration.
STATE UNIVERSITY AND AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE
The reports of these educational institutions show a constantly increasing attendance. The needs of both institutions for the ensuing two years are set out at length, and I trust the reports and recommendations therein contained will receive your earnest consideration. This state has cause to be proud of both of these institutions of learning, and their reasonable requests ought to be complied with. Not only has the number of students increased each year but the standard of studies has been gradually advanced to conform to older established institutions of the same class and character, and it is not claiming too much to say for them both that they stand as the equals of institutions much older and better equipped because of the greater liberality of the States in which they are situated.
PRIVATE INSANE ASYLUMS
Within the past few years a number of private asylums or hospitals for the care of the insane have sprung into existence, and many patients are being treated in them. Without intending any reflection upon the present management of any one of them but rather to guard against abuses that may arise in the conduct of such institutions in the hands of irresponsible or cruel persons, a law should be passed placing all such institutions under the compulsory visitorial power of some State authority. Such a course will tend to prevent cruel practices against those who are insane in fact, and remove the temptation afforded mercenary or otherwise interested persons to keep troublesome relatives shut in from the world. Private insane asylums are no more tolerable than private penitentiaries would be, and if the State is nevertheless willing to permit them to exist, it should at least assume the responsibility of visitation for the protection of the citizens.
EXAMINATION OF BANKS
A law should be passed at this session of the Legislature providing for the supervision, examination and regular reports of the condition of private banks, trust companies and saving banks, whether owned and controlled by private persons, firms or corporations. Oregon is growing rapidly in wealth and population. New banks are being inaugurated in nearly every town and cit yin the State, and even assuming that all bankers now doing business are honest, yet the depositors are entitled to the fullest knowledge of the resources of the banks they are doing business with, and the greatest possible protection against both dishonestly and incompetency of management. Three-fourths of the States now have laws governing the subject, and whilst they do not prevent occasional failures any more than do the federal laws prevent the failure of National banks, yet the tendency is toward better and more conservative methods. The honest banker does not fear or object to publicity and supervision, but courts it, and surely the dishonest one ought not to be consulted.
Bills will be proposed at the present session of vital interest to the public. Whether they have for their object the correction of abuses which already exist, or are intended to stay the hand of the predatory franchise-grabbing corporations or individual, the lobby will be on hand in full force to interfere with or to stay corrective as well as preventive legislation. Recent disclosures, in New York and other States in connection with the insurance and other corporations, show conclusively that it is the practice and policy of great corporations to maintain and expend a defense fund for the purpose of influencing legislation. Bribers can only exist when men can be found to accept bribes, and stringent laws should be passed to drive the bribe give as well as the bribe taker into political and social exiles. The most dangerous men around the legislative body are the professional lobbyists, and their existence there ought to be made impossible. They should be driven out of the legislative halls as were the money changers from the temple; and the first step in this direction is the enactment of a statute making it a felony to appear here for any purpose connected with pending legislation, unless that purpose is disclosed to the executive or to the legislature in open session, and the time for making such disclosure should be limited to one day between arrival and departure. Section 1894 of Bellinger and Cotton’s Code is intended to prevent the nefarious work of the lobbyist, but it is a delusion and a snare. I earnestly recommend its repeal and the enactment of a statute which will forever put an end to a disgraceful business, which in times past has been a stench in the nostrils of all decent men.
INTEREST ON PUBLIC FUNDS
There are times in each year when large sums of money are in the custody of the State Treasurer, for which there is no immediate use. Provision should be made requiring a deposit of these funds in safe and solvent banks offering the highest rates of interest. This is done in many States and in the larger cities and a large revenue is derived therefrom. These deposits can be safeguarded by requiring proper bonds or other collateral as security for repayment, as is done where such course is pursued. The interest thus collected would far more than pay the whole expense of the Treasurer’s office, and to that extent lessen the amount to be raised by general taxation.
I earnestly recommend the passage of such a law.
