The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

For the Fish Lake Ditch and Hopkins Canal, click here.

Astrology on Top.
    Several Ashland people are hatching out a huge scheme to keep Rogue River from wasting its water in an already well-filled pond, the Pacific Ocean, and propose tapping Rogue River with a canal--60 feet wide by five feet deep--leading around the northern and eastern part of the valley to a point away up above Ashland, then cross over and go down the western and southern part, thus circling the whole valley for a grand irrigating scheme that will make the land all "bloom like the rose," and do the transportation business of the myriads upon myriads of gristmills, sawmills, skating rinks, shooting galleries, soap factories, and et ceteras that will spring up. They held a meeting recently and outlined the scheme, which they figured out will cost from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. They have been floating about high up in the 7th heaven and will incorporate, open books for stock, etc., in a few days. The central figures who have conceived this glorious plan to lift the country out of the dull monotony of everyday affairs are "Colonel" Geo. Engle, who believes his massive dome of thought was made for something higher than dealing out peas, pumpkins, Irish potatoes, bark, hoop-poles and skipper cheese; and "Colonel" Geo. B. Landers, of pork-packing "fame." To the question where those millions are to come from the gentlemen dilate awhile upon "government appropriations" and then remark "that it doesn't require so much money as it does brains," at the same time putting on a presumptuous demeanor that is meant to convey the impression that they have no hesitancy in putting in the brains of the head of the company at a fair valuation to supply the vacuum made by the deficiency of that $5,000,000. This is cheerful. But if some of their friends don't take charge of them soon the services of a commission---a regular inquirendo lunatico commission--will be required to transport some diseased brains to a convenient crazy shop for general repairs. This is a bad climate for featherbrains. This city seems to be the nesting place of cranks and d---- fools. All this excitement was sprung up by Alexia Constantine Pfuhl, the long-haired astrologer who cast the horoscopes of these people and told them they would make a fortune with water. Of course there is no water in groceries, and what has aqua pura got to do with curing hogs, anyhow?
Valley Record, Ashland, February 12, 1891, page 3

Medford Mail.
    The Rogue River Valley Water Company has been incorporated under the Raley water law with a capital stock of $250,000, in 125,000 shares. The incorporators are Henry Klippel, J. A. Lee, J. B. McGee, Francis Fitch and L. C. Gruby. The object of the company is to construct and maintain a water ditch from Little Butte Creek down into the valley. Said ditch to be used for irrigating and transportation purposes. Surveyors have been out for two weeks setting stakes for the ditch. The ditch will be about thirty miles in length, twelve feet across at the top and eight feet at the bottom. It will take such a course as to give the desert the full benefit of its water, and will cross over into Bear Creek Valley between Coker Butte and Mount Roxy. J. S. Howard and son are doing the surveying and Mr. Howard informed the reporter that Medford could be reached within a hundred-foot fall.
Valley Record, Ashland, March 26, 1891, page 1

Big Ditch Completed.
    The irrigating ditch enterprise in the Table Rock section is completed. It is three miles long and irrigates about 3000 acres of farming land. C. H. Pickens, who superintended part of its construction, informs us that it is a very substantial ditch, built to withstand any of the heavy winter raises of Rogue River. The head of the ditch is a flume 4x5 feet, boxed in like a drift and in solid surroundings. E. P. Pickens, R. E. Drum, Wm. Bybee and E. B. Hunsaker are the owners of the ditch, and some twenty-five men were employed in its construction.
Valley Record, Ashland, June 18, 1891, page 3

Medford's Proposed New Ditch.
    Medford, Aug. 27.--The Oregon Irrigating & Power Company entered into a contract with the city of Medford to furnish a minimum supply of 250,000 gallons of water per day at a rate of 4 cents per 1000, this rate to be reduced 2 cents per 1000 for an additional 350,000 gallons and a further reduction as the requirements of the city increase to 1½ cents per 1000. Present plans of the company, of whom C. M. Williams of San Francisco is the head, are to begin work upon the ditch Sept. 1. The ditch originates near the junction of the north and south forks of Butte Creek, in Jackson County, and traverses in its course to Medford a large area of land that may be brought to a high state of cultivation by irrigation. It ls proposed to irrigate 50,000 acres of such land.
    The present survey represents the ditch to be 45 miles long, with a width of 10 feet at the bottom and 16 feet at the top, and a depth of 5½ feet. It is calculated that a sufficient volume of water will be carried to supply all demands upon it to its ultimate terminus, which is supposed to be on the west side of the valley, plans being to cross near the town of Talent. The undertaking is an important one in the history of this section and is hailed with delight by all classes and has the substantial support of all people interested in the development of Oregon.
Valley Record, Ashland, August 30, 1900, page 3

