Governor Oswald D. West's Administration
Inaugural Message, 1911
Source: Oregon Messages and Documents, 1909-1910, Inaugural Message, Salem, Oregon, Willis S. Duniway, State Printer, 1911.
Message Of OSWALD WEST Governor of Oregon, To the Twenty-Sixth Legislative Assembly Regular Session 1911
Gentlemen of the Legislature:
Under the Constitution it becomes my duty as Governor, and I deem it a high honor and privilege, to inform you, insofar as I may, of conditions in the State and its institutions and to make such recommendations or suggestions concerning legislation as I may deem fitting or necessary.
But before passing to the discussion of these matters in detail, I desire to express to the people of this great State, through you, their duly elected representatives, my all-embracing and deeply sincere thanks for the high honor which they have conferred upon me.
I consider that this honor was shown me because the people of Oregon had confidence in my sincerity and my integrity and believed that I, as their Governor, would never forget that I was their public servant, whose duty it was to do everything in my power to promote the public good and advance the general prosperity of the State. And I desire to promise them now that throughout my term of office I will keep this fact ever before my mind as a guiding star and a stay in time of stress and trial.
Of the people, I intend by my every act to serve the people. Just as their good is my good, and their prosperity my own, so would their misfortune be a cross and a sorrow to me, and I pledge them now my vow and my oat that, with the help of Almighty God, I will be a faithful keeper of their trust so that at the end I may be given that greatest econium possible for a public officials—“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Oregon is now well entered upon an era of wonderful progress and development. Great industries and commercial enterprises are bringing added people and comfortable homes to broaden the limits of our cities. A flood of immigration is peopling the rural districts with prosperous farms and still farther pushing back the forest from the doorsteps of the towns. New railroads are binding the State closer and closer together and on every hand the hum of industry shows progress, prosperity, and success.
I mention these well-known conditions in order to doubly impress upon you, gentlemen of the legislature, the serious fact that we are building not for the present alone but for the future as well. The public institutions of the State are in good condition but they, with all departments of the State government, are growing and thoughtful attention must be given to future needs as well as present requirements.
OUR SYSTEM OF TAXATION
The power to tax being essentially legislative in its nature it follows that in the absence of constitutional limitations the power of the legislature as to matters of taxation is plenary and absolute. The framers of our State Constitution realized the extent to which this power might be carried and, as a protection, hedged the legislature about with certain constitutional limitations which required that all taxation should be uniform and equal. By uniformity they meant that all property similarly situated should be taxed at the same rate and in the same manner, and by equality they meant that the burden of taxation should be so distributed that each taxpayer might contributed in proportion to his property and feel neither more or less inconvenience from his share of payment than every other person experienced. They were doomed to disappointment, however, for instead of bringing about an equal distribution of the burdens of taxation these constitutional provisions became breastworks behind which the public service and other corporations of the State could dodge and escape being hit for the payment of a just share of the cost of conducting our State government.
Taxation was undoubtedly fairly equal in early days in this State, for at that time most of our wealth consisted of lands and live stock, which were easily listed and valued, but with the rapid growth and development of the country, the coming of “big business” with its public service corporations and their “franchises” and “intangible values”, conditions have changed and call for new methods of distributing the burdens of taxation.
“New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth.”
The taxpayers of this State have known for years that our general property tax was “uncouth” but for some unknown reason have never, until within the last few year, taken steps to remodel it. The first good move was that made by the legislature of 1905 when it provided for the appointment of a board of commissioners for the purpose of examining and reporting on all matters of assessment and taxation. This board made a most exhaustive report to the Governor and prepared and recommended for passage a number of bills and constitutional amendments, which in their opinion would give the people a more efficient and equitable system of taxation.
A number of the bills proposed by the board were passed by the legislature of 1907, but its constitutional amendments and bill for creating a State Tax Commission failed to pass. The legislature of 1909, however, took up these measures and after making a few changes passed them. The constitutional amendments, of course, had to be and were submitted to the people at the recent election. They failed to pass, however, and their failure to pass was due largely to the fact that the people were led to believe that their passage would result in many departures from our present system of taxation and open up the way for all sorts of “isms”. The measures in fact were most conservative and had the endorsement of nearly every tax expert in the country, and while opening the way for a most equitable system of taxation, one which would compel each to contribute a just share toward the support of the government, they threw ample constitutional protection around each and every class of property.
While the people were voting down these alleged “radical” amendments they voted for and passed the so-called “poll tax” amendment which wiped out all existing constitutional limitations and restrictions but reserved to the people the right to vote on all measures pertaining to taxation. In the absence of express constitutional limitations the legislative power in matters of taxation is unlimited and extends to everything; it acknowledges no limits and “may be carried even to the extent of exhaustion and destruction, thus becoming in its exercise a power to destroy.”
All limitations and restrictions in our State Constitution having been removed, so far as the people are concerned, the only thing which stands in the way of an abuse of the power to tax is the integrity and sense of justice of the people and the restrictions found in the Constitution of the Untied States. Our Federal Constitution provides that no State shall make or enforce a law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States and that no state shall deny any person the equal protection of the laws or permit the taking of property without due process of law.
This new amendment will no doubt prove beneficial, however, because it will open the way for any and all reforms which were aimed at through the two defeated amendments, but it is objectionable in that it provides that no tax measure passed by the legislature can become effective, not even a meritorious emergency measure, until it has hung on the hook for two years and has been approved by the people. This provision was no doubt inserted for fear that in the absence of constitutional restrictions unjust measures might be passed by the legislature. This was undoubtedly a wise precaution, but it was unnecessary to go to extremes. The people would have been given ample protection if it had simply provided that no tax measure passed by the legislature should carry an emergency clause. This would have given the people a chance to examine all tax measures passed by the legislature, invoke the referendum on the objectionable ones, and permit the taking effect without delay of all those which were meritorious.
While this amendment may be open to some criticism it nevertheless opens the way for tax reform and as it will permit the adoption of any equitable system of taxation the people may choose to adopt there remains no reason on earth why we should not without further delay adopt the most progressive system to be found in any State of the Union. Past legislatures have laid the ground work for a good system and it now rests with you to complete it. The first and most important step is to provide for the separation of the sources of State and local revenue. When this is done the State will raise its revenue principally from public service corporations, license fees, inheritances or such other subjects as the legislature or the people may think could best be handled by the State Tax Commission. This system would give each county complete home rule in the matter of taxation; and unless the sources of State revenue failed to produce enough to cover the needs of the State the counties would not be called upon to contribute anything towards the support of the State and would be concerned only in raising sufficient revenue to cover county expenses. Each county could fix its valuations to suit itself, or as its local needs might require, and without fear of subjecting its citizens to the payment of an unjust portion of a State tax.
The advantages of the proposed system are set out by the tax commission of the State of Missouri and are as follows:
“First. Complete separation would abolish at once the expense, friction and vain attempt to equalize among different counties.
Second. When separation is effected it will be possible to place each tax in that branch of the government, local or State, which is best adapted to administer it.
Third. The local taxing districts, the counties and cities of the State, will then have practical home rule in matters relating to taxation.
Fourth. Equality in taxation, both State and local, can then be secured by making all taxation effective.”
OUR STATE BANKING LAW
Our State banking law is a failure in that it protects the crooked banker from the public, but does not protect the public from the crooked banker. Adequate protection for the depositor demands the following amendments:
1. Amend our constitution so as to make stockholders liable for double the par value of their stock.
2. Require more frequent and thorough examination of banks
3. Further limit the amount of funds to be loaned to any one person, firm, or corporation
4. Require banks doing both a commercial and savings business to conduct the same as two distinct departments.
5. Require banks to confine themselves to a banking business
6. Provide that in even of failure of a bank its affairs be wound up by the State Bank Examiner under the direction of the courts and not by a receiver appointed by the courts.