ESCHEATING MONEY IN BANKS
One of the disputable presumptions under our statute is, that a person not heard from in seven years is dead. Most of the banks in this state have been doing business for a much longer period than seven years, and it is safe to say that there are many thousands of dollars held on deposit in open accounts or on certificates of deposit against which no checks have been drawn, or where the certificate holder has not been heard from for periods far in excess of seven years. Moneys so situated should be escheated to the State but the difficulties in procuring the information necessary to institute proceedings for this purpose. To overcome this difficulty the statute hereinafter referred to should be amended so as to compel all banking institutions to furnish to the executive or to the State Treasurer, annually, reports under oath showing all accounts which have been dormant for a period of seven years or more. Moneys so held could with safety be escheated to the State, and in case the owner ever appears a way is pointed out by which he can recover from the State the moneys belonging to him. Section 5622 of Bellinger and Cotton’s Code contemplates such a proceeding as is here indicated, but in construing it the Supreme Court held in State v. Security Savings Co., 28 Or. 418, that in order to maintain a proceeding alleged to be in the custody of the bank. This allegation can not be made unless the information upon which to ground it is first given by the banks in reports to the Governor, or to the State Treasurer, or to some other designated authority.
The Legislature at its last session passed an act to authorize the State Board of Building Commissioners to ascertain the cost and to purchase and pay for the necessary grounds and to take the initiatory steps toward the establishment of an institute for feeble-minded and epileptic children. The Board, acting under the authority of this statute, appointed Mr. Geo. W. Jones, Superintendent of the Oregon Institute for the Blind, to visit institutions of other States, with the view of ascertaining conditions in order that we might proceed intelligently here along the lines which are being followed elsewhere. Upon his return he made a written report to the Board, entering into detail as to the requirements to be observed in selecting a site and in erecting buildings for such an institution as is needed in Oregon at this time and in the years to come. Upon receipt of this report, the Board advertised for bids for lands in the vicinity of the Capitol, and thereafter visited those offered, taking an option upon two tracts which are submitted for your consideration. Reference is had to the report of the Board’s agent, and to the report of the Board, both of which are printed for your convenience and perusal.
The time has arrived when Oregon should do something for the care of this unfortunate class. Some are confined in the Asylum, a few in other State institutions, many are scattered over the State, dependent upon charity, and no provision is made anywhere for their proper education and care. Strong reasons, based upon the experience of other communities are given in the reports referred to for action upon the part of the Legislature looking to the establishment, care an confinement of feeble-minded and epileptic children, and I earnestly recommend that prompt action be taken along the lines pointed out by the Board in their report.
PUBLICITY OF ELECTION EXPENDITURES
Fifteen States have adopted laws compelling candidates to publish under oath the names of contributors to campaign expenses, and the manner in which these contributions are expended. A bill was introduced at the first session of the present Congress having the same object in view with respect to federal elections, but it failed of enactment. There is no greater menace to our institutions than the corrupt use of money in elections, national state and local, and Oregon ought to follow in the wake of those States which have sought to abolish the evil. Committees, candidates and agents should be compelled to publish under oath itemized statements of receipts and disbursements in all political campaigns. Corporations should be forbidden to contribute at all, expenditures should be limited, and sever penalties denounced against all persons violating the law. Such a statute is particularly appropriate in this State under the direct primary nominating system, and ought to be made to apply both to primary and general elections. It would not only have the effect of purifying elections, but would place all candidates, rich and poor alike, on the same footing, both in seeking nominations and in the elections after nominations have been made.
I call your attention to the report of the Board of Commissioners appointed under the provisions of Chapter 90 of the Laws of 1905 for the purpose of examining and reporting on the matters of assessments and taxation. The report is replete with information, statistical and other, and contains copies of laws suggested to correct defects in our present statute. I call your particular attention to this report in connection with any legislation on the subject of taxation.