Irrigation Makes 'Em Get Busy.
    When a man puts his land under an irrigating ditch he just naturally gets busy--he can’t help it. S. A. Carlton, who owns a fine farm over near Wellen post office, is almost always a pretty busy man--and he has been for years, else he would not now own the fine farm he does, but for several months past he has been unusually busy, so much so that many of his Medford friends have asked if "Uncle Dolph" was away visiting. He was in town this week for the first time for several months--been too busy. Nearly all his several hundred acres of land is under the Fish Lake ditch. He used some water from the ditch the past season and the result was so flattering, notwithstanding the inexperience in its use, that he is preparing to cover every acre he can with water next season. He is right now putting out 1000 Newtown and Spitzenberg apple trees, and will put out a greater number next season. Aside from this orchard venture he is going to experiment quite extensively in the growth of different grasses. He is sowing twelve acres of land to red clover, six acres to alfalfa, three or four acres to muskeet, one acre to alsike and ten acres to red top and timothy. This land will all be irrigated and he is very sanguine as to the result. He now has growing a few acres of alfalfa which has done remarkably well--proving that this grass can be produced in abundance on sticky soil.
Medford Mail, December 2, 1904, page 1

May Extend Ditch.
    When Messrs. Clark, Belser, Palmtag and Williams, of the Jackson County Improvement Co., were here last week, a directors meeting was had and it was decided to make a proposition to the people of the valley for the extension of the ditch from its present terminus on the company's farm. The proposition, briefly stated, is this: That if the farmers will guarantee 5000 acres of land for irrigation the company will build the ditch to the west side of Bear Creek, crossing the creek near the northern boundary of the city and covering much of the land between here and Central Point. This would bring a large acreage into productiveness, which is now producing little or nothing.
    On the other hand the company, if the proposition is not accepted, intend to cut up their holdings in forty- and eighty-acre tracts and induce people to come in and buy these tracts. This was the intention of the directors when they came up here, but seeing that the country was waking up and upon the verge of a boom concluded to make the first proposition to the people. A committee of citizens will probably be appointed to wait upon the farmers and interest them in the scheme.
Medford Mail, March 31, 1905, page 1

The Peterson Ranch, a Formerly Arid Tract,
Now Producing Good Crops--Water Did It.

    On Saturday of last week a party, composed of Mr. and Mrs. I. L. Hamilton, Mrs. V. T. McCray and a representative of this paper, made a drive to the Peterson ranch, eight miles north and east from Medford. The first three members of the party made the drive for pleasure, but the representative of the Mail made it for the sole and only purpose of seeing things--and he saw.
    The Peterson ranch comprises 700 acres, and a couple or three years ago was purchased by the Jackson County Improvement Company--better known as the Fish Lake Ditch Company. The land until this year has been practically nothing but an arid desert. There were some few spots of land upon it upon which crops could be grown with varied degrees of success. This year Mr. V. T. McCray, engineer and manager for the company, will take 100 tons of grain hay from the land; has now growing 200 acres of wheat and barley which will easily yield thirty bushels to the acre. Then there is an alfalfa field of eighty acres, which is looking fine. This entire 700-acre tract is under the ditch and there are streams of mountain water flowing in all directions over it. There is much of it, however, which has never been cropped and this, of necessity, will have to be leveled to some extent before water can effectually be used--that is the bumps will have to be taken off and scraped into the depressions. The land which the company has in crops this year has been leveled and upon this the putting of water through the ditches was all that was necessary to produce wheat five and six feet high.
    Mr. McCray has planted a number of experimental plats upon what is actual desert land. For instance, near the entrance to the place, there are growing patches of corn--and it is looking fine. This land has been flooded, but in a very crude and unsatisfactory manner, because of the fact that the surface has not been leveled, and the corn is planted only upon the higher places, but the experiment proves beyond a question of doubt that the desert land will produce abundantly when watered. Mr. McCray showed us Early Rose potatoes growing upon this same desert land that were as large as table tumblers. There is also growing other garden stuff. Mr. McCray has also put out, as an experiment, a dozen or more different varieties of grass, and all of those seem to be doing well, but he is of the opinion that Tall Oat grass will prove to be the greatest success because of its rapid growth.
    If any person doubts the good results obtainable from the use of water on this desert land they have only to visit this farm--and be at once convinced, and all doubt dispelled.
    The company is now running in its ditch and several laterals about 1200 inches of water, but this amount can be increased to 5000 inches at any time. Their ditches now extend across the desert to the Lee Watkins place, near the banks of Rogue River. At this time the entire desert is practically under the ditch and many farmers, not only those on the desert, but those along the entire line of the ditch, are using the water--and their crops show the effects of its use.
    In many places this ditch company has made possible the growth of many spears of grain where not only one, but none, grew before. Surely, no person can be longer skeptical us to the benefits resultant from the use of water who has seen what Mr. McCray is doing on this before almost valueless Peterson ranch.
Medford Mail, June 23, 1905, page 1

