Governor George E. Chamberlain's Administration
Governor's Message, 1909
Source: Oregon Messages and Documents, 1909, Governor's Regular Session Message, Salem, Oregon, Willis S. Duniway, State Printer, 1909.
MESSAGE Of George E. Chamberlain Governor of Oregon. To the Twenty-fifth Legislative Assembly Regular Session 1909
State of Oregon,
Salem, January 11, 1909.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:
Section 11 of article of the constitution provides that the Governor “shall from time to time give to the Legislative Assembly information touching the condition of the State, and recommend such measures as he shall judge to be expedient,” and in pursuance of this requirement, I submit to your as briefly as it is possible to do, a report as to the condition of the State’s finances and institutions, and make such recommendations as to me seem at this time expedient.
ELECTION OF A SENATOR
My message to the legislature in 1907 contained the following with reference to the election of United States Senators:
“ 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.”
When the election occurred, the vote of the Senate and the House was unanimous in favor of Mr. Mulkey, with only three dissenting votes in the House and four in the Senate with reference to Mr. Bourne, showing that the members of the legislature respected their pledges, and that many who took no pledge nevertheless obeyed the voice of the people with respect to the election of Senators. The fact that a majority of this legislature subscribed to pledges promising to vote for the people’s choice for Senator, supplemented by a law enacted by the people commanding all members of the legislature to vote for the people’s choice for Senator, is a sufficient guaranty that the election this year will be as summarily disposed of as it was two years ago, and the time of the legislature devoted to the consideration of measures of public interest.
The financial condition of the State was never better than it was at the close of the fiscal year. The reports of the Treasurer and Secretary of State show in detail the receipts and disbursements during the two years ending September 30, 1908, and the balance now in the hands of the Treasurer of the several funds of the State.
At the time of the financial stringency which occurred during November and December, 1907, the State Treasurer had funds of the State in the following banks:
The Oregon Trust and Savings Bank $35,432.21
The Merchants National Bank $12,478.20
The Title Guarantee and Trust Co. $107,483.81
The Title Guarantee and Trust Co. (Educational Fund) $288,426.87
The deposits in the first two banks were fully secured to the Treasurer under the banking law passed at the last session of the legislature, and $100,000 of that deposited with the Title Guarantee and Trust Company was similarly secured. These several amounts were promptly paid by the American Surety Company. The balance of the deposit in the Title Guarantee and Trust Company, amounting to $295,910.68, was secured to the State by the bond of the State Treasurer, upon which the American Surety Company and others were sureties. An adjustment of this was made with the American Surety Company under the terms of which the company settled and adjusted the matter with the State, paying a part in cash and giving their contract for the balance, together with the sum of $295,910.68 with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum, payable on or before December 31, 1909. Already the company have paid on this contract $33,723.86. Not a dollar was lost to the State, and the promptness with which the American Surety Company adjusted the matter entitles them to commendation. The contract between the State and the company is on file with the Secretary of State, and for the terms upon which the settlement was made the legislature is respectfully referred thereto.
The balance now the hands of the Treasurer belonging to the different funds of the State is on deposit in the numerous banks of the State, but in each case the Treasurer hold securities therefore exacted by him under the depository act of 1907, and the bond of the Treasurer to the State for the faithful performance of his duty is held as additional security. The duty of approving the securities taken by the Treasurer from the several depositories is vested, not in the Executive, but in the Treasurer and Attorney-General. I do not believe that there is any danger of loss to the State in future if the provisions of the depository act of 1907 with respect to deposit of the State funds is strictly observed.
It must be expected in the very nature of things with the steady increase in population and the consequent increase in the burdens and expenses of government that the tax levy will be higher, unless subjects which now escape taxation are brought within the taxing power. I fear to recommend any revision of the assessment laws of the State, but it is unfortunate that some system has not been adopted to bring about a uniformity of assessment and taxation in the several counties of the State. The constitution requires that taxes shall be uniform and equal, but it is a well known fact that in most of the counties of the State, personal property and money almost entirely escape taxation. In some counties lands are assessed at from one-third to one-half of their actual cash value, while in others they are assessed at two-thirds of their value, and in none at actual cash value, as required by law. Until some uniformity of assessment is devised there must be inequality of taxation, and so long as some property escapes taxation entirely and real property is not assessed at cash value, the levy for county and State purposes must continue to be high, and taxation must lack the constitutional requirement of equality and uniformity.
EDUCATIONAL FUNDS OF THE STATE
Irreducible School Fund—The Irreducible School Fund of the State has increased during the past two years from the sale of land and other sources: $830,720.21, the principal thereof on the 30th day of September, 1908, being $5,429,930.60. Of which sum $4,206,713.42 is invested in first mortgage loans drawing six per cent per annum; $263,645.00 in school district bonds bearing five and six per cent per annum; $659,410.45 in certificates of sale of school lands, bearing six per cent, seven per cent, and eight per cent; $250.00 in farms purchased by the State at foreclosure sales; cash in bank, $11,484.86; the Balance thereof, $288,426.87 was in the Title Guarantee and Trust Company’s bank at the time it failed, and is secured by the obligation of the American Surety Company, drawing interest at the rate of five per cent per annum, and due and payable December 31, 1909, although the Company has paid thereof in advance of maturity and since the end of the fiscal year, $33,723.86. The Agricultural College fund principal now amounts to $195,878.82, and is all loaned except $1,166.96, and the University fund principal is $104,205.36, and is all loaned except $840.30.
The amount of interest accruing from loans of the Irreducible School Fund for 1908 and distributed among the counties of the State was $356,067.20, as compared with $247,289.13 for 1907. All of these educational funds are in excellent condition.
CIVIL WAR CLAIMS
Some time in August 1906, Mr. Frederick L Siddons, of the firm Ralston & Siddons, Washington, D.C., called upon me with letters of introduction, to take up for discussion the claim of the State of Oregon growing out of expenses incurred and moneys paid in raising troops for service in the United States army during the Civil War. Former officials of the State had, in years gone by, employed Mr. John Mullan to look after these claims, but the result of my discussions with Mr. Siddons was, that on the 9th of November, 1906, the Secretary of State entered into a contract in writing with Mr. John Mullan and the firm of Ralston & Siddons to prosecute the claims of the State against the United States, and it was agreed that whatever sum was collected should be paid to the Treasurer and the compensation of the attorneys, which was to be ten per centum on the amount recovered, was to be audited and paid as other claims against the State. On the 31st day of December, 1908, I received a telegram from Ralston & Siddons that the court of claims had, on that day, made an award in favor of the State for $199,000.00, and I suppose the money will in due course be paid into the treasury. I am glad to report the matter to you, for the claim has been pending a long time for adjustment and settlement.
FOREST RESERVE RECEIPTS
The receipts from the forest reserves in Oregon for the year ending June 30, 1907, was as follows: Blue Mountains, E. and W., $59,648.55; Cascade, N. & S., $25,515.89; Freemount, $4,467.37; Goose Lake, $11,617.37; Heppner, $8,130.97; Imnaha (Chesnimunus) and Wallowa, $22,073.36; Maury Mountains, $771.94; Siskiyou, $489.91; Wenaha; $7,093.55. Total $139.808.91. Ten per cent of this amount, to-wit, $13,980.89, was received by me from the Federal authorities and by me paid to the Treasurer of the State October 30, 1907.