Tuberculosis has come to be recognized as a communicable disease, but aside from giving it this recognition little if anything is done to stay its progress. In a few of the States and in some of the cities laws and ordinances have been enacted for the purpose of staying the ravages of this dread disease, but nothing has been done in proportion to its importance to our civilization. Our people are not prepared for radical legislation on this subject, but I suggest the passage of a law which will require the teachers in the public schools of the State to deliver lectures at stated period upon the subject of this disease, its cause, its communicability, the methods of treatment and the subject of the prevention of its spread. There is woeful ignorance upon the subject, and to educate the children of the public schools is to educate the home, and the adoption of some simple method like this will carry instruction into thousands of homes that fail to realize its importance to the human race.
I am advised that because of the present condition of our laws with respect to the shipment of sheep, an expense of fifty cents per head is entailed on all sheep shipped from the State, except those that are shipped for immediate slaughter, and in addition to this the cost of dipping and the shrinkage occasioned thereby.
Last year there were shipped from the State about 400,000 head, and it can be seen at a glance how expensive this is to the sheepmen and woolgrowers of the State.
Steps should be taken at once to eradicate scabies so as to remove this handicap against our citizens. In this connection I call attention to the fact that the quarantine has been removed against Wyoming, and possibly against some of the other Western States, because of the adoption of laws having for their purpose the eradication of this disease which requires the enforcement of the quarantine referred to.
Mining is one of the most promising industries in the state, and those engaged in the legitimate work thereof ought to be protected against imposition and impostors.
The American Mining Congress appointed a committee of distinguished gentlemen to prepare a bill for the punishment of mining fakers and promoters of illegitimate mining enterprises, and I presume it will be submitted to you. A law has recently been passed by the California Legislature along these lines, and reports are that it has worked an almost complete riddance from that State of spurious mining stock and that lecherous parasite on the mining industry—the fake promoter. The State has been seriously injured by the sale of spurious mining stock throughout the East, and this is done under glaring headlines of pamphlets published here and elsewhere. Any person who undertakes to sell or assent to the publication, privately or publicly, of a fraudulent or exaggerated report tending to give any person or the public the idea of a greater value than such stock really possesses, with intent to defraud, ought to be deemed guilty of a felony and punished accordingly.
Section 1 of Article XII of the Constitution, providing for the election and compensation of the State Printer, was so amended at the last general election that the Legislature may now place that officer upon a salary. I earnestly recommend that this be done in the interest of economy. This office is one of the most expensive in the State, and there no longer exists any reason why the State Printer should not be placed upon a salary commensurate with his services . In this connection I Deem is proper to suggest that the State printing office should be removed from the Capitol building. Not only does the constant jar of the presses impair the strength of the building, but the oil and combustible material around the office is a constant source of danger. All of the archives of the State are deposited here, and valuable as they are, they should not be longer exposed to the risk of a general conflagration. In addition to this, office room is much needed, and the portion of the building occupied as a printing establishment should be converted into much needed offices. This matter should receive the immediate attention of the Legislature, for it would be better to provide for the purchase of ground and the erection of a building especially adapted for a printing office, than to incur the constant and imminent risk of a fire which might totally destroy the Capitol building and its contents, a loss which in the very nature of things would be irreparable.
There are too many normal schools in the State supported by money exacted from the taxpayers. One in Eastern and one in Western Oregon might with propriety be maintained, affording every facility to those desiring to fit themselves for teachers. But whether the four normals be retained or not, I repeat the recommendations made to the last Legislature that all be placed under one Board of Control. The advantages to accrue from the adoption of such a course are threeforld: first, it places the one board in touch with all of the institutions, giving them an insight into the conduct and enabling them to establish the same course of studies and classes for all, so that students might leave a class in one and enter in the same class in another if desired; second, it would do away with an army of regents who naturally become partisans of a particular school, and are insistent at each session of the Legislature for increased appropriations for maintenance, construction of new buildings, and for other purposes; and, third, it would tend to elevate the normal schools to the purposes of their creation, namely, the training of teachers for the public schools, and eventually eliminate preparatory and other work which is with more propriety done in the public schools. Whatever appropriation is made for the support of the normal schools ought to be in one sum for all, to be distributed by the one Board of Control in proportion to the actual normal school work done by each recipient.