    Some weeks ago the Mail had an article telling of a scheme by which the Sterling Mining Co. intended to bring water into the valley for irrigation, power and domestic purposes. It was said that it couldn't be done, that it was a "hot air" proposition and an impossibility. However, the surveys have been made and preliminary estimates as to the cost have been submitted. In a short time it will be up to the farmers and fruit raisers of the central valley us to the amount of encouragement they intend giving the company in this enterprise--not in bonuses or subscriptions, but in patronage after the system is installed. The company is ready and willing to construct this irrigation system if they can secure the patronage to justify it. This is not a philanthropic scheme by any means, it is a cold-blooded business proposition. If sufficient revenue can be secured to justify the construction of the system it will be built. That's all there is to it.
    Fred J. Blakely, the president of the Sterling Mining Co., was in Medford several days this week, consulting with J. D. Heard, the superintendent of the mine, concerning their various properties, for the Sterling is not the only mine controlled by this company, which fact will be found out later. There are to be extensive improvements, and this irrigation scheme is one of those contemplated.
    The ability of the men at the head of this enterprise to carry out their plans is most positively shown by the success Mr. Blakely, the president, has had in other enterprises. In Douglas County, where he has been operating for the past several years, he has inaugurated more dividend-paying enterprises than anyone in that county. He owns the Roseburg Power and Light Co., has constructed a large mill at Winchester and cleared the North Umpqua River from near its source to Winchester so that logs may be floated down it, has diverted the Calapooia so that its waters make a garden spot of a formerly unproductive section of country. Whatever Mr. Blakely tells the people he intends doing he will do. He has never failed yet and does not intend to fail.
    The experience of the past few years has demonstrated to the orchardists the value of water upon their lands. If the productive power of an orchard is increased by irrigation the value of the land is increased in exact ratio. It would be well for our orchardmen to look into this matter thoroughly.
Medford Mail, October 20, 1905, page 1

The Rogue River Valley to Become a Network of Pipe Lines
Conveying Water for Irrigation Purposes

    The Condor Water & Power Company announces its purpose to pump water from the Rogue River for irrigation and other purposes.
    Their big ditch at Prospect is nearly completed, and their dam at that point across Rogue River will be completed November 1st, this year. This gives them a head of water of 600 feet and will develop 100,000 horsepower, the intention of the company being, however, to install units of 10,000 horsepower each as required.
    Work to be rushed and a portion of their pipe line system of irrigation to be in operation next summer.
    Pumping from Rogue River, the cheapest and most practicable way of irrigating in the Rogue River Valley. Water can be conveyed to all elevations cheaply and economically by the cheap and unlimited water power now being developed by the Condor Co.
    Estimated cost of pipe line from the Rogue River to Medford to irrigate 5000 acres is $50,000.
    Contract and rates for water to be very reasonable, based upon the purpose for which the water is to be used, irrigation for alfalfa requiring a great deal more water than that for orchards.
    Ample water assured consumers for all purposes and just when wanted; elevation of lands no drawback, as water can be pumped to any elevation.
    This means the enhancement in value of our hillside farms from ten to one hundredfold. Lands now practically worthless made to produce crops, justifying a valuation of $100 and upwards per acre.
    With water, ten acres, enough for any man to make a comfortable living, who, without water, would starve to death on 160 acres of similar lands without water. This means the cutting up into smaller tracts of our large farms and the quadrupling of the population of the Rogue River Valley within the next few years.
    Far-sighted men buying lands in the Rogue River Valley who will soon reap their reward in large advances. Although lands have had a steady increase in value during the last few years, its advances from now on will be by leaps and bounds.
    The pumping of water for irrigation is not an experiment. It is a demonstrated and proven fact the world over. It is cheaper and more practical than ditches, where cheap water power is so abundant as here. It has been in use in Southern California for years. Water is pumped for irrigation in the Hawaiian Islands to a height of 1000 feet and profitably.
    The Rogue River Valley will soon become the garden spot of the Pacific Coast. With a climate and soil unequaled, all that has been needed is water for irrigation, and that now is ensured. With the enormous increase in population, next will follow a network of electric railroads, bringing to the farmer's door all the conveniences and comforts of the most advanced civilization.
Medford Mail, October 27, 1905, page 1

A Project Now on Foot for Future Development
Irrigation Already Used Extensively in the Valley--
Not Necessary for Good Crops