Knowing the insurance laws of this State were obsolete and afforded little or no protection to the public, but realizing that any attempt at complete revision without careful study and investigation would lead only to confusion, the last legislature contented itself with passing a law which removed a few of the most apparent abuses and provided for the establishment of a Department of Insurance which was to have general supervision over all companies doing business in this State. The wisdom of this move is borne out by results obtained during the past two years. The prohibiting of combinations and rate agreements between fire companies and the opening up of the field to competition has resulted in a reduction of about 20 per cent in rates and means an annual saving of about $500,000 to the policy-holders of this State.
The Insurance Commissioner fully sets out in his report the needs of the State in the way of insurance legislation and inasmuch as he has no doubt given this intricate and perplexing question careful study and investigation his recommendation should be given careful consideration. He has prepared several bills with a view of correcting a number of existing abuses and throwing additional safeguards around the policyholders of this State, but recommends that before a complete revision of our laws is attempted the legislature authorize the appointment of a commission for the purpose of investigating the whole question of insurance and preparing for submission to the next legislature an up-to-date and effective code of insurance laws. I am heartily in favor of the appointment of such a commission for it will bring order out of chaos in matters of insurance and at little expense to the State. There are public-spirited men, I am sure, who would willingly serve without pay other than their mileage and per diem when attending meetings of the board.
The 83 stock fire insurance companies doing business in this State alone wrote in 1909 risks aggregating over $177,000,000, for which they collected over $3,000,000 in premiums. Out of the premiums collected about $645,000 were returned on account of risks cancelled and about $943,000 paid for losses, leaving the companies a balance of about $1,400,000. The 12 local mutual companies the same year added over $25,000,000 to the amount of their risks, collected over $327,000 in accounts and paid about $142,000 in losses. It is important, therefore, that the whole question of insurance be given at an early date that careful consideration which it surely merits, in order that there may be placed upon our statute books an effective and comprehensive insurance law which will cover insurance of every kind and give our policyholders every possible protection.
STATE LAND OFFICE
During recent years the affairs of the State Land Department have been administered in the interest of the taxpayers and school children, and it has ceased to be a breeding ground for scandal and a place of “easy picking” for the members of the old school land ring. An effective land law made it possible for the State Land Board to adopt many long-needed reforms and secure a fair price for the remnants of that magnificent grant of over 4,000,000 acres which was given to Oregon by the Federal Government to aid in the support of its common schools. The records show that on January 1, 1903, three-fourths of all the lands—school, college, university, and swamp—granted to the State had been sold and that the average price received by the State was $1.25 per acre. The State has since that date sold another one-eighth of the grant, for which it has received $2,500,000 or an average price of $5.00 per acre. This leaves about one-eighth of the original grant remaining unsold, and when sold, if the present policy of the board continues, it is safe to say that the State will have realized as much from the last one-fourth of its grant, notwithstanding much of it is inferior land, as it did form the sale of the first three-fourths.
The department having adopted up-to-date methods, the records are now so kept that the public can at any and all times secure full information concerning the transactions of the office or the lands of the State. In addition to these reforms it is essential, however, that every deed issued by the State since its admission tot eh Union be carefully examined and checked to ascertain whether or not the lands described therein have been patented to the State. If it develops that deeds have been issued for lands to which the State has no title, steps should be taken to secure patent or, unless a waiver has been taken, repay the purchase price.
The records on September 30, 1910, show the school funds to contain $6,340,898. Of this, $5,370,829.62 is loaned on farm mortgages; $229,225 invested in school district bonds; $684,858.21 due as deferred payments on sales of school lands, and $55,960.87 is cash on hand.
In making its mortgage loans the State Land Board has in the past been guided by the information furnished by its local attorneys in each county, and if any of them have been careless or guided by selfish motives in recommending these loans it is possible that the State is carrying some bad paper. In any event it is the business of the State Land Board to look into the matter carefully and I will recommend to the board that as soon as the weather and roads will permit the State Land Agent be required to make a personal investigation of, and report upon, every outstanding mortgage loan, in order that the board may be fully advised as to the nature of the security and take steps to protect the loan where the security is found inadequate.
The State has made, and there are pending in the General Land Office at Washington, indemnity school selections covering about 65,000 acres of land. These lands have been sold subject to patent and one-fifth of the purchase price, or about $130,000, has been deposited with the State pending approval of the selections. The State cannot loan this money nor does the $520,000 due on deferred payments draw interest until the selections are approved by the General Land Office. It is therefore of the greatest importance that these selections be approved at an early date, in order that the school fund may receive the benefit of the interest earnings, which will amount to about $40,000 a year. I propose, therefore, to take up this matter without delay with our delegation in congress, with a view to having the General Land Office hurry along the approval of these selections.
Good business demands that hereafter each department of State be required to file all requisitions for printed matter with the State Printing Expert and it be made his duty, before placing the order with the State Printer, to inquire carefully into the requirements of the department filing the requisition, in order that no more than the amount necessary to serve its needs be ordered and the State be saved unnecessary expense. It is common knowledge that under the “help yourself” system now in vogue needless quantities of printer matter are ordered and used only for fuel.
A great saving could also be made if the different departments would boil down their annual reports and eliminate a lot of useless statistical matter. I am sure this can be done without depriving the public of any useful information. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, and there is absolutely no reason why the State should throw its money away for useless printing.
As you are no doubt aware, the printing plant now being operated in the State capitol building is the private property of the State Printer, who, having never been placed upon a flat salary, is working under the old fee system.
In 1905 the State of Kansas placed her State Printer upon a flat salary and the records show that a saving of over 40 per cent has been made by the State through the change.
I hope to see a bill introduced and passed at this session which will authorize the purchase of a
State printing plant and provide for placing the State Printer on a flat salary. This reform is long overdue and should be adopted without further delay.
The supplies for all of our State institutions should be purchased by, or under direction of, one board and this can be done without the creation of additional boards or commissions and with but little added expense to the State. This purchasing board should consist of the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, and it should be given authority to employ a chief clerk who should be a man well fitted for the important position he would be called upon to fill. It should be made his duty to visit each State institution at regular intervals and after learning its needs assist its officials in preparing an estimate for a certain ensuing period. From these several estimates he should prepare for the use of the board a statement showing the total needs of all institutions. Bids should then be advertised for and the supplies purchased from the lowest bidders.
This arrangement would not only prove an economical one but would reduce the purchasing of supplies to some system. I can see but few obstacles which, under our present law, stand in the way of this reform, but would ask that the legislature give the matter careful consideration in order that all may be removed.
Oregon needs, and the interest of economy demands, some adequate and effective system of auditing the accounts of the State.
The legislature of 1909 placed its stamp of disapproval on the useless practice of appointing so-called expert committees to audit the books and accounts of the several State officials by refusing to appoint such committees. It is common knowledge that most of these committees in the past have been loaded with incompetents who have drawn fat sums from the State and have given nothing in return. The legislature with a view to forever putting an end to this evil appointed a committee to prepare a bill which would provide for some permanent system of auditing the books and accounts of the several State officials. I am no advised as to what action was taken by this committee but know that no such measure has ever become a law. The result is that the books and accounts of nearly all State officials go from one year’s end to another without being experted.
The Secretary of State is required to audit all bills and accounts paid by the State, and, since he is the State’s purchasing agent and acts as a member of nearly every State board he is called upon to perform the double role of not only expending vast sums of State money but of approving and auditing his own bills and accounts. This system is unfair to the Secretary of State, and it is unfair to the taxpayers of the State. Good business demands that steps be taken to provide some regular and effective system of auditing the books and accounts of each and every State official who has the handling of State funds.
It is, also, an undeniable fact that the system of keeping the public records throughout the State is chaotic. Each county has its own peculiar plan, and in most instances each plan is different from every other. This lack of system causes confusion in the transaction of public business and spells loss and waste for the taxpayers of the State. I would earnestly recommend, therefore, that the legislature give its serious consideration to the evolution and adoption of some uniform system of keeping the public books and records, both State and county, for so to do would result in the saving of large sums of the people’s money now being lost through the use of diverse methods of transacting the public record business of the State.