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 accordance with agricultural appropriation act for 1908, approved March 4, 1907.
FIVE PER CENTUM FUND
Five per centum of the sales of public lands within the State for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1907, amounting to $74,001.17, and from the same source for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, amounting to $66,870.49, has been received by me from the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and paid over by me to the State Treasurer, to be distributed in conformity with law.
The reports of the State Land Board and State Land Agent show the transactions of the board with respect to school, indemnity and other State lands. The price of school lands has been raised to $5.00 per acre, and in some cases a slightly larger price has been obtained, while the price received for indemnity lands is $8.75 per acre, which covers the expenses incident to perfecting the selections, netting the State about $8.65 per acre. At no time in the history of the State has so large a price been received, for it must not be forgotten that the prices now being obtained are for lands which are left over after the best of the princely grant which was made to the State had been disposed of in former years. It is very greatly to be regretted that the school lands were not in years past held for higher prices, for had this been done the Irreducible School Fund might have been large enough to have made it unnecessary to levy a tax for the support of public schools.
The report of the State Land Board with reference to desert lands shows the present statutes of each of the segregations made under the provisions of the Carey Act, and contains the forms of contract, together with the rules and regulations which have form time to time been adopted by the board for the protection of the State, the irrigation companies, and the settlers. Your attention is particularly called to these reports, and I am glad to advise you that with the exception of a suit now pending with reference to the Columbia Southern Irrigating Company, no trouble is being experienced in caring for or disposing of the public lands of the State.
THE SOLDIERS’ HOME
There were 131 veterans of the Mexican, Civil, Indian and Spanish-American wars in the home on the 30th day of September, 1908. By virtue of a rule which was adopted before my incumbency, those drawing a pension in excess of $12.00 per month were not admitted to the home, but on the 27th day of February, 1906, this limit was changed to $20.00 per month, for the reason that there were many old soldiers who could not live on their pension, and who were yet deprived of the privileges of a home. As soon as the change in this limit was made, the commandant reports that the membership increased to its present number.
The home is in excellent condition, and the relations between the old soldiers and the commandant, officers, and employees is most cordial. The ranks of the old veterans are gradually thinning, and those who, by reason of wounds, ill-health, and misfortune are unable to earn a support, are entitled to the tenderest consideration of both the State and Nation.
ASYLUM FOR THE INSANE
The report of the superintendent deals at length with present conditions and needs of this institution, and I invite your particular attention thereto. It will be necessary, as is suggested by the superintendent, to expend quite a considerable sum of money in order to place the asylum in a condition to properly care for and treat the inmates along the lines of improved methods for the care of the insane. The superintendent and his assistants are to be commended for many innovations which they have made, particularly with reference to the installation of a bacteriological department, and the arrangement of quarters with the limited means at their command for the treatment and separation of patients afflicted with tuberculosis. The record of the percentage of recoveries as disclosed by the superintendent’s report is quite remarkable, and it is due to the splendid attention bestowed upon these unfortunate wards of the State.
It cannot be too persistently urged upon your attention that better facilities must be installed soon for protection against fire. The State has had one warning, and nothing but prompt and vigorous action upon the part of the officers and attendants at the asylum, ably assisted by the fire department of the city of Salem, prevented the entire destruction of the main asylum building, and the possible loss of a number of lives. This happened since the adjournment of the last legislature. Unless something is done, and that promptly, the time will come when there will be a most terrible holocaust at the institution. The responsibility must rest upon the legislature, and not upon the Board of Trustees and the superintendent and officers of the asylum, who have not been given the means with which to install suitable safe-guards against fire, although the warning has been sounded and the demand has been made time and time again in the past and is renewed now, both by the superintendent and by me. The institution is now crowded to its limit, and moneys must be appropriated either to build a new asylum or enlarge the facilities of the present one. The population thereof increase in proportion as the population of the State increases, and it is safe to predict that in ten years the population will increase 100 per cent.
I trust that a committee of the legislature will carefully investigate conditions at this institution and report fully as to the needs thereof.
Acting upon the assumption that the purposes to be subserved by the administration of criminal justice are three-fold, namely: First, the protection of society; second, the punishment of the wrong-doer, and third, his reformation, the penitentiary has been conducted during the last six years along lines entirely at variance with those heretofore in vogue. Stripes have been done away with; cruel and unusual punishments have been abolished, and although strict discipline is maintained, the prisoners are treated more humanely than ever before. The result has been good, and it has been found that where a disposition upon the part of the officials is evinced to place some confidence in the prisoner, it is appreciated, and is not apt to be betrayed.
It has been my policy to assist wherever possible in restoring convicts to useful citizenship, particularly where in my opinion the three purposes of punishment have been attained. In this work I have had the active co-operation of the superintendent, wardens, and employees of the prison, as well as the Prisoners’ Aid Society, Rev. E.W. St. Pierre, and Father A.A. Moore, and have made it a part of my duty to keep in touch with the institution by visiting it on frequent occasions and according the inmates interview whenever requested so to do.
Under the indeterminate sentence law passed in 1905, when a minimum term of sentence has expired, and there is some one ready to take the prisoner, give him employment and report monthly upon his conduct, it has been usual to parole such prisoner, except in cases of “repeaters,” but unless there is an opportunity to furnish employment to the convict to as to take away from him the temptation to fall back again into criminal ways, he is not usually paroled at the expiration of the minimum term of sentence. In the cases of those released it has been ascertained that most all of them returned to useful employment, and in only a few instances have the paroles been revoked and the prisoner returned to serve out his unexpired term.
I have also, during my term, conceived the idea of conditionally commuting of pardoning a prisoner where the facts involved in the conviction seemed to warrants it, reserving the right upon condition broken to return him to the penitentiary. This conditional commutation or pardon has been sustained by the Supreme Court of this State, and it has been found to be a strong factor in restraining the released prisoner from the commission of a crime.
The administration of justice is uneven. To illustrate: There are ten judicial districts in the State. A many may be convicted in one of a simple felony, and sentenced to a long term in the penitentiary; while in another, where the crime committed is the same and under almost identical circumstances, the prisoner may be given a very short term. It seems to me that it is a part of the duty of the executive branch of the government to equalize, where conditions warrant, this apparent inequality in the administration of justice. It may be that I have exercised too frequently the power of the Executive in behalf of prisoners, and that an occasional mistake has been made, but in the aggregate the results accomplished have been most beneficial, for the public has been relieved of the support of the convict, he has been restored to useful citizenship, and in many cases he has returned to the support of a dependent family, who, during his incarceration, were the objects of charity.