    Although bountiful crops are raised without the aid of artificial irrigation in Rogue River Valley, the output can be vastly increased by this means. The water for irrigation is abundant and is comparatively easy to get upon the land. No extensive works in the way of reservoirs are necessary in most cases. All that is needful is to tap one of the many mountain streams and carry the water through ditches to where it is wanted. The Table Rock Ditch Co., north of Rogue River, has been furnishing water to its stockholders for many years. The people of Eden precinct have an irrigation system of their own--though comparatively small in extent. In the Applegate Valley the majority of the farmers have private irrigation ditches, the water being taken from the Applegate riven.
    The largest and most comprehensive system now in operation in the valley is that of the Fish Lake Water Co. In the year 1900 this enterprise was first definitely commenced and now the company has a ditch line twenty-five miles in length from the intake on the headwaters of Little Butte Creek to the present end of the ditch on the company's farm a few miles northeast of Medford. This ditch has a capacity of 5,000 miner's inches and is so constructed that its capacity can be increased at any time as the demand for water may require. The waters of Butte Creek are sufficient during most years--up to the latter part of July at least--to fill the ditch, but in order to be sure of having an ample supply, the company has secured from the government the right to make a storage reservoir at Fish Lake. This lake lies at the base of Mt. McLoughlin, one of the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades, and is a mile and a half long by a quarter mile wide, varying in depth from four to eight feet. It is fed by a number of ice-cold springs gushing out of McLoughlin's sides and is the source of the north fork of Little Butte. At its outlet the mountains come close together forming a narrow gorge through which Butte Creek rushes on its way to the valley. At this point precipitous bluffs of solid rock face each other and here the Fish Lake Water Company purposes to erect a mighty dam, which will confine the waters of the lake and raise its surface at least thirty feet above its present level. This will give them an immense storage reservoir two miles long by half a mile wide and thirty feet in depth in the shallow parts. The head of the ditch is some twenty miles from the lake, but no more ditch need be built, as when the water begins to run low, all that will be necessary is to open the gates at the lake and let the water come down through its natural channel to the point of diversion.
    At the present time 50,000 acres of the most productive lands in the valley are covered by this ditch, and work is now going on making an extension of nine miles, crossing Bear Creek just north of the city limits of Medford, and which will cover 10,000 acres more of land, much of which is now non-productive, but which under the revivifying effects of water will produce bounteous yields of fruits, grains and vegetables. The Fish Lake Company is the pioneer public irrigation enterprise in the valley, and its work has resulted in a great deal more interest being taken in irrigation than ever before.
    The Sterling Mining Company, which controls extensive water rights in the Siskiyous, including over twenty-five miles of ditch carrying water to the mines, is considering the matter of using the surplus water in furnishing irrigation for a portion of the valley south and east of Medford. The scheme includes the boring of a tunnel through the divide between the main valley and Sterling, and carrying the water through pipes to the different customers. Already the acreage which the company figured would be necessary in order to make the scheme a feasible and paying one has been subscribed, and more could easily have been secured, only the company wished to be certain as to the amount of water they could furnish before making additional contracts.
    The High Line ditch, which starts from Rogue River at Prospect, fifty miles from Medford, and follows the high ridges north of Rogue River to Gold Hill, is another irrigation enterprise upon which work is being done and from which great things are expected. This canal--for a canal it will be in size when completed--is intended to carry water for irrigation and mining purposes, to be used as a means of transporting lumber from the big forests of the upper Rogue River and the Umpqua divide, and will cover all that portion of the Rogue River Valley lying north of the river from the head of the ditch to Grants Pass, and has the inexhaustible supply of water from the river to depend upon. Dry gulches, rich in gold, which have not been worked for want of water, will yield up their wealth. Mountain and valley farms that have been unproductive, or at most giving a fair crop, will become consistent producers.
    While it is true that some favored portions of the county produce regularly without irrigation, it is nevertheless a fact that irrigation benefits even these. The product is of better quality, more uniform in size, coloring and marketable qualities, especially is this true of fruit, and besides the farmer, fruit grower, or gardener is always sure of a crop if he can supplement nature's offerings with artificial irrigation.
Medford Mail, March 9, 1906, page 13