OREGON STATE PENITENTIARY
The Oregon Penitentiary is one of the best managed and most humanely conducted penal institutions to be found in the United States. This fact is admitted by every student of prison reform who has visited the State. The Superintendent, believing that the reformation of a convict can be better accomplished by treating him as a human being and with such kindness as his conduct will merit, has tried, as far as good prison discipline will permit, to furnish the convicts on certain days with wholesome entertainment for the mind and exercise for the body in order that the monotony of prison life might be broken and the existence of the men made more cheerful. The Superintendent has been assisted in this work by a number of volunteer prison workers who deserve great praise for their untiring efforts to make the lives of the convicts more pleasant and ultimately bring about their more certain reformation.
There are approximately 430 prisoners now confined in the State Penitentiary. Many of these prisoners are employed as helpers around the institution, others in the State’s brickyard, while a large number of them are employed in the stove foundry in accordance with a ten-year contract made by the State November 20, 1907, with the Lowenber & Going Co. The State receives 45 cents per ten-hour day for their labor and the contract calls for the employment of not less than 150 men and as many more as the company requires providing they can be spared without depriving the State of necessary help around the institution.
Objection has been made to the employment of convicts in competition with free labor, and there is merit in the objection. But common decency and the consideration which we should have for the unfortunate make it imperative that the convicts be given employment of some kind. Until some objectionable system of employment is devised it would be most inhuman to condemn these men to idleness and to thus deprive them of the God-given blessing of useful occupation. It should be the aim of the State, therefore, to provide them as soon as practicable with employment which will remove them as far as possible from competition with free labor. The best solution it seems to me is their employment in the construction of roads. I am advised that the good roads measures which are to be introduced at this session of the legislature will call for the use of convict labor, and, if so, I hope the people will give the experiment a fair trial, for it if proves a success it will not only insure good roads for, but a great saving to, the State, and will provide healthful outdoor work for the prisoners and go a long way toward putting an end to competition between free and prison labor.
Since the passage of the indeterminate sentence law of 1905 the paroling of prisoners at the expiration of their minimum sentence has, as the law intended, become usual, especially when some one stands ready to furnish the prisoner with employment and answer for his conduct. The parole system has been adopted by the United States Government and 17 States of the Union and has the endorsement of practically every student of prison reform. Our courts, however, do not appear to give this law as much consideration as it merits, for the records show that out of 1,041 convicts committed to the penitentiary since the passage of the law only 118, or 12 per cent were given indeterminate sentences Some of these who were given the indeterminate sentence were repeaters, while many of those who were denied the benefits of this most humane law, and sentenced for a definite time, were young men and boys who had never before committed a crime. As many of those serving definite terms have good prison records and by their conduct have shown every indication of a desire to lead better lives and become law-abiding citizens it is hoped that the legislature will see fit to enlarge the scope of the parole law and make its provisions apply not only to those who may be convicted in the future, but to those who are now serving time.
The inequality and lack of even justice which exists in our system has been removed to some extent through the initiation by Governor Chamberlain of the practice of granting conditional commutations or pardons, but the State should, through the expansion of the parole law, adopt a uniform policy which would make such action by the executive unnecessary and would also remove every possible excuse for the abuse of the pardoning power. The extension of the parole system would be found extremely advantageous should the State decide to use convict labor in the construction of roads.
Capital punishment should be abolished, in my opinion, in this State. The system of paying for a life with a life is, in my belief, merely a relic of that ancient and barbarous doctrine of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.
It is a fact, undisputed by the judicial history of this or any other State, that the average jury shies at a verdict involving the sacrifice of human life. Murder, from the very nature of the crime, must be proven, to a great or less degree, by circumstantial evidence, and the average man, sitting as a juror, hesitates before casting his vote to deprive a fellow being, no matter how degraded his condition, of his life. The result of this is the hung jury, the failure to convict, and oftentimes, the cheating of justice, all of which means lessened safety to society in general and an increased drain upon the purses of the taxpayers of the State.
The report of the Superintendent of the Penitentiary records 18 cases of capital punishment in the last seven and one-half years, the greatest number ever executed in this State during a similar period. This, in my opinion, bears out the argument that the desperate criminal, relying on the reluctance of the average juror and the caution of the court, in the imposition of the capital sentence, is more willing to take a gambler’s chance with death for the furtherance of his criminal object, than he would be to face the greater certainty of a life spent behind the bars.
Believing as I do, I therefore recommend to you, gentlemen, that you take steps to do away with capital punishment in this State. But in this connection I desire to urge that special and particular attention be paid to the restriction of the pardoning power for such cases. I hold that a sentence to life imprisonment for murder should mean what it says, unless post-trial evidence should bring to light some glaring in justice or very potent reason for change, and I contend that the substitution of life imprisonment for capital punishment should carry with it such safeguards as would insure in all cases that full justice be satisfied.
Men sentenced to the penitentiary are, under the present system, delivered at the prison gates by the sheriff of the county in which conviction was had. This is a wasteful, extravagant, and unscientific method and should be discontinued in the interest of economy and for the benefit of the taxpayers of the State. I suggest, therefore, that provision be made for the transportation of convicts from their place of conviction to the penitentiary by prison guards. This system has been found to be most satisfactory in the transportation of the insane, and after several years of trial by the asylum management has been found to be more economical and more desirable in many ways than the old method.
OREGON STATE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE
The Oregon State Hospital for the Insane is the largest institution that the State has under its control. Its many and peculiar needs make its administration the most difficult and the most perplexing of any of the State institutions. Because of this, I call your attention especially to the report of the Superintendent of the institution, which report is now upon your desks, and bespeak for it your careful consideration. And in this connection I desire to call your attention to one or two points that have come to my mind.
There are now confined in the Oregon asylum a large number of non-resident insane. This is true, of course, in every State but the fact remains that other states have enacted laws providing for the deportation of this class of patients. While it would be perhaps be best for each State to care for all insane persons found within its borders, yet, it seems to me, under the circumstances, that Oregon must either make provision for returning the non-resident insane to their home State or become the dumping-ground of other States for this unfortunate but nevertheless undesirable class.
Superintendent Steiner, speaking of the institution and its needs, says:
“We cannot lose sight of the central fact that the institution exists for the insane; that whatever adds to their comfort, promotes their welfare, or in any way alleviates their very distressing malady, is right; and that everything that deprives them of safe and sympathetic care, modern and scientific treatment, is wrong. This plain rule of right and wrong has been our guide in administering the affairs of this, the greatest of the State’s charities. We have found much to do in the past; more remains for future accomplishment. The buildings are old; rapid and steady increase in population has rendered the different departments inadequate. In correcting these conditions the future must be taken into consideration, so that the new buildings may be properly grouped and, if need be, added to as necessity arises. It is unfortunate that the need must be urgent before provision is made. In spite of a generally liberal policy on the part of the legislators, every insane hospital in the country is overcrowded. Oregon’s one institution will soon reach, if it has not already passed, the limit in size best calculated to meet the requirements of economy and the needs of the individual patient.”
The legislature of 1909, through its appropriations for improvements and equipment and its provisions for the establishment of a branch asylum in Eastern Oregon did much to relieve the conditions complained of, but a great deal yet remains to be done.
It will be some time before the Eastern Oregon asylum can be constructed and equipped, and as the population of the main institution in Salem is rapidly increasing, nothing should be neglected that will add to the safety and correct treatment of the insane while this crowded condition exists.
Should the improvements planned and recommended by the superintendent in his report be provided for by the legislature and the population of the main institution be reduced by the completion and occupation of the Eastern Oregon branch, it will then be possible for the management to give those unfortunates remaining added attention and more comfort.
The State should not overlook or neglect the needs of these, its most unfortunate children. They have been case by fate upon the charity of the commonwealth, and not to provide them with needed protection and comfort would be a crime against our civilization.
The asylum owns 120 acres of land, situated about two miles from the main institution, on the road leading from Salem to Turner. This land serves no useful purpose and the board of trustees should be given authority to sell the tract to the highest bidder and apply the funds thus secured to the purchase of additional land adjoining the main institution.