The efforts in most States have been directed to making the prisoner earn, during his term of imprisonment, his cost to the State, but that effort, it seems to me, has been in the wrong direction. Experience has proven to me that men are now confined in prison who have wives and little children supported by public charity, while the prisoners are barely earning for the State their daily bread. A poor return, indeed, is the mere pittance for the suffering of the family and their burden to the community! Some system ought to be adopted and crystallized into a statute which would leave the prisoner to be supported by the State, but compel his earnings to be paid to his wife and family. If a general policy of road construction with convict labor is to be adopted, the earnings of the prisoner should go to the support of those dependent upon his labor, if there are such persons; otherwise, to the State, to be kept until the release of the individual, so that he may not be turned out penniless to return to a criminal career. In a word, it is cheaper for the taxpayer to maintain the prisoner during his incarceration and give to those dependent upon him, or reserve for him as a capital to begin life with anew upon his discharge, his earnings during imprisonment.
I call attention to the report of the superintendent for detailed information as to the prison, and take occasion to commend him and the officers and employees thereof for the excellent discipline that has been maintained, the hygienic condition of the prison, and the generally improved methods which have been successfully carried out and which have been instrumental in placing the Oregon State Penitentiary in the forefront of the model penal institution of the country.
TAKING PRISONERS TO THE PENITENTIARY
A great saving can be effected in the matter of bringing prisoners to the penitentiary if the same system is adopted with reference to that institution as was heretofore adopted with respect to patients for the asylum. Convicts should be conveyed to the penitentiary by officials of that institution, without other cost than their actual expenses.
The cost for this service to the State under the present system for the two years ending September 30, 1906, was $13,573.45 for 378 prisoners, an average cost of $35.91 per capita. For the two years ending September 30, 1908, it was $17,726.74 for 462 prisoners, an average cost of $38.37 per capita. The cost of conveying 314 insane patients from July 1, 1905, to July 1, 1906, was $5,668.52, an average cost of $18.05 per capita. For the two years ending September 30, 1908, it was $14,911.12 for 992 insane, an average cost of $16.91 per capita.
It will thus be seen that a saving of more than fifty per centum may be made to the State, and the prisoners transported in custody of men trained in the work.
INSTITUTE FOR THE FEEBLE-MINDED
The report of the superintendent of the Institute for the Feeble-Minded shows that the institution has just been completed and is being organized for the purpose of its creation. Your attention is directed to this report for information as to what has been done during the few weeks that the institution has been open for the reception of the feeble-minded, and for the recommendations made as to future needs.
There is no question but that the institution will be a factor for greater good.
OTHER STATE INSTITUTIONS
The reports of the superintendent of the Oregon Institute for the Blind, for Deaf-Mutes, and the Reform School are before you for consideration. These are so replete with information that I do not deem it necessary to do more than call your attention thereto and to the recommendations of the several superintendents.
The institution are well managed, and keep abreast with those of their kind in other States of the Union.
STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE
The annual fair held under the auspices of the State Board of Agriculture has grown to be one of the most important factors in industrial, agricultural, and horticultural development. The last showed an increase in receipts over any one previously held of about twenty-five per centum, as shown by the following:
Receipts for 1902 $19,240.56
Receipts for 1903 $25,375.83
Receipts for 1904 $22,444.02
Receipts for 1906 $23,103.22
Receipts for 1907 $36,375.55
Receipts for 1908 $45,114.47
It may be safely claimed that no one factor has played a more important part in stimulating the livestock interest, in improving methods in agriculture and in horticulture, and in attracting the attention of the people of other States to the possibility of our soil and climate. Because of the inadequacy of buildings and accommodations for exhibitors and others, the board was compelled last year to incur an indebtedness of $6,249.40, as follows:
Addition to grandstand, 30x260 feet $3,975.50
Race department stables, 40x220 feet $1,250.00
Creamery annex $950.00
Grandstand extras $25.70
Horse barn and creamery extras $48.20
These improvements were of a permanent nature and were necessary to meet the public demands, and I recommend that an amount sufficient to meet their payment be appropriated.
The amount appropriated annually for the payment of premiums is too small, and it has been exceeded each year as the fair has grown in usefulness and importance, and it is because a part of the general fund has been used for premiums that the above indebtedness had to be incurred. The appropriation for premiums ought to be increased to meet the growing demands of the people for a first-class agricultural fair.
Many improvements of a permanent nature are needed, and I earnestly request that a committee be appointed by the legislature to examine the grounds, confer with the officers of the board and report on just what is necessary to be done.
WATER SUPPLY FOR STATE INSTITUTIONS
As the population of the State increases, that of the charitable, penal, and reformatory institutions increases in the same proportion. The question of a more ample and purer water supply is becoming a vital one, and particularly with reference to the insane asylum. The health of the unfortunates confined in this institution must suffer unless something is done in the very near future to relieve the conditions as to water, for an epidemic of typhoid fever and other diseases always is imminent under present conditions. The citizens of Salem have already appointed committees to investigate the possibility of securing an ample water supply from one or the other of the mountain streams to the east of the city, and to secure estimates of probably cost of construction of a pipe line and a distributive system. This line must of necessity come within easy reach of the State institutions, and I deem it advisable to suggest that a committee of the legislature be appointed to confer with a committee of the citizens of Salem to ascertain if it might not be feasible for the city and State to cooperate in the construction of a waterworks system upon some basis that might be equitable and just to all concerned. This, in my opinion, will be much more economical than for the State to proceed independently in the matter.
The growth of the State, and the development of its business institutions has been so rapid, that it seems to me the time has arrived for making some change in the insurance laws for the better protection of the people. The law which requires the deposit of $50,000 with the State Treasurer as a condition upon which foreign insurance companies may do business in the State, results: First, in keeping many strong companies out of the State, and, second, in driving business men to insure with companies outside of the State, because those here have not the facilities for carrying the amount of insurance necessary for full protection. If security is to be demanded from a company as a condition to its doing business in the State, a surety company’s bond ought to be sufficient to protect the holders of policies and those doing business with such company. The suggestion is often made that a repeal of the deposit law will result in inviting irresponsible underwriters to the State, but this can be guarded against by establishing an Insurance Department and the appointment of a capable Insurance Commissioner as is done in other States. Such a department ought to be created now, and ought to be entirely divorced from the office of the Secretary of State. It is impossible for this latter officer, with the numerous duties which the law devolves upon him, to give that attention to the insurance business of the State which its importance requires. The Insurance Department should be presided over by an experienced Insurance Commissioners. With such a department and such a commissioners, vested with ample authority, there would be no danger to our people on account of the admission to the State of irresponsible companies. I trust that this matter will be taken up serious by the legislature and given that careful consideration which its importance demands.
The Agricultural College and the State University are in excellent condition, and the enrollment at both of these institutions is larger than ever before. The policy has been to raise the standard of both each year, bringing them on a par with the higher educational institutions of the country. Like all of the State institutions, with the increase of population in the State, the enrollment of the schools will be greater, demanding each year larger appropriations to meet actual needs. I hope that committees of the legislature will visit both the University and the Agricultural College and acquaint themselves with the present needs of both institutions.
Under an act of the last legislature the Normal schools of the State were placed under one Board of Regents and their report has been filed with the Governor. It will be found that there is a greater uniformity in the course of study, and a better system in vogue in these schools, under one Board of Regents, than was possible under a board for the control of each. There is no question but that there is a necessity for training schools for teachers for the public schools of the State, and if these training schools are to be maintained they ought to be placed on the basis of the highest efficiency. A majority of the Board of Regents have recommended the continuance of the Normal schools at Monmouth, Ashland, and Weston, and have called attention to their needs, if they are to be continued. The appropriations suggested are large, but they are no larger than will be necessary to thoroughly equip and maintain the schools so as to attain the best results. It is folly to undertake to educate and train teachers for the public schools by any starvation policy. In order to have a good public school system it is necessary to have well trained teachers, and they cannot be obtained except from properly equipped Normal schools.