    After expending $150,0000 in preliminary work and surveys, Fred N. Cummings of this city and his associates have taken up the option they have held since March, 1900, on the Fish Lake Ditch Company and the Jackson County Improvement Company, the title passing to them. The purchase price was $425,000. By the terms of the purchase Mr. Cummings and his associates must expend $150,000 additional on construction work within the next 12 months. When completed the project will represent an expenditure of $2,500,000 and will have placed 55,000 acres in the Rogue River Valley under irrigation, aside from 7000 acres the company plans to reclaim on what is known now as "the desert." The deal is the greatest in the history of Southern Oregon.
    For the past year and a half Mr. Cummings has been indefatigably working on his plans to give the Rogue River Valley a first-class irrigation system. He secured an option on the Fish Lake Ditch Company holdings and then began the task of enlisting capital. In this he was successful. Recently the Rogue River Valley Canal Company, with a capital stock of $1,500,000, was incorporated to carry on the work of the Fish Lake Ditch Company and Roguelands, Inc., with a capital stock of a like amount, to supplant the Jackson County Improvement Company. Both are close corporations.
Comprehensive Survey First Made.
    After securing the option on the Fish Lake Ditch Company, Mr. Cummings began a comprehensive survey of the valley, and in this work expended $30,000. One of the terms of the option was that Mr. Cummings should continue construction work on the system. This was done, and to date no less than $150,000 has been expended.
The Officers of the Company.
    The officers of the new company are: Patrick Welsh of Spokane, president; R. K. Neil, vice-president; F. N. Cummings, sole manager; Irving Worthington, chief engineer, and Porter J. Neff, local attorney. Isham N. Smith of Portland heads the legal department. To Mr. Smith's ability is due much credit for the successful conclusion of the deal.
    Within the next few months the company will have all of that land under what is known as the Hopkins Canal, comprising 2700 acres, under water.
Will Expend $2,500,000 in Valley.
    When Mr. Cummings and his associates have completed their plans they will have expended $2,500,000 and will have placed 55,000 acres of land in the Rogue River Valley under irrigation. To complete this task five years will be necessary, although they expect within two years to have three main conduits completed. When completed, the system will be one of the most comprehensive found in any section of the Northwest and will consist of approximately 350 miles of distributing laterals, aside from the main canal from the intake on Little Butte Creek to the Bradshaw drop, which, when enlarged and completed, will have a capacity of 250 second-feet of water. The undertaking is a gigantic one, and it is the greatest individual undertaking in this section.
Are Now Expending $10,000 a Month.
    The company is now expending about $10,000 a month in construction work and surveys. They are also locating what will be known as their high-line canal, which will follow the foothills around the valley above the 401 ranch, Hillcrest and on south to Talent, from where it will swing around the valley back of the Burrell orchards on to the Jacksonville schoolhouse and on to the foothills west of Central Point. An intermediate canal is also under way. This canal will be between the Hopkins, or low-line, canal and the high-line, and will skirt south and circle in just south of Medford. The Hopkins canal is now being enlarged. From these three main canals innumerable laterals are to be constructed, so that each 40-acre tract in the valley will be placed under water.
To Utilize Horse Power.
    From the Bradshaw drop around to Yankee Creek the company will [be] building a high-line canal. In Yankee Creek they will construct a powerhouse, utilizing the fall which they can attain there to lift water into the high-line canal, which will pass through the Owens gap and hug the foothills until Talent is reached. The acreage which this canal will place under water is shown by the fact that it will pass back of the 401, shoot through over the Hazelrigg divide, across the upper end of the Merrick orchard, pass above Hillcrest, cut across Westerlund and swing around the valley about the north line of the Mountain View orchard, near Talent. This will give an altitude high enough for the canal to pass back of the Burrell orchard and cover that immense tract. This canal, when completed, will run close to the Jacksonville school and from thence on north to Central Point.
Will Reclaim Seven Thousand Acres of Land.
    In addition to the irrigation plans the company will reclaim some 7000 acres of land known as "the desert," which is shown to be productive when water is placed upon it.
    Taken all in all, the undertaking is a gigantic one. Before putting a grading outfit in the field, the company expended nearly $30,000 in making a contour map of the valley showing the elevation of every tract. It is proving the greatest individual enterprise in Southern Oregon and one that will mean much to the valley.
Fish Lake Company Organized in 1900.
    It was in 1900 that the Fish Lake Water Company was organized by Hollister, Cal., people, induced so to do by the report of V. T. McCray, who had, as engineer, filed upon the waters of Fish Lake at the southern base of Mt. McLoughlin. The original members of the company were C. D. Vincent, William Palmtag, J. H. Belser, C. B. Williams (since deceased), Leon and Fred Williams, of Hollister, Cal., I. L. Hamilton and V. T. McCray, M. Purdin and the late Rufus Cox of Medford.
Primary Object of the Company.
    The primary object of the company, which is now being carried out by the new owners, was to bring a canal around the foothills so that any portion of the valley north of Talent might be irrigated. They began work on their canal in 1901 and in 1903 had completed 16 miles of ditch to the Bradshaw drop, from which place, the next year, they offered to deliver free to farmers beneath the ditch all the water needed. At first opposition was met, residents claiming that water was not needed, but since that time orchardists have become more or less educated, and over 60 miles of laterals have been constructed.
    Realizing in 1907 that the demand for water would be much greater in the next few years, Mr. McCray conceived the idea of bringing the waters of Four-Mile Lake, lying on the east side of the Cascade divide. By building a dam of probably 40 feet high across a narrow gorge it was estimated that the water could be carried over a low place in the divide between the two lakes and utilized to increase the water supply for the Rogue River Valley. The proper representations were made and the right to the waters of Four-Mile were assigned by the government to the Fish Lake company, which assures their successors of water in plenty for all time.
    In the passing of the Fish Lake company, a corporation which has done much to develop the valley merges into one which may do even more; still it was necessary for the pioneer to come and "show" those who came afterward.
Statement to Water Users.
    For the benefit of the water users in the valley, Mr. Cummings, manager of the new company, has issued the following statement, which gives in a concise form the purposes of the new company, together with its proposition to the public:
    "To the water users of the Rogue River Valley.
    "The Rogue River Valley Canal Company, a corporation duly incorporated under the laws of the state of Oregon, has completed surveys and plans for the enlargement and extension of the Fish Lake Water Company's canals, which it has acquired.
    "The project when completed will serve all that part of the valley lying between the foothills on both sides of Bear Creek, from Talent on the south to Rogue River on the north--a total area of approximately 55,000 acres.
    "It is the company's intention to diligently prosecute the work of construction already commenced. and to be in a position to meet all demands made for irrigation service at as early a date as possible.
    "Lands lying under the Hopkins canal can be supplied with water for the season of 1911, and the company is now prepared to execute contracts for perpetual water rights on any part of this area.
    "That construction may not be delayed on canal lines yet to be built, the company desires an expression from the land owners of the valley as to their needs for water, and to this end will appreciate applications being made so that requirements for construction may be anticipated.
    "The cost of a perpetual water right will be $50 per acre, payable one-fifth (1/5) in cash, the balance in four (4) annual installments, bearing six percent interest.
    "The annual maintenance charge for water delivery will be $2 per acre, per annum, payable at the company's office on or before January 1st of the year in which service is required.
    "Payments on both water rights and maintenance become due and payable only after actual delivery of water to the land.
"FRED N. CUMMINGS, Manager."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 15, 1910, page 1