VISITATION AND INSPECTION OF STATE INSTITUTIONS
It is patent to every one that the usual practice of appointing legislative committees for the purpose of visiting and investigating the needs and affairs of the several State institutions fails of its purpose for the reason that as a rule the time of the members of these committees is so taken up by their legislative duties that they are not given sufficient opportunity to make a careful investigation and report. At the last session of the legislature the Senate, realizing the futility of this old practice, appointed a committee of three hold-over Senators who, between November 15 and 30, 1910, were to complete the committee by selecting three newly-elected members of the House. This committee was directed to meet in Salem not later than December 20, 1910, and receive from the heads of the several Stat institutions their estimates for maintenance and betterments for the ensuing biennial period, and after making careful inquiry into the merits of the estimates and needs of the institutions, to report their findings to this legislature. This committee has, no doubt, performed its duty and will advise you fully as to the result of their investigation and the needs of these institutions, and their recommendation should be given careful consideration.
As the needs of the several other institutions are fully set out in the reports of their superintendents and will be further covered by the report of the special legislative committee, which has been spending much time in the investigation of the affairs of all State institutions, it is unnecessary for me to take your time in discussing in detail the needs of each. I do wish to say, however, that I believe the name of the State Reform School should be changed, because every boy who leaves it, no matter how good his record, is obliged to carry with him through life the brand of this semi-criminal. I earnestly recommend, therefore, that the name of the institution be changed to that of the Oregon Industrial Institution. The purpose of the institution is to give the boys who have started wrong not only a fresh start, but a fair start, and you are not doing this when you send him out branded as an incorrigible.
Something must be done at an early date to relieve the congested condition of the Capitol building. Every available foot of space has been used and conditions in some of the departments are becoming almost unbearable. If arrangements could be made for the removal of the printing and heating plants from the building it would go far towards solving the problem.
THE STATE’S WATER SUPPLY
The time has come, in my opinion, when the State should take some action to secure an abundant supply of pure water for the State institutions. At present, the supply is being drawn from wells or from the Salem water system, and both sources are open to objection.
The city of Salem has recently taken steps to assume the ownership and control of the supply system now in use and the plan of piping pure mountain water to the city is under discussion. In my opinion this is the only safe solution of the water supply question. Municipal projects move slowly, however, and the need of better water for the State institutions is urgent. I would recommend, therefore, that some provision be made by which the State may co-operate with the city in hastening the completion of this much to be desired project. Since a large part of the cost will fall upon the laying of the pipe-line, and the construction of headworks, and since much delay might arise from this same source. I would suggest that an arrangement be made by which this work could be done with convict labor. I suggest, also, that it might be feasible to authorize the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, as the State Board, to act with the authorities of the city of Salem in this matter. I recommend, therefore, that this legislature grant this authorization, as the question is of much concern to the health of the institutions under the State’s control.
OREGON NATIONAL GUARD
Through the passage of an admirable and effective military code at the last session of the legislature and the patriotic spirit and ability displayed by its officers and men, the National Guard of the State is being maintained in a high state of efficiency.
During the past year the Guard was called upon to assist in extinguishing the great forest fires which were destroying our magnificent forests and the homes of our settlers. The officers and men answered the call promptly and rendered most valuable service in the performance of this unpleasant duty.
During the year 1909 it cost the State $30,87 for each man in service. The same year the National Guard of California cost that State $81.06 for each man in service and that of the State of Washington $98.74 per man. It will be seen, therefore, that the Oregon National Guard is being economically maintained and its needs, which are fully set forth in the report of the Adjutant General, should be given careful consideration.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH
Oregon has been fortunate in having secured active and conscientious physicians of well-known ability to serve upon the State Board of Health. The members of this board, during the biennial period just closed, have been most lavish of their time and most generous of their efforts for the betterment of the general sanitation and health conditions of the State. They have been ever vigilant in checking the spread of disease, and in seeking out the causes of sickness in order to the more effectively stamp out unhealthy conditions.
Because of the greatly increased demands that have been made upon the board during the past two years, the growth of the State’s population and the continual and urgent calls from every section, the small appropriation granted by the last legislature has been exhausted and a small deficit created.
In its report, which is now before you, the board sets out its work and its needs. In as much as the work done and yet to do is of vital interest to the health and safety of the people of the State, I would recommend that you give careful consideration to the matter contained in the report and grant such relief as the extended and broadened work of the board may seem to demand.
CONSERVATION OF OUR RESOURCES
It is most vital to the future prosperity of this State and of its people that its natural resources be conserved to the fullest possible extent in order that they may be utilized and developed for the benefit not only of this but of future generations.
Effective conservation, control or development of the resources of Oregon can come only through State and Federal cooperation. The Federal Government controls and regulates interstate commerce. The States control and regulate commerce wholly within their boundaries. But the Interstate Commerce Commission and the State Railroad Commission have worked together, harmoniously and without any conflict of authority, with one end alone in view—the public good.
So it must be as regards the control and distribution of the waters of the streams. A stream, the source and flow of which is entirely within the boundaries of the State, even if within the boundaries of a Federal forest reserve, should be given over to the control of the State. But in the control of interstate streams we must look to the Federal Government.
It has been suggested, and the suggestion is a good one, that the interstate waters of a basin lying within the boundaries of several adjoining states might, as far as possible, be turned over to the joint control of these states. As an instance, the Columbia basin is practically all within the boundaries of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The waters of that river and its tributaries could undoubtedly, upon the passage of effective uniform water laws approved by congress, be safely turned over to the joint control of these states.
Oregon through the adoption of the most excellent water laws and their effective administration has shown her ability and willingness to control, protect, and regulate the water of the streams within her jurisdiction. To join with her sister states in the passage and administration of uniform laws to the interstate streams in the Columbia basin would be but a short step forward.
There is a demand from many quarters that the Federal Government be required to turn over the States for their exclusive control and use all unappropriated timber and mineral lands within their boundaries. There is some merit in this demand, but before pressing it the states should pause long enough to adopt some sensible and effective policy as regards the conservation and development of such resources. The State has already received a grant of four of five million acres of rich agricultural and timber land and by mismanagement and inattention has very little to show for it. The friends of the forest have been for years, and are now, knocking at the doors of our legislative halls, begging for the adoption of some definite policy on the part of the State and the passage of effective laws.
There are those who object to any and all movements which have in view the conservation of our resources. This comes through a misunderstanding as to the real purposes of the conservation movement. They seem to think that conservation means the withdrawal from use forever of all our undeveloped resources . True conservation does not mean that the natural resources of a State are to be bound up by disuse or non-development. But it does mean that they are to be utilized in such a manner that there will be no waste, no extravagance, and no monopoly. Conservation, as I view it, means the development and the utilization of the natural resources but in such manner and under such regulation and safeguards as will give to the people of the present day and to the coming generations of the future the maximum of benefit and of utility with the minimum of waste and destruction.
The State which permits the great storehouses of its God-given wealth to be vandalized by selfish greed is indeed a very poor guardian of the rights of its children—the present-day citizens. And it is equally true that the State which neglects through delay and inaction to provide for speedy, adequate, and effective conservation of its resources is an unfit and unwise trustee of the property and the privileges of its citizens that are yet to be born.
I do not believe that the State should, through legislation, deprive the present generation of the blessing that may accrue through the legitimate use and development of the natural resources of the State for the benefit of future generations. Nor do I believe that a too lavish hand should now rob the future for the benefit of the present.
I urge, however, with as much earnestness as is at my command, that you gentlemen of the legislature will give the question of conservation of the State’s resources your most careful and faithful consideration and investigation in order that you may be able, before the session closes, to enact legislation that will protect these resources both for the present and the future while, at the same time, it will permit their use and development to the highest degree consistent with the interest and the prosperity of the people of the State, both now and in the years to come.
It is imperative that the State adopt some sensible and adequate policy of forest protection not only with the view of saving the timber now standing from fire, but of re-foresting the logged-off and burnt-over areas as well.
During the past year Oregon’s loss through forest fires amounted to millions of dollars—more it is said than we realized from the total sales of our apples, fish, wool, and wheat for the same period. During this time the Federal Government spent over $200,000 for fire protection and the private timber owners over $100,000, while Oregon’s contribution for the same work was the paltry sum of $250.