I trust the legislature will once and for all settle the Normal school question, and probably the best way to do it is to act upon the recommendation of the regents and make provision for maintaining three schools in the State.
INDIAN WAR VETERANS
For more than half a century the State has neglected to pay a just debt due from it to those who risked their lives and gave their property for the protection of the homes of the early settlers of this State. There is no question but that the different Indian tribes of Oregon and Washington in 1855 and prior thereto, entered into an alliance to prevent any further settlement of the white man in the Northwest. The Governor of Oregon Territory called for volunteers to suppress hostilities, and those who responded to the call furnished their own arms, horses and equipment. The legislature of the Territory, of 1856, agreed to pay the volunteers while engaged in these Indian wars at the rate of $2.00 per day for their services, $2.00 per day for the use of their horses, and further pay for horses lost, killed or disabled while in service . Claims of the survivors of these wars have been paid within the past few years so far as personal services were concerned, but the State has neglected to compensate them for the use of their horses or for those which were disabled, or lost. If the obligation for personal service was a just one, the latter is equally as binding upon the State, and the survivors of these early Indian wars ought to be paid by the State the moneys which are justly due them. It is not a question of charity, it is a debt of honor, which the State cannot afford to repudiate.
The Railroad Commission has been in existence scarcely two years, but the work it has done has already vindicated the judgment of those who advocated its creation with ample powers and the legislature which passed it. No one who has the best interest of the State at heart will for a moment listen to a suggestion for the repeal of the present law. The commission has moved with caution and with extreme conservatism, but it has accomplished splendid results, and its members are to be commended. Attention was first given to betterment of the service, and a comparison of the service today with that of two years ago is invited to prove that its efforts have resulted in improvement. It has brought about the bulletining of delayed trains, regulations have been prescribed and enforced as to the hours that station buildings should be opened, and as to lighting and heating of depots, and lighting of platforms, as well as to sanitary conveniences at stations and on trains; new depots have been ordered and constructed at Albany, Gaston, Airlie, and Lyons, and additional station facilities have been procured for Woodburn, Monmouth, Salem, Anlauf, Haines, Jefferson Street, Portland, Milwaukie, and other stations. The commission has done efficient work in the matter of livestock shipments; the service is now better than ever before, the years are cleaner, and prices for feed more reasonable, and in addition to these things, new years, loading chutes and other conveniences have been constructed at various places.
The commission has taken up many questions involving rates, and some of these are pending in the courts. In the Portland distributive rate case a reduction amounting to about fourteen per centum on all shipments between Portland and points east of The Dalles was ordered. This order was enjoined in the Federal Court, and is now pending there. Fares were reduced on the Milwaukie-Oak Grove line, and appeals from the order are now pending in the courts. A readjustment of passenger fares on the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad on a more uniform and somewhat lower basis was secured, and a freight schedule put in force on the Coos Bay, Roseburg and Eastern Railroad and Navigation Company. The rates charged for transportation of grain from Eastern Oregon to Portland, and all rates charged by express companies, are now under investigation, and many minor complaints relating to individual rates have been adjusted without litigation.
Although no funds were made available for that purpose, the commission has been investigating and making considerable progress in arriving at the valuation of the various railroads in the State, following the Wisconsin and Minnesota plan of having the railroads submit inventories and appraisements covering the original cost and cost of reproduction. Testimony has already been taken as to about 800 miles, and the railroads are preparing inventories and appraisements as to about 1,100 miles more. This, when done, will cover practically all the important lines in the State. The information thus obtained can be readily verified as to original cost items, and by the employment of one or more competent engineers to check the engineering items which require expert analysis. The method prescribed by the commission is by far the cheapest, and has been found to be just as efficacious as having the State making the inventory in the first instance. The importance of a determination of the value of property devoted to the public use is evident, as it is, or ought to be, the basis of rate-making, taxation, and capitalization. The increase in transcontinental rates, effective the 1st instant, both east and west bound, is under investigation by the commission, and it is proposed in the near future to take some appropriate action in references thereto. The effect of this increase in rates is far-reaching, and affects the welfare of the entire West, and an exhaustive examination will be necessary to ascertain even approximately the extent of the increase.
The commission is to be commended for the splendid work it has done, is doing, and will do. It has usually been able to get the railroad companies to comply with its requirements without litigation, and it is probably that much more can be done in future than has been done in the past.
I call particular attention to the report of the Oregon Library Commission. It shows a steadily increasing interest in libraries and in library work throughout the State. The commission serves the cities of the State which are organizing public libraries by the practical held of a trained librarian, as well as the villages and other districts by supplying library facilities which the State offers these communities in place of the library advantages of the cities. The plan of the commission to make its State Library a traveling one has resulted in the collection of 5,000 of the best books distributed throughout the State at ninety stations, with a record of about 25,000 books loaned to readers during the biennial period. The commission has delivered to the schools of the State during this period 54,825 volumes, at a cost of $30,589.79, the method of purchase resulting in a saving of about one-third to the schools.
The debate libraries and the legislative reference work of the commission have shown the demand of the people of Oregon for information upon public questions from the experience of other States and communities in matters of public policy. Hundreds of collections of literature have been sent to debating societies, granges, schools, and public men, and many investigations have been made for members of the legislature. The limited resources of the commission have been taxed to the utmost to mete the demands made upon it, and the people of the State seem to appreciate the fact that no citizen of Oregon is deprived of the library privileges which the State has to offer. Under the initiative and referendum amendment to the constitution, every man is a law-maker, and everyone must pass upon public measures of first importance, therefore every voter should have the use of the best facilities the commission is able to give to educate and enlighten him upon the duties of citizenship.
OREGON NATIONAL GUARD
The Oregon National Guard was never in a higher state of efficiency than at this time, and your attention is called to the report of the Adjutant-General for information as to its present condition. Larger support is given each year by Congress to the States for assisting in the equipment, maintaining, and instruction of the National Guard, because it is better understood now than ever before, that in time of war it is to a well-trained militia that we must look for protection. In the very nature of things the standing army is small, but it serves the purpose of protection in times of peace and is a splendid factor for instruction whenever it becomes necessary to call the militia into service. The personnel of the National Guard of this State is one of the best, composed as it is of the flower of our youth from every walk of life, and I bespeak for its needs, as suggested by the Adjutant-General, your deliberate consideration.
CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
In May last there was held at the White House in Washington City, a conference of the Governors of the States and Territories with the President and his advisers and others, pursuant to a call of the President, for the purpose of discussing the natural resources of the country and taking steps looking to their conservation. Later, the President appointed a National Conservation Commission to act in co-operation with State Conservation Commissions, and a conference of the National and State commissions was held in Washington City in December, 1908, to further consider the questions for which the first conference was called at the White House. The attention of the country has been called by these meetings to the rapid depletion of our natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, and to the necessity of co-operation upon the part of the Nation and the States for the conservation of those resources which now remain and the reproduction of those which it is possible to reproduce.