    Demand for the Talent municipal irrigation district 6 percent gold bonds. Jackson County, Oregon, being offered this week by Freeman, Smith & Camp Company, is attributed to the fact that they are a direct general tax lien upon 8417 acres of the famous Rogue River Valley lands, 90 percent of which is under cultivation. This district is unusually attractive because such a large percentage of it is under cultivation and income producing at the time of issuing its bonds.
    Freeman, Smith & Camp report that less than $50,000 of the issue remains unsold. The Oregon law regarding the issuance of irrigation bonds is very similar to the California law and equally strong in the way of safeguarding investors.

San Francisco Call, April 17, 1919, page 16

Progress in Reclaiming Lands in This State Generally Satisfactory, Says Engineer Cupper.
    Salem, Aug. 21.--The progress made in reclaiming lands included in Oregon projects investigated jointly by the state and United States Reclamation Service, is a matter of considerable satisfaction to State Engineer Percy A. Cupper, who so expresses himself in a report to F. E. Weymouth, chief engineer of the United States Reclamation Service, Denver, Col. These cooperative investigations have been made under a contract entered into between the state and the Secretary of the Interior on May 5, 1913, following the appropriation of $50,000 by the Oregon legislature for the investigation of Oregon projects in connection with the federal government. Projects investigated under this contract include the Deschutes, Ochoco, Malheur, Silver Lake, Silver Creek, Harney Basin, Talent, Medford and Eagle Point projects.
    Funds expended in the investigation and preliminary survey of these projects, it is pointed out, are returned to the state and federal governments by the districts when they are developed, and the funds are in turn used in the investigation of other sections susceptible to reclamation through irrigation. At the present time there is only $1380.63 remaining in the state fund.
    The projects included in the cooperative investigation are described by Cupper in his report as follows:
*    *    *
    "A very preliminary investigation and report were made on the possibility of irrigation in the Rogue River Valley. This investigation resulted in the organization of the Talent Irrigation District, the Medford Irrigation District and the Eagle Point Irrigation District.
    The Talent Irrigation District includes about 11,000 acres and has succeeded in supplying water to 4240 acres this season with the flood waters of Bear Creek and the waters turned over the divide from Little Applegate. A revision of the plans of this district is necessary on account of the failure of the water supply to measure up to expectations, and it is now proposed to construct a reservoir on Emigrant Creek to store the flood waters of this stream and also to turn in the waters of Keene Creek from the Klamath drainage. The district has issued bonds in the amount of $252,000, and it is expected that it will require $500,000 or $600,000 in addition to fully complete the project. The Talent district was in a very fortunate position, in that it could suspend construction work without serious injury to the project when construction and financial conditions became very adverse this season.
    "The Medford Irrigation District originally included some 20,000 acres of land and investigated many sources of water supply. However, it finally turned to Little Butte Creek as the most feasible source, whereupon the project was cut down to approximately 10,000 acres. The Rogue River Valley Canal Company, which has been operating in Rogue River Valley for a number of years, had certain filings on Little Butte Creek, Fish Lake and Four Mile Lake reservoir sites, and it was necessary to deal with this company in this connection. A contract was entered into whereby the Rogue River Valley Canal Company agreed to do the necessary construction work and deliver water to the district for approximately $110 per acre. It is estimated that the total cost to the district will equal $125 or more per acre.
    "This is a rich agricultural section, largely set with fruit, and the water is badly needed to size up the fruit and, thereby, guarantee a crop every year. Preparations are under way for actual construction work and, except for a legal defect in the procedure leading up to the bond issue, work would be under way at the present time.
    "The Eagle Point Irrigation District proposed to secure water from Big Butte Creek, but has not submitted definite plans and the area is uncertain, though it is not expected to exceed 8000 acres."
Oregon Journal, Portland, August 22, 1920, page 15

President Medford Irrigation District Makes Public Statement Regarding Water Situation--Contractor Leaves Fish Lake Today.