It is estimated that Oregon has 400,000,000,000 feet of merchantable timber, about one-fifth of the total supply of the United States. At current prices this should bring about $5,000,000,000. Fifty years will see every stick of this vast forest cut and sawed if the present demand keeps up. The United States alone uses at the present time about 40,000,000,000 feet of timber a year, besides 118,000,000 hewn ties, 15,000,000 staves, over 133,000,000 sets of headings, nearly 500,000,000 barrel hoops, 3,00,00 cords of native pulp wood, 165,000,000 cubic feet of mine timbers, 1,250,000 cords of wood for distillation, and 90,000,000 cords of firewood. The timber industry brings annually into the State about $25,000,000, and it is estimated that 80 per cent of this vast sum is paid out for labor and supplies, and some part of it, therefore, directly or indirectly, reaches the pockets of every resident of this State.
The legislature of 1907 created a State Board of Forestry and passed an excellent forest code as far as it went, but it did not go far enough. It should have provided means of enforcing the fire laws, provided for educational work, and for an investigation of forest conditions. The Oregon Conservation Commission in its report for 1910 sets out in detail the weaknesses of our forest laws and policy. It also sets out the essentials of a policy which it recommends for immediate adoption, and I assure you that you will find them worthy of your consideration. They are as follows:
1. A trained State Forester familiar with western conditions and experienced in organization for the prevention of forest fires. He should not be a cheap man, but the best available, and chosen absolutely independent of politics. He should be allowed to appoint one or more assistants.
2. A liberal appropriation for forest fire patrol service, with ample latitude for such co-operation with other agencies as the State Forester shall find for the best interest of the public, especially through the encouragement of further extension and efficiency of private and county effort.
3. Improvement and strict enforcement of laws against fire, the State to exert its police authority to this end
4. Systematic study of forest conditions and needs, to afford basis of intelligent action and of any further desirable legislation
5. A system of general education, with specific advice to individuals in proper forest management.
The following are equally important as part of an early rational policy but perhaps less urgently in need of immediate action by the legislature:
1. Dependable low taxation of deforested land not more valuable for agriculture which will encourage its being held and protected for a future crop, the State to be compensated by adequate tax upon the yield.
2. Thorough study of the subject of taxing mature timber with a view of securing the adoption of a system which will result in the greatest permanent community good.
3. Study on which to base the early application of advanced forestry principles to the management of State-owned forest lands, and the purchase of cut or burned-over lands better suited for State than private forestry. This to furnish educative example as well as to maintain State revenue and proper forest conditions.
When this State was admitted to the Union it was given two sections (16 and 36) in each township by the Federal Government to aid in the support of its common schools. The Federal laws provide that if the State loses any of the said lands by reason of their being covered by homestead or mineral entries, or on account of a township being fractional, it may select other unappropriated government lands to satisfy such losses, and they further provide that is any of the said lands should be included within the boundaries of Federal reserves the State may surrender title to the Government and select and equal amount of other unappropriated lands. These tracts for which the State is entitled to indemnity are called “base lands” or “base”. The State has, since its admission to the Union, used for selections several hundred thousand acres of base, but has about 50,000 acres still remaining for which it is entitled to indemnity.
It is my duty as Governor of this State to satisfy the said losses by the selection of other vacant Government lands. It is my purpose, however, instead of following the present practice, which is to select only when a request for a selection is made and an application to purchase filed, to arrange if possible with the Federal Government for the satisfaction of all these losses at once and by the selection of a tract of land in a body somewhere in the Cascade Forest Reserve. The tract should, if possible, be selected so as to cover a stream containing undeveloped water power, and should be withdrawn from sale by the legislature and turned over to the State Conservation Commission, the State Agricultural College, or the State University, whichever is best equipped to handle it. Under proper supervision the matured timber could be marketed, the lands re-forested, and water power developed, all of which in time would be a source of revenue to the State or colleges.
This State forestry system could be further extended by arranging for the turning over to the State Agricultural College and State University all lands, other than city property, subject to sale for delinquent taxes—lands in certain counties to go to the University and in others to the Agricultural College. Through the adoption of such a policy the two schools would in time come into possession of thousands of acres of land which could be re-forested and would become a great source of revenue to the schools. The establishment of a State forest would not only give the students in our colleges an excellent opportunity to study the forestry question but would bring about a better understanding and co-operation between the Government, the State, and the timbermen, and insure the adoption of some sensible policy as to fire protection and without increased cost to those concerned. These forests when established could also be used as a reserve for the protection and propagation of fish and game.
If these suggestions should meet with your approval the movement should be set on foot without delay, for the longer the State is permitted to sell its “base” and the counties their logged-off tracts for delinquent taxes the more difficult and costly it is going to be to establish a State forest and if delayed too long it will cost and enormous amount. The State of New York is now spending millions for just such purposes and hopes, through the creation of her forests, to protect the sources of her streams, and by the construction of reservoirs, to make her streams once more run full and provide additional power which, under State control, may enable her to break the monopoly of the great power trust which now controls all available power in that State.
It is extremely necessary that this legislature pay effective attention to the swamp lands of the State. Under the Federal swamp land act of 1860, and acts amendatory thereto, Oregon was given all swamp lands within her boundaries. Thousands of acres of these lands were selected in early days and sold by the State at the minimum price of $1.00 per acre. Most of the lists by which the selections were made have been passed upon by the General Land Office and either approved or rejected; a few, however, are now and have been for a number of years before department awaiting action.
Notwithstanding that it has been over 50 years since this State was admitted to the Union, there are still large tracts of swamp land to which the State has not been able to get title. This failure is due largely to the red tape attached to the preparation and filing of the selection lists and to the fact that the early surveyors in making their returns through their field notes did not give the true character of the land.
The Commissioner of the General Land Office has held that the State must show the swampy character of the land at the date of its admission to the Union, and therefore it is essential that all such lands claimed by the State be listed while there are men living who can make the required affidavits. In order to establish the erroneous character of the Government field notes it may be necessary to ask for the sending of a Government agent to Oregon to make, in company with the State Land Agent, a careful examination of all alleged swamp lands and report their true character, so that the State may, without delay, receive patents to all those tracts to which it is justly entitled under the swamp land grant.
Prompt action in this matter is essential in view of a recent ruling by the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the effect that whenever a list covering a tract of alleged swamp land is filed, no matter how small the acreage, the State must attached the certificate of the State Land Agent to eh effect that the list covers all the lands in the township to which the State is entitled to under the swamp land grant, and, also, the waiver of the State as to all future claims or selections.
CAREY ACT RECLAMATION
In 1894 congress passed what is known as the Cary act, which provided that 1,000,000 acres of desert land be granted to each of certain States, Oregon included, provided the States would assume the responsibility of reclaiming and irrigating the same and see that it was disposed of to settlers in tracts of not exceeding 160 acres. The act called for the passage of an act of acceptance by the several State legislatures, these acts, of course, to provide rules and regulations for the protection and guidance of the reclamation companies, settlers, and others concerned.
Owing to lack of experience at that time in matters of irrigation our legislature passed an act of acceptance and regulation which was full of imperfections, wholly inadequate, and permitted the segregation of large tracts of land and the launching of schemes which it was impossible to carry to a successful conclusion, and which not only caused the promoter and settlers great financial loss but cast a cloud over the good name of our State.
The State Land Board made repeated attempts to have the law strengthened, but was unsuccessful until the last session of the legislature. A law was then passed which apparently remedies the defects of the old law and has aroused interest to such an extent that seven new enterprises have been initiated for the reclamation of a total of 420,000 acres of arid land and at an estimated cost of over $20,000,000. Over 280,000 acres are in process of reclamation under the old contracts. All but one of these, however, have been altered recently, requiring some payment to the State for administrative purposes. In order that this subject, which is an important one, may not be overlooked in the multitude of your duties, I call your attention to the report of the Desert Land Board, where it is fully discussed and its needs set forth.