In many of the States the forest have been destroyed; the coal and iron mines are being wastefully robbed of their stores; soil erosion is rapidly taking place as the result of deforestation; the navigable streams are in flood at certain seasons and unnavigable at others for the same reason, and the time has arrived when something must be done by State and Nation for the protection of the present and future generations. Oregon is the richest State in the Union in forest and in mineral resources which have not been destroyed to satisfy individual or corporate greed, and it behooves our people to see to it that these resources are cared for and protected. The Oregon commission appointed by me in pursuance of the request of the President, consist of the following well-known citizens of the State”: Mr. J.N. Teal, Mr. C.S. Jackson; Mr. R.W. Montague; Professor J.R. Wilson, and Mr. J.C. Stevens, of Portland; Hon. R.S. Bean and Professor F.G. Young, of Eugene; Mr. Austin T Buxton and Hon. Wilbur K. Newell, of Washington County; Hon. J.N. Hart, of Baker City; Judge Will R. King, of Ontario; Professor E.R. Lake, of Corvallis; Hon. Frank J Miller, of Albany; Hon. C.B. Watson, of Ashland, and Mr. J.H. Lewis, State Engineer, of Salem. These gentlemen, at a great sacrifice of time and money, set to work with diligence immediately after their appointment, and prepared a splendid report of the natural resources of Oregon, and their condition, finely illustrated and full of valuable statistical information. Theirs was the only printed report in evidence at the recent conference in Washington City, and it was not only in great demand but presented in most excellent shape the present condition of the resources of the State. It is probably that the National and State Conservation Commissions will be continued, for they have but begun the work necessary to be done, though I believe that Federal control of the undisposed natural resources, as well as navigable waterways—State and inter-State, and tributary irrigation—is best, yet I fully realize the difficulties in the way of such control. In the meantime, as a means to the end of co-operation between the Federal and State authorities for the purpose of bringing about, if possible, the enactment of a uniform code, as well as for the purpose of collecting definite information as to the resources of the State, whether of forest, of mineral, of water, or of other related subjects, the commission ought to be created by act of the legislature and a limited appropriation made to defray the expense of the work necessary to be done to accomplish the purpose of its creation. Constant applications are made for some authoritative publication as to the State and its resources, and I know of not better body of men to prepare for distribution information as to the resources of the State.
THE FISHING INDUSTRY
Two bills were proposed by initiative petition at the last election regulating fishing on the Columbia River and its tributaries, and both were duly enacted. One was entitled “A Bill to propose by initiative petition a law to protect salmon and sturgeon in the waters of the Columbia River and its tributaries, and in the Sandy River, within the boundaries of the State of Oregon, and in all waters over which the State of Oregon has jurisdiction, and prescribing a penalty for a violation of the law.” And the other, “A Bill to propose by initiative petition a law for the protection of salmon and sturgeon in the waters of the Columbia and Sandy rivers and their tributaries, and prescribing a penalty for a violation of the law.”
The first measure radically changed existing laws as to fishing at the mouth of the Columbia River, and the second put an end to all fishing except with hook and line, commonly called angling, in the Columbia River or any of its tributaries, at any place up stream or easterly from its confluence with the Sandy River, as well as in the latter river and its tributaries.
The effect of these laws, aside from the fact that they are measurably conflicting and operate to radically change the pre-existing laws regulating fishing on the Columbia and its tributaries, is to bring the authorities in this State in conflict with those of the State of Washington with reference to the question of jurisdiction of the two States over the waters of the Columbia. The first act became operative from and after September 10, 1908, and at a time when, under the laws of the State of Washington, it was lawful to fish within the territory where the Oregon law made it unlawful and with devices prohibited by that law, if the contention of the Oregon authorities was correct that the jurisdiction of this State extended over the Columbia River to the Washington shore. The authorities of the latter State contended that the jurisdiction of the Oregon authorities extended only to the thread of the stream, and that between the thread of the stream and the Washington shore line the Oregon laws were of no force or effect. This conflict of opinion, when the Oregon authorities attempted to enforce the provisions of the laws between the thread of the Columbia River and the Washington shore in a season which was open under the laws of the latter State, and against fishermen who were duly licensed under the laws thereof, was about to lead to riot, when the Governors and other officials of the two States met in conference to devise, if possible, some means of averting bloodshed, which seemed inevitable. No adjustment could be arrived at because of opposing views as to the question of jurisdiction, and thereupon the State of Washington instituted a suit against the Master Fish Warden of Oregon and his deputies and enjoined them from interfering with or molesting those who were fishing on the Columbia River on the part thereof over which that State claimed jurisdiction, until the question of jurisdiction could be finally determined. The injunction was finally made general, and the case is now pending before the United States District Court for Oregon, and it is hoped that an early decision may soon be reached.
In the meantime, the two States ought to be able, through committees appointed by their respective legislatures for conference, to frame and pass laws which will be uniform, and have for their aim and purpose the protection of one of the greatest industries of the Northwest rather than the protection of the individuals who may happen to be engaged therein.
I call your attention to the report of Mr. H.C. McAllister, the Master Fish Warden, which is replete with information, and contained recommendations which he deems necessary for the protection of the fisheries industry.
A carefully prepared code of water laws was submitted to the last legislature for enactment, but was defeated. The need for such legislation was apparent then; it is more apparent now, and as time slips by and more land is brought under irrigation, the difficulties growing out of conflicting claims to the use of water become more difficult of adjustment. A sub-committee of the State Conservation Commission has been appointed to prepare a bill on the subject, to be submitted to the legislature. They have had the matter under careful consideration and have listened to discussions by experts on the subject, and there is no doubt but that a bill will be reported to meet the necessities in this State. It ought to receive the careful consideration of the legislature.
The experience of other States has proven that, in order to be effective, legislation upon the subject should cover:
1. Complete (Federal where that is possible, or) State control of diversions from streams. No water right in future should become vested except by appropriation under the laws, rules and regulations prescribed by the State, and the diversion of water without right from a public stream, including all knowingly wrongful interference with the rights of others, to the injury of another, should be made a misdemeanor.
2. A system whereby the priority and limitations of every existing right to the use of water can eventually be ascertained.
3. Provisions for a reliable record in some central office of all rights to the use of water as determined, and of new rights as initiated.
4. That actual measurements of ditches and streams be made as a basis for the adjudication of existing rights and for the initiation of new rights.
5. To provide a definite procedure whereby rights to the use of water can be acquired.
6. That beneficial use be made the basis, the measure, and the limit of all rights to the use of water, and that water for irrigation purposes should be made appurtenant to the land irrigated.
7. All rights to the use of water for power development should be limited to some specified time, subject to renewal under certain restrictions.
8. An efficient administrative system, with proper officers, for the distribution of the water supply among those entitled to its use.
9. An adequate system of fees payable to the State by those benefited, so that eventually the system shall become self-supporting.