It should be provided that no regent or other officer of these or any of the schools shall be permitted to sell to them any supplies of any kind.
APPORTIONMENT OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES
Section 6 of Article IV of the Constitution of Oregon provides that “the number of Senators and Representatives shall at the session next following an enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States or this State, be fixed by law, and apportioned among the several counties according to the number of (white) population in each. And the ratio of Senators and Representatives shall be determined by dividing the whole number of (white) population of such county or district by such respective ratios; and when a fraction shall result from such division, which shall exceed one half of such ration, such county or district shall be entitled to a member for such fraction. And in case any county shall not have the requisite population to entitle such county to a member, then such county shall be attached to some adjoining county for Senatorial or Representative purposes.” The present apportionment was made in 1903, but the ratio on which it was based was established in 1899 on an estimated population in the State of 263,490. The State has grown rapidly since then, and it goes without saying that a new ration should be established on the basis of the State census of 1905, and a new Senatorial and Representative apportionment made at this session. I call your attention particularly to this matter, because it practically stands confessed that the present apportionment was a shameless gerrymander of the State for partisan or factional advantage. Some of the counties can scarcely be said to have representation. To prove this assertion attention need only be called to eh counties of Wasco, Crook, Klamath and Lawk, constituting the Twenty-first Representative district, extending from the Columbia River to the California line, almost an empire in themselves, possessing every variety of soil, resource and climate, and with a population of 27,607, with only one Representative and one joint Senator. In order to measurably conceal the crime perpetrated against the people of these rich counties, Wasco and Grant are attached to Sherman and Gilliam counties and given a joint Senator and a joint Representative, and Wasco and Sherman given a join Senator. Other instances of gross injustice might be cited in the present apportionment, but this suffices to show that something should be done at this session to give each section of the State a fair and just representation in the Legislature.
TRANSPORTING CONVICTS TO THE PENITENTIARY
An act was passed at the last session of the Legislature providing for the transportation of insane persons from the several county seats to the asylum by trained assistants of the latter institution instead of by county officers. Aside form the advantages accruing from this law from a humanitarian standpoint, it has resulted in a great saving to the State. The law with regard to the transportation of convicts to the penitentiary should be amended so as to require convicts to be conveyed to prison by officers of the penitentiary. The cost for this service to the State under the present system for the two years ending September 30, 1906, was $13,573.45 covering the transportation of 378 prisoners, an average cost of $35.91 per capita, whilst the cost of conveying 314 insane patients from July I, 1905, to July 1, 1906, was $5,668.52, an average cost of $18.05 per capita. If the same law is made to apply to the penitentiary, a saving of at least fifty per centum of the present cost can be saved to the State, and the prisoners handled by men trained in prison work.
EMPLOYMENT OF CONVICTS
There has been much agitation upon the subject of the employment of convicts in such a way as not to compete with free labor. At the last session of the Legislature, Senate Concurrent Resolution Number 31 provided for the appointment of a State Road Commission by me, consisting of five members, whose duty it should be to investigate the feasibility of the construction of a macadamized road from Portland south to the California line with convict labor. The Commission is to prepare a bill upon this subject if they find the building of a road as indicated is feasible.
Since the last session, agitation has been commenced in other quarters of the State for installing a just mill within the walls of a penitentiary.
Insistence upon doing away with the present system of employment of convicts and advocacy of their employment upon public highways grows out of the claim that the manufacture of stoves not only competes with free labor but prevents the establishment of independent industries of other stove plants within the State, whilst the advocacy of the establishment of a jute mill grows largely out of the high price required to be paid for jute bags last year and the inadequacy then of the supply to meet actual demands.