THE NEW WATER LAW
After many years’ struggle the friends of reform secured in 1909 the passage of a water code which is far in advance of the laws of any other State, more particularly because it limits the use of water for power purposes to a period of 40 years and provides the most simple and expeditious methods for settling water rights. The main features of the law are the provision for—
1. The determination of early rights;
2. The protection of existing rights, and
3. The acquisition of new rights.
The passage of this code has proven a great boon to the State and together with the results being obtained through its administration, it stands a monument to those who gave it support. Prior to its passage it took years to have a water right adjudicated. It took nine years to settler the famous Hough-Porter case with only 47 rights involved. The present Board of Control operating under the new code has in less than two years adjudicated seven streams involving over 400 rights, and has taken testimony involving 825 rights on ten additional streams, without expense to the public and at small cost to the water users. It has also been clearly demonstrated that its passage has greatly encouraged development, for in less than two years’ time over 1,100 applications to appropriate water have been filed involving expenditures which are estimated at $50,000,000 and the State has been paid about $25,000, or more than the cost of conducting the office of the State Engineer for that period.
The passage of this law, supplemented by recent decisions of our courts, has annihilated the old doctrine of riparian rights and water may now be put to a beneficial use and need not be left “to flow undiminished and uninterrupted to the sea.”
If this new system is maintained and the law strengthened as suggested by the State Engineer, we will in a few years see practically every water right in the State adjudicated and water titles at last placed upon the same safe footing as titles to land.
TOPOGRAPHIC AND HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEYS
The United States Geological Survey is making a topographic map of the United States. The work has been in progress since 1882 and about two-fifths of the country, exclusive of outlying possessions, has been mapped. The features shown on the map are (1) water, including seas, lakes, ponds, rivers, and other streams, canals, swamps, etc.: (2) relief, including mountains, hills, valleys, cliffs, etc.; (3) culture, i.e., works of man, such as towns, cities, roads, railways, boundaries, etc. The work is being carried on largely through co-operation with the States—the Government standing ready to spend a dollar for every dollar spent by a State. The States of Washington and California make liberal annual appropriations for the work with a result that much of their territory is being mapped while Oregon, owing to the fact that her appropriations have been insignificant, has had but little of such work done within her boundaries and is therefore sadly deficient in reliable information as to her physical features and natural resources.
The United States Geological Survey also stands ready to co-operate with the State in collecting and publishing reliable information as to her water resources and to expend dollar for dollar with the State in carrying on the work. This information would be of inestimable value to the State in carrying out the purposes of the Carey act and our new water code and would prevent the embarkation of irrigation enterprises when there was no water available. Through the floating of several such wild-cat schemes the good name of the State has already suffered and many deserving settlers robbed of their savings and left stranded upon the desert.
This matter is fully covered by the reports of the State Engineer and the State Conservation Commission, in both of which reports the question of State co-operation, its desirability and benefits, is discussed, and I suggest that this important subject be given particular consideration.
The salmon fishing industry has been in the past and should be in the future one of the greatest of the industries of the State. Once the streams of the State ran full with fish, but inadequate laws have permitted the hand of greed to dip deep into the waters until the great salmon runs have begun to disappear. To save this once great industry from extinction it now becomes necessary to call on the State for funds to establish hatcheries for purposes of propagation.
There is but one way in which the fishing industry can be saved from extinction, and that is through the adoption of a definite and sensible policy of regulation and propagation and as being in line with such a policy I would suggest:
1. The passage of laws which will enable a fair proportion of the fish to reach and use their natural spawning grounds;
2. Liberal appropriations for hatchery purposes;
3. Take the office of Master Fish Warden out of politics and keep it out.
The first two propositions speak for themselves, and to accomplish the third I would suggest the following:
Provide for the appointment of a board to be known as the Oregon State Board for the Protection of Fish and Game. This board to consist of five members, one of whom should be the President of the Oregon State Agricultural College, and of the other four no more than two should be chosen from the same political party. The members should be men who would be influenced in no manner by politics or self-interest and should serve without pay except when attending board meetings. The board should have power to appoint both the Master Fish Warden and the State Game Warden and all necessary deputies and should be required to advise the legislature as to needed legislation and to see that the fish and game laws were enforced.
I hope that this proposal will find favor with the members of the legislature and that some action will be taken along these lines.
STATE GAME WARDEN
The report of the State Game Warden for the year ending December 1, 1910, shows that there were 286 arrests made for violations of our fish and game laws and convictions secured in all but 12 cases. Nearly $59,000 were collected for licenses and over $9,000 for fines; all of which has been turned into the game protection fund. The report also shows that there is now in the hands of the State Treasurer in this fund a balance of $55,107.31, practically all of which has been contributed by the sportsmen of the State through the payment of license fees and which should be spent, as the friends of the law intended it should, for the propagation of fish and game. If the legislature should decide to spend any part of it for trout hatcheries I believe the matter should be given over to the Master Fish Warden, for such work properly belongs in his department. Here the work of propagation could be carried on in connection with that of our other fish hatcheries and such an arrangement, by saving the State the expense of maintaining two separate systems of hatcheries, would be greatly in the interest of economy.
I know from personal knowledge and experience that our Chinese pheasants are becoming less plentiful each year and unless they are given further protection it will only be a question of time until they will be exterminated. I therefore recommend that a law be passed making it unlawful to kill these birds for a period of at least three years. I also recommend that further protection be given to ducks and, with the hope of forever putting an end to the most unsportsmanlike and unpardonable practice, I also recommend that our laws be amended so as to permit, without the State having to prove guilty knowledge, the arrest and conviction of the owner or person having control or charge of any dog or dogs found running deer; and that the killing of elk be made punishable by imprisonment instead of fine.
PROHIBIT HUNTING ON STATE FARMS
The State own adjoining its institutions several thousand acres of land which would afford fine breeding grounds for upland birds if they were given protection, and I would suggest that it be made unlawful to take, kill, or have in possession any game bird on lands surrounding the several State institutions in this State.
No nation can be considered prosperous unless her working classes are prosperous. The prosperity of a nation is not measured by its brownstone fronts and midnight lunches of the upper crust, but by the small cottages and dinner pails of the laboring men. It must follow, therefore, that all legislation which brings prosperity, or give protection, to the working classes adds to the prosperity of the State. Yet legislation favorable to the working classes has seldom come as a voluntary gift from a legislature, but only after repeated demands and the most untiring efforts on the part of organized labor and its friends.
For years the laboring classes have been knocking at the doors of these legislative halls begging for relief from certain unjust rules of law in personal injury cases, but without success. Two years ago they came with an employers’ liability bill and stood ready to make any reasonable compromise, but as the opposition had come to annihilate and not to construct labor legislation their bill was defeated and they were driven to the initiative and the people for relief. The result was the passage of a law which is more far-reaching than anything they had hoped to receive at the hands of the legislature. This should convince any one that good business, if not fair dealing, demands that the needs of the laboring classes should at an all time be given careful consideration.
In spite of opposition, however, much progressive labor legislation has been secured. A State Labor Bureau has been created which is achieving gratifying results and a child labor law, which keeps the child in school and out of the workshop, secured. The Child Labor Commission to which the administration of this law has been left largely is entitled to great praise for the good it has accomplished. It is a regrettable fact, however, that Mrs. Millie Trumbull, secretary of the board, and to whose conscientious service is largely due the success attained by the commission, has been obliged to carry on the work at her own expense. This legislature should not fail to see that this good woman is not only reimbursed, but that provision is made for carrying on this most important work in the future.
An eight-hour law was passed at a previous session of the legislature, but as it applies only to the State, county and municipal employees it should, as recommended by the State Labor Commissioner, be extended at least to contractors and sub-contractors doing work for the State, counties or municipalities and thus be made uniform with the Federal law.
The railroad employees of this State, after years of struggle, secured in 1907 the enactment of a law intended to prevent railroad companies from working their men more than 14 consecutive hours without rest. The Railroad Commission, whose duty it is to see that all such laws are enforced, made repeated attempts to secure convictions for violations of this statute, but had been so loosely drawn that convictions under it were impossible.