UNAPPROPRIATED WATER POWERS
The unappropriated water powers of the State ought to be reserved for the use of the public. Many of the most valuable water powers have been appropriated by corporations and individuals, not for present, and sometimes not even for future use, but for the purposes of speculation. There is some evidence that a deliberate purpose has been formed by persons of other States who understand and know the future uses to which these powers may be put, to acquire, under laws now in force, the unappropriated powers of mountain and other streams. Some steps ought to be taken to prevent this. All rights to the use of water for power development should be limited to some specified time, subject to renewal under certain restrictions, and compensation should be charged by the State for the use thereof. If powers acquired for a limited and specified time are not put to beneficial use within that time, there should be a forfeiture thereof. The time will come when the water powers of this State which are at present unappropriated, will become very valuable, and if they are held by the State a revenue may be derived therefrom that will go far toward the reduction of taxation.
EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY LAW
An act was passed by the legislature of 1903 known as the “Fellow Servant Law.” It was made applicable to railway employees only, and has been most beneficial in its results. The purposes of the act should be extended to all employers for the protection of all employees. In theory it may appear all right to say, that there are certain open and visible risks which the employee ought to assume when he enters the employ of one engaged in a hazardous enterprise. But the necessities of the man seeking employment frequently compel him to take whatever offers to enable him to earn his daily bread. The employer has it in his power to furnish a safe place to work, and suitable and safe appliances and machinery to work with, leaving nothing to be assumed by the employee but the results of his own carelessness. He should use every device, care, and precaution practicable for the protection of life and limb, limited only by the necessity for preserving the efficiency of the structure, machine, or other apparatus or device, and without regard to the additional cost of suitable material or safety appliances and devices. If the business will not justify this precaution and expenditure, it were better that the business be not entered upon or that it be abandoned, rather than that human life and limb be made to pay the penalty.
In actions for injuries suffered by an employee, the negligence of a fellow servant should not be a defense where the injury was cause or contributed to by any of the following causes: Any defect in the structure, materials, works, plant, or machinery of which the employer or his agent could have had knowledge by the exercise of ordinary care; the neglect of any person engaged as superintendent, manage, foreman, or other person in charge or control of the works, plant, machinery, or appliances; the incompetence or negligence of any person in charge of or directing the particular work in which the employee was engaged at the time of the injury or death; the incompetence or negligence of any person to whose orders the employee was bound to conform and did conform, and by reason of his having conformed thereto, the injury or death resulted; the act of any fellow servant done in obedience to the rules, instructions or orders given by the employer or any other person who has authority to direct the doing of said act.
Nor should contributory negligence of the person injured be a defense, but only to be considered by the jury in determining the amount of damages to which a party might be entitled.
In my message to the legislature in 1905 I recommend for the consideration of that body a general employers’ liability law, but the recommendation was ignored, and I trust the matter will receive your earnest consideration. The enactment of such a law will do more than all else combined to protect life and limb, and it is particularly needed now when the State is entering upon an era of great development.
CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS
Many of the fatal accidents caused by the promiscuous sale and careless use of fire-arms, and much crime, can be avoided by a law that will restrict the sale and use of guns, pistols, and similar deadly weapons. The constitutional provision which give to every man the right to carry arms for his own defense, would not be abridged by the enactment of a law placing some restrictions upon the sale and use of deadly weapons. It ought to be made a misdemeanor to sell weapons except upon a permit to be issued by the sheriff, or some one upon whom might be devolved the duty of examining each applicant as to character and fitness, and the right to purchase should be denied to the drunkard, the minor, and the irresponsible person. Neither should guns or rifles be sold to persons except those who hold hunting permits for the current year. If a law embodying provisions along the line of these suggestions were enacted. I am sure it would result in avoiding many accidents and be a great protection to human life.
SUIT AGAINST THE OWNERS OF THE CANAL AND LOCKS AT WILLAMETTE FALLS
Under the provisions of an act passed by the legislature in 1882, the Willamette Falls and Locks Company, or those claiming under it, were required to certify to the Board of Canal Commissioners on January 1, 1883, and quarterly thereafter, the number of tons of freight and the number of passengers passing through the canal and locks and the number and names of the steamboats and other craft passing through the same for each quarter immediately preceding the return of said reports. Shortly after my inauguration as Governor in 1903, I began an investigation of the matter with the view of securing reports from the successor in interest of the Willamette Falls and Locks Company, so as to collect for the State for the benefit of the common school fund ten per centum of the net profits arising from tolls collected at the rate of fifty cents per ton for freight and ten cents for each passenger passing through the canal and locks. After some correspondence and one or more interviews with the officers of the Portland General Electric Company, the successor in interest of the original company, they refused to render any statement or make any report, claiming that the State had acquiesced in the company’s exercise of its claim of ownership in fee of the canal and locks and was stopped from making any claim for net profits under any act of the legislature. The matter was then submitted to the Attorney-General by me with a request for an opinion as to the liability of the company, and in October, 1905, the Attorney-General furnished me an opinion, in which he said, after reviewing all the acts of the legislature upon the subject: “Relative to this matter, I am of the opinion that the acts taken altogether and under authorities I am able to find upon the question, the construction and intention of the legislature and the corporation which constructed the locks was, that net profits should mean all receipts above the actual operating expenses and necessary repairs. If this is correct, then there should be some net profits each year to be accounted for. While I am unable to say in what light a court may look upon the matter, I am of the opinion the interests of the State are sufficient to warrant a suit being brought to settle the matter, and if your Board of Canal Commissioners are of the same opinion, after examining this communication, and direct that suit shall be brought therefore, I would suggest that instructions to that effect be issued by the board or your Excellency both to this office and to the District Attorney of the judicial district in which said suit must be brought in order to avoid any question as to whether the Attorney-General has authority to institute the suit.”
On the 14th day of November, 1905, the Board of Canal Commissioners requested the Attorney-General to take the matter up with the proper District Attorney and unite with him in instituting the proper proceeding for an accounting against the present owners of the canal and locks, and endeavor, if possible, to compel payment to the State of whatever sum might be ascertained to be due upon such accounting. Shortly thereafter suit was instituted in Multnomah County by the Attorney-General and the District Attorney against the Portland General Electric Company to collect ten per centum of the net profits arising from tolls collected on the canal and locks under the statute. Issue was joined, and the court decided against the State’s claim, but on appeal, the Supreme Court on the 12th day of May, 1908, reversed the decree of the lower court and remanded the case to the lower court with instructions to sustain the demurrer of the State to each of the defenses of the defendant, and for such other proceedings as might be proper. The cause is now pending in the lower court, and it is hoped that an accounting will in due course be had and a considerable sum recovered for the use of the common school fund.
I am glad to take this occasion to commend the ability with which this case has been handled by the Attorney-General, the District Attorney, and Hon. W.P Loard, who assisted in the trial in the Supreme Court. The just claim of the State has been already too long delayed and an early determination of the matter is a consummation most devoutly to be wished for.
In some of the States, steps are being taken to secure the election of a non-partisan judiciary. This state ought not to be behind others in this important progressive movement. Each of the several parties might nominate candidates at the primary elections, and when the nominations are made the names of the candidates nominated could be arranged on the ballot for the general election in alphabetical order without disclosing the party to which they belong. This would require the voter to exercise the power of selection, and I am sure the result would be more satisfactory and eliminate politics entirely from the judicial department of the government.