It must not be assumed that there is no objection to the employment of convicts in bag-making, or that there is no objection to their employment in road building. There are already in the State four establishments manufacturing bags, employing an average of 128 persons, paying an annual wage of $55,275.00; a miscellaneous expense account of $24,000.00; a clerical hire of fourteen persons at a total salary of $18,000.00, with an annual product of $503,000. Those engaged in this industry object to the installation of a jute mill and bag factory at the prison. On the other hand, there are four stove manufacturing plants in the State, one of these being operated by convicts in the penitentiary. These employ twenty-five workmen, fourteen salaried persons, and 150 convicts. Workmen receive from $3.50 to $3.75 per day, nine hours. The product of the last year, a part of which was shipped out of the State, had a total value of $143,990.00, while there was imported from the outside during this time stove manufacture product to the value of $592,790.00.
These figures are obtained from the report of O.P. Hoff, Labor Commissioner. From these figures it will be seen that there are more people engaged in the State in the manufacture of bags than in the manufactures of stoves, and there will be as strong objections urged to the employment of convicts in this industry as in the manufacture of stoves. To install a jute plant would necessitate an appropriation of at least $250,000.00. $125,000.00 for a plant, $100,000.00 for the purchase of jute and $25,000.00 for operation until the jute shall be sold, and it is probably true that these estimates are low. The present force of convicts would be entirely insufficient to manufacture bags to meet the demands of the state or to regulate prices, for with a much larger force in the Walla Walla penitentiary and in San Quentin they have been unable to do either. I visited Walla Walla with members of this body a few months since, and I am free to confess that I was not favorably impressed with the operation of a jute mill in the Washington penitentiary, either from an economic standpoint or from the standpoint of healthy labor for those in prison. Two years ago I visited San Quentin with the Superintendent of the penitentiary to investigate the manufacture of grain bags by convict labor, and I did not receive a favorable impression from an inspection of the plant.
I feel sure from the investigations which I have made that the penitentiary can never be made self-sustaining by the installation of a jute mill, and it is questionable in my mind if the industry operated by convicts would make enough money to pay the actual cost of its operation and maintenance.
I am heartily in accord with those who would remove the convict as a competitor of free labor, but I believe that in doing this some regard must be paid to the taxpayers of the State and the proper care, discipline and control of the penitentiary.
Stoves are manufactured in but two penitentiaries in the United States, one at Nashville, Tennessee, and the other here. In the 20th annual report of the Commissioner of Labor of the United States for 1905 on Convict Labor (page 137) in discussing this question it is said: “Unlike stove hollow-ware, stoves do not prove a success as a prison industry. It may be said that any article which a single convict can make and complete will prove more profitable than articles made in parts by a number of convicts. When these parts are assembled they do not fit so closely nor as well as when made by outside labor. The skill required to mold and cast to a nicety the various parts of a cook stove or a heater is rarely acquired by a convict in prison. This is also true of the wagon industry in prisons, so that it is safe to say that any article that must be made in parts by different men, these parts when assembled being required to fit together closely and smoothly, will not prove a successful prison industry for a long series of years.”
The Commissioner concludes that prison stove contracts end disastrously through inability to market the product, partly because of Union boycotts, partly because of a general feeling in all classes of society against convict-made goods, but principally because a really good stove that will sell on its merits rather than by virtue of its cheapness has not as yet been produced in prison.
On the other hand, the report referred to shows that many other commodities are successfully manufactured by convicts in penitentiaries of other States which practically put the manufacturers of those commodities out of business. Stove hollow ware, saddle trees, whips and whip lashes, boots and shoes, furniture, shirts, pants, overalls, brushes and brooms are manufactured in many of the prisons of the country.
It would seem, therefore, that the manufacture of stoves is the least dangerous to the manufacturer and to free labor.