    "The contractor moved the camp from Fish Lake today, and the Medford Irrigation District will have water for irrigation during the year 1922," said J. A. Perry, president of the Medford Irrigation District, today. "The dam is completed up to 20 feet, and the gates are all in, gate tower completed, so that we can store water sufficient for our needs during the next year. The work on the main canal is nearly completed, and the work of enlarging the canal above the Bradshaw drop, and the Phoenix lateral are progressing very well, and will be completed by early spring.
    "Land owners in the district however should get their land in shape to put the water on. We would advise them to get their ditches laid out and head ditches made as early as possible, so that they may be operated with the least possible trouble. It is no small matter to put water on your land for the first time, and unless the land owners are all ready to take the water when it is given them, they are not going to get the best results, and there will be more or less grief for everyone.
    "So get to work at once and prepare to use the water to the best advantage. The board of directors realizes that there are very few people in the valley who have had any experience in irrigation, and we are arranging for a few public meetings to be held during the next month as an educational campaign. We will have the cooperation of the Oregon Agricultural College, C. C. Cate, county agent, and F. C. Reimer, of the experiment station. These men, together with men who have had large practical experience in using water, will address these meetings, and we hope all the land owners will attend these meetings and get all the information they can.
    "We believe you will get the best results if you have your irrigation ditches laid out by a competent engineer, otherwise you may find when the water is turned into your ditches that they are not properly located, and before you can get them relocated and ready for the water the water will have been turned down to your neighbor. So be sure you have your ditches in the right place, and everything ready, before the time comes to turn in the water."
Medford Mail Tribune, December 21, 1921, page 1

    The turning of water into the main canal of the Medford Irrigation District today is great news. It marks an epoch in the history of Medford and the Rogue River Valley--final success after over a decade of struggle and discouragement.
    With normal weather from now on, the value of irrigation promises to have dramatic and convincing demonstration. In many districts the soil is now hard and dry. An average rainfall from now on would, without irrigation, mean a loss to orchardists of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For blossoms are now set for the largest pear crop in the history of Southern Oregon. Without irrigation this crop could not, by any possibility, be sized up and brought to successful maturity. With irrigation, it can be.
    Like any other fundamental economic change, irrigation must involve a certain period of readjustment. New methods invariably bring new problems and responsibilities. But such readjustments will be successfully made, and in the not very distant future Medford and the Rogue River Valley will look back upon May 5th, 1922, as the dawn of a new era--the establishment of prosperity for the first time, upon a permanent and steadily growing basis.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 5, 1922, page 4