BANK GUARANTY LAW
The question of enacting a law for the protection of the depositors in State banks has been generally discussed since the panic of one year ago, and numerous bills will doubtless be up for consideration. I am sure that of those presented one can be selected which will accomplish the purposes proposed and not be unjust to those engaged in the banking business by the imposition of restrictions so sever, and a tax so burdensome, as to seriously interfere with the conduct of the banking business. Oklahoma has a law on the subject which is said to give general satisfaction, and has been instrumental in attracting a large volume of money from other State. The effect of such a law will be salutary, and will lead to conservatism rather than to recklessness in the conduct of the banking business, and at the same time protect the depositor and mitigate the evils of the occasional panic.
RELIEF FOR SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court, as at present constituted, was organized twenty years ago. Since that time the population of the State has more than doubled, and the business of the court is more than four times as great as it was when it was organized. Temporary relief was granted at the last session of the legislature by the creation of a commission, and that commission will soon expire by limitation unless the law providing therefore is re-enacted by the present legislature. There are two ways to relieve the court of the work which it is impossible for three Justices to perform: First by the addition of new Justices; second, by the creation of a commission.
The best way, because it is the direct and honest way to do, is to provide by law for the addition of at least two new Justices. Can this be done?
No rule is more clearly established than that a constitution of a State is a limitation and not a grant of power, from which it follows that a legislature may enact any law not expressly or impliedly inhibited by the constitution. The question, then, with which you are confronted in determining whether you have the power to add more Justices to the Supreme Court must be tested by this rule, in respect to which it is necessary to its solution only to determine whether the constitution of this State limits the number of Justices to constitute the Supreme Court, and if so, to what number.
This question has been looked into by many of the prominent lawyers throughout the State and thus far practically all who have fully investigated the subject agree that it is within the power of the legislature to increase the number of Justices, so long as the number does not exceed seven. But very few, after a full consideration, are inclined to doubt the constitutionality of a measure increasing the number of Justices, and their view appear to be based upon the construction to be given section 10 of article VII of our constitution, which provides for the election of Supreme and circuit court judges in distinct classes, and manifestly overlooking section 2 of the same article. To confine the investigation to section 2 is to violate the rule of construction that the entire constitution must be construed together, and that when two constructions are possible, one of which raises a conflict or takes away the meaning of any section or word, and the other does not, the interpretation must be given which will harmonize and give effect to the whole.
Section 2 of article VII is as follows: “the Supreme Court shall consist of four Justices to be chosen in districts by electors thereof, who shall be citizens of the United States, and who shall have resided in the State at least three years next preceding their election, and after their election to reside in their respective districts. The number of Justices or districts may be increased, but shall not exceed five until the whole population of the State shall amount to 100,000, and shall never exceed seven; and the boundaries of districts may be changed, but no change of districts shall have the effect to remove a Judge from office, or require him to change his residence without his consent.”
Section 10 of article VII is as follows: “When the white population of the State shall amount to 200,000, the Legislative Assembly may provide for the election of Supreme and circuit judges in distinct classes, one of which classes shall consist of three Justices of the Supreme Court who shall not perform circuit duty, and the other class shall consist of the necessary number of circuit court judges who shall hold full terms without allotment and who shall take the same oath as the Supreme Judges.”
It seems to me that construing these two sections together it clearly provides that the minimum number of Justices shall be three, and that the most favorable construction possible to any limitation is that the number shall never exceed seven. To limit the number to three would be to disregard entirely the words “shall never exceed seven.” It would be as logical to see the word “three” should be modified by the words “not less than three,” and have it read that the number of Justices shall never be less than three, as to hold that it was intended to be qualified by the words “and no more,” making it read shall “consist of three Justices and no more.”
It will be observed from the first section quoted, with other sections of the constitution, that four Justices were first provided for, and that the number, with the districts from which they were to be elected until the population reached 100,000, were limited to five, and that after the population exceeded 100,000, should never exceed seven. It is this section that creates the office of Justice of the Supreme Court and provides what the limit should be after the State grew to exceed the population there specified.
Further provision is made by section 8 of article VII for the Justices performing circuit duty. The words “shall never exceed seven” could not have been intended to limit the number of circuit judges, for under that section they were not to be termed “circuit judges,” but were to be Justices of he Supreme Court, and section 10 provides for a distinct class (or give the legislature the power so to provide) and the time when circuit judges shall appear and be recognized as such, and that they shall consist of such number as may be necessary. There was no occasion in that section for placing a limit upon the number of Justices to constitute the Supreme Court, for that was done by section 2, where that office was created. The material parts of section 2 bearing on this feature, omitting incidental provisions, reads: “The Supreme Court shall consist of four Justices * * * the number of Justices may be increased * * * and shall never exceed seven.” Section 10 was not creating a Supreme Court, hence the rules of construction relative to limiting the number to the number specified can not apply. This court was created by section 2, and only the circuit court was authorized to be created by section 10, and the power given to the legislature to segregate the two courts and divide them into classes. It only authorized the legislature to act in the matter and to provide for the divisions into these two classes. In order, therefore, that both sections may stand, it must be held that it was intended that the minimum should be three and the maximum as provided in section 2. This would , in effect, leave it as the court stood when the four Justices performed circuit duty, for when a cause was appealed, the trial judge did not sit in the case appealed, leaving three Justices to sit and hear the appeal. When, therefore, section 10 came into effect by reason of the population reaching 200,000, it was intended that the number of Justices should not be reduced below the number formerly sitting in all cases, hence specified that it shall consist of three, which, with the other limitation of “shall never exceed seven,” was and is clear. The necessity of changing the minimum from four to three is manifest, and when construed with the other provisions of the article of the constitution of which it is a part, is only susceptible of the construction that it was not intended as a limitation upon the number to constitute our highest court. As stated by the late Justice Hailey, in a brief prepared on the subject after his service on the bench and but a few months before his demise, “The object for which the constitution was enacted was to secure a government, and one of the departments of that government is the judicial, and the Supreme Court of the judicial department. And it was and is the purpose of the constitution that each department should be efficient and able to perform the duties devolving upon it. To say that the framers of our constitution intended to limit forever the number of Justices of the Supreme Court to three, is to place a very low estimate, indeed, upon their intelligence, and to condemn largely their opinion as to the future prospects and development of this now great State.
“The judicial department of our State was organized for the purpose of furthering the interests of government by performing its ordinary judicial functions in the disposition of litigation, and it was unquestionably intended by the makers of the constitution to so organize that department that it would meet the ends and objects for which it was organized. To say that the framers of our constitution intended that three men should for all time do all the work which necessarily devolves upon the Supreme Court of a great and growing State is, it seems to me, a very narrow and uncharitable view to take of the wisdom of the founders of this State. It seems to me rather that the broader, better, and more charitable and more logical view is that they intended to provide, and did provide in effect, for a court which should be of not less than a certain number nor more than a certain number, in order that whatever volume of business might come to that court it could be readily increased to a sufficient number for the proper performance of its functions.”