My experience with prison management convinces me that in order to afford health and discipline, convicts must be steadily employed, and it is largely for this reason that they are engaged in other States in labor which competes with free labor. In order to accomplish this with a reasonable expense to the State, this employment must be within the prison walls. During my incumbency I have during the summer months and whenever the weather would permit, kept from fifty to seventy-five prisoners at work on the county roads. Still, it is found inadvisable to so employ them during any of the winter season and besides there are many prisoners who could not be safely entrusted outside of the prison walls. The present employment of convicts is healthful, the plant is installed and belongs to the State; it is the least dangerous to free labor of any of the prison employments where the manufacture of any commodity is engaged in, and the Legislature ought to undertake the work of dismantling the prison stove foundry plant with great caution. My own judgment is, having due regard to the taxpayers of this State as well as to the demands of free labor and the manufacturer, that whether provision is made for convicts on the roads or in some other manner, legislation to this end ought to be conservative rather than radical and ought to provide for increasing the employment of convicts in such new field as may be adopted for them without abandoning the present system at once, leaving large discretion to the executive. The purchase of rock quarries at one or more convenient places and the crushing of rock for public roads might be tried successfully and gradually extended, but in order to accomplish this an appropriation of sufficient amount to house and care of the convicts must be made.
I submit this matter to your very careful consideration, and assure you that I have not found it one easy of solution.
The improvement of the highways of Oregon has become a vital and burning question, and the time has arrived when there should be appointed a State Engineer, whose duty it should be to supervise the construction of all new and permanent roads. The State could afford to utilize the labor of a certain number of the convicts in the penitentiary for the preparation of crushed rock necessary for the construction of such highways, and I am sure that quarries could be established at points where arrangements could easily be made with railroad companies to transport the output thereof to points easy of access in those counties which desired to make permanent improvements.
THE JAMESTOWN EXPOSITION
In my last message to the Legislature I called attention to the fact that beginning April 26th of this year, an Exposition would be held at Jamestown, Virginia, commemorative of the three hundredth anniversary of the first permanent settlement of English-speaking people in the United States. The exposition is to be largely historical in character, covering the nation’s history and progress since the landing of the first settlers in 1607. The Federal Government, besides having made a liberal appropriation in aid of the work, will participate therein by a splendid exhibit. Many, if not all of the States are preparing to erect buildings and to make displays, and I submit to you the question as to whether Oregon should go unrepresented at an exposition which will be the first of its kind ever held in the United States. I have appointed a Commission to arrange for this State’s participation, in case an appropriation is made for that purpose. One of the Commissioners has visited the exposition grounds and reports that rapid progress is being made in preparing the grounds, the erection of buildings and arranging the exhibits.
There will be held at Seattle in 1909 an exposition having for its object, as the name above indicates, the exploitation of the resources of the whole Pacific Coast, as well as those of Central and South America. I am advised that already twenty-five States have in contemplation the erection of buildings for suitably displaying their resources, and Oregon ought to lend its liberal assistance to this great enterprise, for two reasons: first, because the people of Washington by their liberality did much toward making the Lewis and Clark Exposition a success last year, and second, a building erected and maintained under the auspices of the State, with a display of its agricultural, mineral and other products, is the best advertisement possible of its possibilities for future commercial and industrial development. I have already appointed a Commission to take the initial steps looking to Oregon’s proper representation at this Exposition, and I trust this Legislature will make an appropriation in aid of the movement commensurate with its importance to the State and to the Pacific Coast.
RETIRING STATE OFFICERS
It is my pleasant duty to publicly express to the retiring State officials and their employees my grateful appreciation of their many courtesies to me during the past four years. We have differed at times on questions of public policy, but notwithstanding this our relations have at all times been most cordial.
In conclusion, gentlemen, permit me to remind you that every bill should receive your most careful consideration and be thoroughly digested before being permitted to become a law. The danger of ill-advised legislation would be somewhat lessened if, on the first day of the session, a resolution should be adopted, providing that no bill shall pass from either body to the other during the last five days of the session. This would give ample time for a full and fair discussion of all measures pending for passage. Quality before quantity is applicable here as elsewhere, and it were better to have no legislation than such as is ill-advised or faulty. That member is not the best who introduces and secures the passage of the greatest number of laws. He who watches all bills introduced and points out the defects in each is rather entitled to the grateful thanks of the people.
I trust your deliberations may be characterized by wisdom, and that the work of your hands may redound not only to your credit, but to the prosperity and advancement of all the people of this magnificent commonwealth.
GEO. E. CHAMBERLAIN