Furthermore, owing to the enactment of the Federal 16-hour law, the State statute is now possible of very limited application. States, in the absence of Federal legislation, may make and enforce laws regulating the hours of labor of all railroad employees, even though they are employees of interstate carriers. But when congress takes action such State law is nullified insofar as it applies to interstate commerce, and is restricted to carriers engaged in strictly State business.
Therefore, the 14-hour law of this State should be so amended that it will be effective and serve its intended purpose. I respectfully recommend that the legislature provide this amendment, and I suggest that when so doing the Federal law be followed as closely as practicable, and that the amended statute be made to cover electric as well as steam roads.
Justice and fair dealing demand that whenever an employee of a public service corporation is discharged or voluntarily leaves the service of such corporation that he be given, upon request, a letter setting forth the nature and duration of the service rendered by him, whether he had voluntarily left the company’s service or had been discharged, and in case of the latter a statement setting forth the cause which led to his discharge. Such a law would afford some protection against the prevailing unjust practice of discharging employees without giving them a chance to be heard or informing them as to the cause of this discharge.
The mine workers of the State should be given some protection against the operation of bogus or irresponsible mining concerns. These “hot air” concerns often employ men to do development works and then alleging financial embarrassment refuse to pay them their wages. Ours laws should never furnish a breastwork for the crook and the grafter and should, therefore, be amended so as to furnish these mine workers adequate protection. Steps should also be taken through regulation, or otherwise, to wipe out all crooked employment agencies. The working classes should no longer be left as prey to unprincipled concerns of this sort.
There are great quantities of prison-made goods, manufactured in other States, shipped into Oregon every year, which, together with those manufactured by our own contracted prison labor, is sold in competition with similar articles manufactured by free labor. Believing not only that every tub should stand on its own bottom, but that every reasonable protection should be given free labor, I recommend that a law be passed requiring all goods manufactured with prison labor to be so labeled.
United States Senator Elihu Root of New York in a speech delivered before the National Civic Federation in November, 1909, said:
“ It seems to me that our present system of dealing with those injuries that come to the employees in our great industrial life is foolish, wasteful, ineffective, and barbarous. It is discreditable to have a great enlightened nation ignoring the fact that in all industries there are accidents, and that every crushed foot, every broken arm, every ruined life, is expended in the business, is a part of the cost of doing the business. All accidents, all injuries, are subject to the law of average. The cost of support which is made necessary by the injuries suffered in a business is just as much a part of the cost of the business as the tools that are worn out or the material that is consumed. It ought to be paid for by the business as a part of that cost and not left to the charity of the nation at large. It ought to be paid for so that the man who has spent his life and his strength as a necessary part of doing the business will feel that he is being paid in a way that preserves his manhood instead of being thrown upon charity in a way that destroys it.”
There is in operation in some of the European countries a system of industrial insurance which is producing excellent results. Through the co-operation of the employer, employee, and the State—each bearing a portion of burden, which, of course, is passed on to the ultimate consume—provision is made in advance for the injured. This question has been taken up in this country by the National Civic Federation and has resulted in the organization of a special department on “Compensation for Industrial Accidents and Their Prevention.” This department is composed of a large number of employers, representative labor men, attorneys, insurance experts, economists, and State officials, who are working together in an earnest endeavor to solve the problem of how to lessen the hardships from the hazards of industry and furnish relief to the injured. A movement of this character should be given every encouragement and I assure its friends that they will find me ever ready to lend a hand in bringing about some just solution to this most important problem.
Oregon will never come into her own in the way of development until she takes steps to improve her highways. There are sections of our State—great empires where you could lose several of the New England States—absolutely without means of reaching the railroads or markets with their products except by a two or three day’s and sometimes a week’s, journey over almost impassible wagon roads. We may sing the State’s praises to the sky and spend a fortune in advertising our resources to attract homeseekers and settlers, but we will have but little success unless we can point to some movement towards the construction of good roads over which the products of the farms may be hauled to market.
Realizing how greatly the State was in need of good roads and that, through our slip-shod methods of road patching thousands of dollars of the people’s money were being squandered annually, a number of our public-spirited citizens, though their organization, the Oregon Good Roads Association, have thoroughly investigated the whole question of road building and I understand will submit to you for your consideration a number of bills which embody their views and recommendations in the matter. Knowing that their recommendations are being prompted solely by an earnest desire to see this State gridironed by the best system of highways in the world and at the least possible cost to the taxpayers, I ask that the whole question be kindly given the most careful consideration by you.
OREGON CITY CANAL AND LOCKS
Chapter 80 of the session laws of 1909 provides for he appropriation of $300,000 by the State, contingent upon the appropriation of a like sum by congress, for the purpose of assisting the Federal Government in acquiring, by purchase, condemnation, or construction a boat canal and locks around the falls in the Willamette River at Oregon City. Congress, at its recent session, met the contingency of this statute by including in the River and Harbor bill an appropriation of $300,000 for the acquisition of a canal and locks at the place named.
Section 3 of the State law provides tat the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, acting jointly, in January, 1911, January 1912, and January, 1913, shall provide in the usual manner for raising the $300,000 appropriated by the act. No specific provision is made, however, for the payment of this $300,000 to the Federal Government.
It seems to me in the negotiations and possible legal entanglements incident to providing free locks at Oregon City, that the State’s co-operation might be of great assistance to the general Government, and that such co-operation might materially hasten the time when the existing bar to free and open river transportation would be removed. I recommend, therefore, that a statute be enacted by this legislature, empowering the State Board, consisting of the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Treasurer, to pay over to the Federal Government at such time and in such manner as may be mutually agreed, the fund appropriated by the State. And I further recommend that this same board be authorized to represent the State in any action which, in the judgment of the Federal Government, would aid in the furtherance of this most important project.
Reform in our judicial system has been long overdue. The people, at the last election, passed an amendment which removes all constitutional obstacles from the path of betterment and the way is now open for the burial of the many antiquated features of our system and the birth of new ones.
Any attempt at revision, however, should come only after thorough investigation and deliberate discussion. I would suggest, therefore, that provision be made for the appointment of a commission, to serve without pay, whose duty it shall be to prepare and submit to the next legislature a bill which will make one thorough revision of the whole system. The two years of investigation and discussion will give everyone an opportunity to be heard and should enable the commission to give the State the best judicial system on earth. I am opposed to all hasty and patch-work legislation at this, or any time, and believe that the plan proposed is the only sane method for ascertaining and making the necessary changes in our present system.
Oregon, more than any other State, demands an intelligent and educated citizenship. The voters of this State, by reason of our advanced laws, are regularly called upon to exercise the functions of legislators and to decide by their ballots questions of grave public moment.
It follows, therefore, that Oregon should make liberal provision for its educational system. It would be better and wiser by far to show scanty consideration for other departments or institutions of the State, in order to provide needed funds for the State’s schools and colleges, than to scrimp the funds for the schools to aid other institutions or departments. I believe in economy of government but not in economy of education, and I trust that in passing upon the needs of the State’s educational system this legislature will show no disposition to refuse any of the schools or colleges such support as their necessities and healthy development may require.
UNPAID CLAIMS OF NORMAL SCHOOLS
When the normal schools were abolished at the last session of the legislature no provision was made for the payment of the salaries of the teachers for the balance of the term for which they had been employed. Some of them received little or no pay from January 1, 1909, to the end of the school term in June, and what little they did receive was derived largely from private donations. The legislature, therefore, should not fail to provide for the payment of any and all unpaid salaries that may be justly due from the State.
OREGON LIBRARY COMMISSION
This commission was created by an act of the legislature of 1905 for the purpose of giving advice to public libraries and schools and communities wishing to establish libraries, also to purchase and operate free of cost, except for transportation, traveling libraries among communities, libraries, schools, colleges, and universities.
The commission realizing the importance of the work it was called upon to perform chose a more efficient secretary who has had charge, and has directed the affairs of the office and deserves great praise for the skillful and efficient manner in which she has conducted the same and for her untiring efforts to increase the usefulness of the commission and make Oregon one of the leading States in this line of work.