It has been suggested that since a proposed amendment, having for its purpose, among other things, the increase of the number of Justices, was voted down at the last election, further action in that direction would be ill-advised. This objection, however, is without foundation, for the reason that it is difficult to ascertain the cause of its defeat. It provided for other changes, principal among which was included a probably change in the entire judicial system, including the circuit and county judiciary, which change met with strong opposition throughout the State. Another feature which aroused strong opposition among the electors who favor direct legislation, was that the amendment proposed to give the legislature the exclusive power to increase or decrease the membership of the Supreme Court at its will, depriving the people of any right in this respect through the initiative and referendum system of law-making in the State. No active and affirmative effort was made to secure its adoption, while the combined opposition made its adoption with these various “riders” impossible. It is also probably that it was assumed that the legislature, or the people through the initiative, could increase the Supreme Court to meet the greatly increased demands before it, without a constitutional amendment for the purpose, and, rather than accept all the proposed changes, preferred to leave this matter to another effort in that direction, either through the legislature or by direct vote on the subject.
If you differ from me in reference to your power to provide for additional Justices, then the law under which the present temporary commission is acting ought to be re-enacted for another term. The refusal to grant the Supreme Court relief, in one or the other of the two ways suggested, is a virtual denial of justice to all who are unfortunate enough to be involved in litigation. I submit this whole matter to you for your very careful consideration.
NATIONAL AND STATE EXPERIMENT STATION
Some time ago the citizens of Umatilla County undertook to have the reclamation branch of the Interior Department establish an experiment and demonstration farm at some point on the Umatilla irrigation project, and finally, after the matter was again taken up by President W.J. Kerr, of the Oregon Agricultural Station, the Secretary of the Interior, following our the suggestion of President Kerr for co-operation, agreed upon this plan. On the 21st day of November, 107, the secretary wrote President Kerr that he had authorized the use of $3,500.00 of the reclamation fund for providing permanent improvements and equipment for a demonstration farm on the project mentioned, and had directed that the preparation of the farm be undertaken and carried to completion as soon as possible. This action, however, he announced, was taken by him with the understanding that an earnest effort would be made to secure authority and funds from the legislature to maintain and operate this demonstration farm in the interest of settlers.
The importance of this work will be better appreciated when it is remembered that there are thousands of homes being established on irrigated lands by settlers who know nothing of irrigation or the possibilities of the land upon which water has been placed. Most of the lands embraced within the several irrigation projects, whether under Federal or private construction, are of the same character and governed by the same conditions, and experimental farming on the Umatilla project will serve as an object lesion for other districts.
I submit the matter for your consideration, and trust the legislature will not let this opportunity pass for co-operative work with the Federal Reclamation Service.
The legislature at its last session appropriated $300,000.00 to assist the United States in acquiring, by purchase or otherwise, a canal and locks at the falls of the Willamette. It was provided, however, that within three years the United States was to appropriate a like sum, and upon failure so to do the appropriation made by the State was to be and become a part of the general fund. In other words, the purpose of the act was to fail. And yet Congress has done nothing. The present canal and locks are owned by a private corporation, vested by law with the power of levying a tax of not to exceed fifty cents a ton upon every pound of freight in either direction, and ten cents for each passenger carried, passing through the locks.
This rate, fixed by law, establishes as well the rail, as the water rate, and imposes an enormous burden upon the producers and consumers of the whole Willamette Valley directly, and indirectly largely upon those of the whole State. Whether the United States complies with the act or not (and the prospects for compliance are not flattering), the legislature should continue it in force, and a fund ought to be accumulated sufficient to enable the State to proceed independently if necessary. The canal and locks ought to be owned and operated free of charge by the United States, but if Congress declines to act, they should be owned and operated by the State, and this unjust burden removed form the enterprise and industry of the people.
PRIVATE INSANE ASYLUMS
There are a number of private institutions in this State for the reception, care and treatment of the insane. Many persons of all ages, sexes, and conditions are now confined therein, and the number is increasing each year in proportion to the increase in the State’s population. They should be compelled to submit, by proper enactment, to visitation and investigation by some public visitorial board, and required to report at regular intervals to such board as fully and as completely as do the institutions under State control. I do not mean to charge that these are any irregularities or cruelties practiced in any of these private asylums. It is to guard against such things that this suggestion is made, for under present conditions it is possible to confine a patient in one of these establishments and to keep him there for all time, or as long as some interested party may be willing to pay. Just so sure as legislation along these lines is not enacted, there will come a time when the State will be scandalized by stories of brutality and of crimes committed within the recesses of some one or other of these private institutions.
ANNIVERSARY OF OREGON’S ADMISSION
Oregon was admitted to the Union on the 14th day of February, 1859. The Oregon Historical Society has for some time been making arrangements for suitably celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this important event, and as the day occurs on Sunday this year, the day before will probably be selected for the proper observance . The preliminary arrangements have doubtless been made, but it is proper that the State be represented in whatever is done, and to that end I recommend that a committee from the Senate and House be appointed to co-operate with the Oregon Historical Society in making the occasion a noteworthy one, and that an appropriation be made sufficient to defray the expenses incident thereto.
Many States have enacted laws making February 12th a legal holiday in honor of the birthday of the immortal Abraham Lincoln. Oregon ought not to be the last State to do honor to “one of the few immortal names that were not born to die.” I suggest that the day be added to the list of those now observed as legal holidays.
The world is coming to understand that while tuberculosis is one of the greatest scourges of the human race, yet that it is a preventable disease and, in a large percentage of cases, curable if taken in time and properly treated. The legislatures of many of the States have passed laws having for their object the prevention of the spread of the disease and appropriating money to establish sanataria where it can be properly treated. Oregon has done nothing, and measures ought to be passed at this session having for their object the comprehensive and effective treatment, prevention, and control of the disease.
At the last general election, section 16 of article II of the constitution was amended so as to read as follows: “Section 16. In all elections authorized by this constitution until otherwise provided by law, the person or persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected, but provision may be made by law for elections by equal proportional representation of all the voters for every office which is filled by the election of two or more persons whose official duties, rights and powers are equal and concurrent. Every qualified elector resident in his precinct and registered as may be required by law, may vote for one person under the title for each office. Provision may be made by law for the voter’s direct or indirect expression of his first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office. For an office which is filled by the election of one person it may be required by law that the person elected shall be the final choice of a majority of the electors voting for candidates for that office. These principles may be applied by law to nominations by political parties and organizations.”
I call your attention to this constitutional amendment because legislation is necessary, in my opinion, to make the same effective in so far as proportional representation is concerned.
IN conclusions, gentlemen, permit me to express the hope that you may approach the duties incumbent on your in a spirit of compromise and patriotism. All legislation is the result of compromise, because men are so constituted by nature as to differ sometimes essentially on questions that vitally affect eh public welfare. Upon one thing we are all agreed, we love this magnificent commonwealth and its institutions, and however much we may differ on non-essentials, we are agreed that we only want to do those things which will be productive of the greatest good for the greatest number.
I promise you that I will with the help of Him who doeth all things well, assist you as best I can in the discharge of our mutual obligation to the people of the State, who servants we all are.
GEO. E. CHAMBERLAIN,