That the legislature acted wisely in establishing this commission will be admitted by any one who will take the trouble to inquire into its work. The buying of books and the establishment and maintenance of libraries require special knowledge and as this is possessed by the secretary of the commission and her corps of assistants, every little hamlet in the country receives the benefit of it and with the result that the children of the homesteader in the remote districts are provided with a well-selected library of the best books and at an insignificant cost to the community.
During the short time the commission has been in existence it has selected and purchased 131,000 books for public school libraries, and at a cost of about $76,000. These books were purchased and delivered at two-fifths of what they would have cost the different communities had they purchased them direct and in small quantities. This saving alone nearly equals the total cost of conducting the office of the commission from the time it was created.
The work of purchasing books is but a small part of the duties of the commission. It has been instrumental in bringing about the establishment of libraries in every nook and corner of the State and has given assistance in cataloging the books in most of our public libraries; it has established a system of traveling libraries through which the residents of our remotest districts may have access to the best books; and has assembled, classified, and catalogued a mass of material covering the live issues of the day, which is available at any and all times to members of the legislature, debating societies, or any one interested.
This department has been conducted with the strictest economy. No department has made a dollar go as far as the Library Commission. I hope every member of the legislature will find time to read its report, visit its office, and get in touch with its work, and I trust that the suggestions made in the report for enlarging the scope of the department’s usefulness will be given careful attention.
The four years’ work of the Railroad Commission speaks for itself. Since the creation o the commission the public has seen a marked improvement in the road-bed, equipment, station facilities and train service of our railroads and is receiving the benefit of an annual saving of several hundred thousand dollars through rate reductions. The great task of ascertaining the original cost and cost of reproduction of all of the railroads in the State is about finished and the information thus obtained will be of inestimable value both for taxation and rate making purposes. This undertaking has cost the State but a small fraction of what similar undertakings have cost other states. The commission is now working under a very effective law and but few amendments are necessary. These, however, will be submitted to you for your approval through measures which are being prepared by the commission. Its further needs are fully set out in its annual report and will no doubt be called to your attention by the members of the commission.
OTHER PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATIONS
There is a demand from many quarters for the better regulation of all public service corporations and a movement is now on foot to place those not now subject to control under the jurisdiction of some commission. Experience has shown that just rates and treatment come only through such effective regulation and there is no excuse for further delaying action in this State.
The constant consolidation and reorganization of our public service corporations and the lack of proper regulation in the matter of issuing stock should attract the attention of the members of this legislature and convince them that there is great need of legislation which will protect the public from all unwarranted issues of watered stock. It may be that this is a matter for Federal regulation but in the absence of any action on the part of congress it is surely within the province of the State to take action in the matter.
ADVERTISEMENT OF OREGON’S RESOURCES
State officials are daily in receipt of requests from persons residing in other States and in other countries asking for information concerning Oregon and its resources Owing to the fact that the legislature has never made provision for the publication of publicity matter it is impossible to comply with these requests. Other States are advertising their resources and it seems to me the time has come for Oregon to take similar action. The State could print a comprehensive booklet at very little cost as the material could be obtained from the railroad companies and commercial organizations, assembled by the Oregon State Conservation Commission and printed by the State Printer. The State is thus in a position where it can do some effective advertising at very little cost and it is to be hoped that the legislature will see fit to provide the Oregon Conservation Commission with authority to carry out the work.
White slavery, a term that spells hideous vice and inhuman infamy, has been for some time engaging the serious thought and active endeavor of the Federal Government. It has been found that organized gangs of lecherous parasites have been swarming in the country, more or less openly engaged in their revolting business. Young and innocent girls have been enticed into this country, oftentimes by trick and artifice, and friendless, have been forced into an existence worse than death. American girls, lured to the cities by clever persuasions and promises of employment, have been cast into the vortex of the lost by these inhuman monsters, never to re-appear unless in the police court or the morgue. The horror of the situation needs no elaboration for every edition of the public press adds fresh chapters to its awfulness.
Congress has enacted stringent legislation against this evil and is making an energetic effort to stamp it out. But cases are continually arising hard for the Federal law to grasp, cases local in their nature and clearly within the jurisdiction of the courts of this State.
I believe that this State, insofar as is possible, should work side by side with the Federal Government in combating this evil, and I recommend that a statute be enacted, following as closely as practicable the Federal law, through which the State courts may lay a heavy hand upon this most loathsome traffic, clean the State of it and keep it clean.
REQUESTS OF PIONEERS
Pioneers of the State will very probably appear before this legislature in the interests of projects conceived for the perpetuation of historical events in the public memory. Some years ago the Champoeg Monument Association secured three acres of ground at Champoeg and erected thereon a monument commemorative of the convention of May 2, 1843, at which it was determined that Oregon should be American and not English territory. A movement has now been started for the purchase of 12 acres additional and the construction of a pavilion for housing the historical celebration which is held there annually.
The Oregon Historical Society desires to erect a modest monument above, and a fence around, the sadly neglected grave of Peter Skene Ogden. This noted pioneer was the Chief Factor for the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Vancouver in 1847, and after the Whitman massacre of that year, ransomed 53 women and children captured by the Indians. None of this money was ever repaid, and the historical society desires to pay tardy tribute to the memory of the patriotic and humane pioneer.
There yet remains a few aged veterans of the Indian outbreak of 1855, whose claims have never been paid by the State. These men volunteered their services ,furnishing their own horses, arms, and equipment. The legislature of 1856 agreed to allow the men $2.00 per day for their services, $3.00 per day for the use of their horses, and to reimburse them for horses killed or injured in service. Legislature after legislature failed to pay these just debts, and only in recent years have a majority of the claims been met. There are still a few claims unpaid and these constitute a debt of honor owed by the State. When these matters are brought to your attention I bespeak for them your thoughtful consideration.
Congress, some years ago, with a view for bringing about a more equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation, passed an income tax law but the Supreme Court of the United States held it to be unconstitutional. Congress has now passed an amendment to our Constitution, which by removing all constitutional obstructions will permit the passage of such a law, and it is being submitted to the several States fro approval or rejection. The proposed amendment is as follows:
Article XVI: Congress shall have the power to levy and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
This amendment before becoming effective must be ratified by at least three-fourths of the States. A number of the States have already approved the measure, while a few have rejected it. It is to be hoped, however, that Oregon will go on record as being in favor of this most meritorious and progressive measure.
THE “OREGON PLAN”
The eyes of the nation are focused on Oregon today. The progressive laws of this State are being made the pattern of State after State. Oregon has tried out the direct primary law, the direct election of United States Senators, the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, and has found these measures good. Other States, boss-ridden and machine-controlled, have watched this State strike off the shackles of political slavery and are now driving the old convention system with its ringmasters, its graft and corruption, into oblivion.
Within the past few days Governors Osborn of Michigan, Foss of Massachusetts, Marshall of Indiana, Plaisted of Maine, and Norris of Montana, have declared that their States must adopt the “Oregon System” for political regeneration.
Oregon’s system is no longer an experiment. It has been refined in the fires of fierce opposition, and has stood the test well. If imperfections exist, those in time may be remedied or adjusted. But I hold that if changes must come, they should come at the hands of the friends of the law, and I saw now that during my term of office I will zealously guard the integrity of these laws of the people and will combat with every means in my power any attempt to injure, infringe, or subvert them. The people of Oregon, at different times and in no uncertain tones, have declared for these laws, and no men or no hostile influence should be permitted to attempt, in any manner, to wrest from the people their hard-won victory.
In conclusion, gentlemen, I bespeak for myself that courteous consideration at the hands of this distinguished body, which it and each of its members will receive from me, and I trust that united effort will mark this session as an epoch in the good fortune and prosperity of the State. And in this connection I remind you that as each and every measure appearing during the session should receive your careful consideration you should guard against the usual turmoil of the closing days. I would suggest that should you adopt a resolution at the first of the session providing that no measure should pass from one house to the other during the last five days of the session, it would go far towards permitting fuller discussion of those important measures which are always late in reaching final consideration. And I would suggest that this State now has many laws, and that this legislature would go down in history more blessed for a few well-considered and timely enactments than for a large amount of ill-considered and faulty legislation.