    A million and a quarter dollar irrigation system for Rogue River Valley, irrigating 10,000 acres in the valley this year and with a ditch covering more than 20,000 acres, has just been put into operation. The storage reservoirs are not yet complete but 4100 acre feet of water is in storage for use this season. A $41,000 dam is to be constructed at Four Mile Lake, a $166,000 dam is 80 percent complete at Fish Lake, a $100,000 connecting canal between the two lakes is to be completed this summer. The 15.8 miles of main canal have been completed at a cost of $150,000, and 45 miles of district main canal have been completed at a cost of $385,000 In addition to a 200-mile system of laterals at a cost of $140,000. The final total storage capacity of the reservoirs now under construction will be 31,300 acre feet. Inestimable improvement in crop yield is predicted for the valley as a result of the full capacity operation of the system. Maximum cost per acre $125. Water turned in May 15, 1922.
Irrigation Started in 1850
    To tell correctly of the benefit of irrigation to the Rogue River Valley one would be compelled to fill volumes. To tell correctly of the fight which preceded the formation of several irrigation districts in the Rogue River Valley would fill more volumes. Suffice it to say that irrigation has been practiced in this vicinity since the '50s and numerous water rights have a priority of 1854.
    Within the next two years the six large irrigation projects in the Rogue River valley will be watering approximately 80,000 acres of land. Adding to this the numerous small projects and the privately owned ditches, the total irrigated area will likely reach 75,000 acres.
    The vast increase in crop yields cannot be estimated at the present time but it is known that it will be of immense proportion. The possibilities of the valley can only be imagined; time alone will tell. With a wonderful climate, and varied soils properly irrigated, it is only a question of time until the anti-irrigationist will cease to exist, and therefore cease to knock.
The Medford District
    The Medford irrigation district canal covers 20,000 acres of land in the heart of the valley. Only 10,000 acres of this land can receive water. 9550 acres have been signed up for water. When the last 150 acres have been signed up completing the 10,000 acres there will be no more water. Time will undoubtedly tell who is right, the landowner with the water or the landowner without.
    Unit number one of the great system comprises Four Mile Lake. This beautiful body of water is about two and one-half miles long by about three-fourths mile wide and lies on the summit of the Cascade Range north and east of Mt. McLoughlin. It is said to have a depth of 200 feet and has been found to be deeper than 120 feet in several places. It is stocked with excellent, gamey trout and if fished properly will easily satisfy the most ardent fisherman's desire.
    The old dam built by V. T. McCray, engineer for the old Fish Lake Ditch Co., is to be torn down and a new dam of earth and rock with a concrete facing will be erected. The dam is to be 25 feet in height and tower, outlet and spillway will be concrete. The calculated storage capacity is 16,300 acre-feet with a 20-foot depth of water above the outlet pipes. The amount set aside for the construction of the new dam is $40,000.
Four Mile Lake Canal
    Unit No. 2 is a connecting canal between Four Mile and Fish lakes. This canal diverts the water from Four Mile Creek about 300 feet below the dam and follows around the mountain to a low saddle on the Cascade Range. At this point the water is dumped into a natural drainage channel on the mountainside from which it is picked up by a canal one-half mile in length which carries it across the summit of the Cascades into a natural channel which leads directly into Fish Lake.
    A portion of this canal was completed in 1910 and about 22 percent in 1920. The canal company expects to complete the canal this summer and is preparing to put a steam shovel on the job. The amount which has been set aside for the construction of this canal is $100,000.
    Fish Lake is unit No. 3. Located at the head of the North Fork of Little Butte Creek and just south of Mt. McLoughlin, Fish Lake is approximately the same length and breadth as Four Mile Lake, and is the second storage reservoir for the system.
Dam 80 Percent Complete
    The dam is now estimated as 80 percent complete and is holding more than 4,100 acre-feet of water for this season's use. As soon as the irrigation season is over the work of completing the dam will be resumed. When completed the dam will be approximately 40 feet high. It is constructed of earth and rock and will have concrete tower, outlet and spillway. The reservoir will have a storage capacity of from 12,000 to 15,000 acre-feet depending on the final height of the dam. Work already done on this dam has amounted to $141,000 and it is estimated that the remaining work will cost about $15,000, making the total cost of the third unit in the neighborhood of $166,000.
Concrete Diversion Dams
    Unit No..4 consists of the main canal which is diverted from Little Butte Creek at the Zundell ranch above Lake Creek. Water from the South Fork of Little Butte Creek is diverted into the main canal through a canal one-half mile in length. The diversion dams are of concrete and are well built. The main canal has a capacity of 175 cubic second-feet from the intake to Bradshaw Drop, a distance of 15.8 miles. All flumes are of metal with concrete transitions and will compare favorably with those of the best projects in the country. At the drop there is a concrete bifurcation where the water is divided between the District canal and the Hopkins canal. The cost of constructing the 15.8 miles of main canal and the one-half mile of auxiliary canal from the South Fork of Little Butte Creek to the main canal was approximately $150,000.
The Main Canal
    Unit No. 5 is the District Main Canal. The district accepts delivery of water from the canal company at Bradshaw Drop. This canal is approximately 45 miles in length ending on the west side of the valley just west of Central Point. Many miles of this canal are built through solid rock. The capacity is 90 cubic feet per second at the intake and is gradually reduced toward the end of the canal. There are numerous cuts, fills, flumes, city pipe lines, crossings and two long siphons, the latter being of creosoted fir 44 and 48 inch diameters with concrete inlets, outlets and footings.
    The cost of this canal, which was first put into use on May 14th of this year, was approximately $385,000.
200 Miles of Laterals
    Unit No. 6 is the distribution system which is composed of a large number of small lateral canals totaling about 200 miles and delivering water to about six hundred different landowners. This system of laterals is exceedingly complicated and the expense of construction has been approximately $140,000.
    The above figures are approximate estimates and the overhead has not been figured in making the estimates, the actual construction cost being the only factor taken into consideration. Canal company officials state that the overhead, such as trucking, payment of office force, etc., will likely add 20 percent to the cost of each unit.
Was a Long, Hard Fight
    The final attainment of irrigation in Jackson County reads like a Horatio Alger story of the rewards of persistence. No hero of a juvenile novel ever suffered more disappointments than the proponents of irrigation in their long fight to get water on the land. Many times the attempt was abandoned only to be resumed when the far-sighted and public-spirited land owners realized that Southern Oregon could never achieve her rightful destiny until insurance against drought was obtained. And the only insurance was to put water on the land.
    Campaign after campaign was put on by the Rogue River Canal Company to secure sufficient acreage for an extension of their system, but they all failed. Finally shortly after the opening of the European war an active campaign was inaugurated to form an irrigation district, and with a few active and aggressive leaders and the aid of the newspapers, the property owners finally voted on September 15, 1917, by an overwhelming majority to form a district, and later also by a large majority the district was bonded for $1,250,000,
    Leonard Carpenter was the first president of the irrigation district and under his direction and active leadership the pioneer work was done with W. A. Folger and E. G. Coleman of Phoenix as capable assistants. Later Mr. Carpenter resigned, his place being taken by J. A. Westerlund, J. A. Perry having been elected president of the district some months before. At the expiration of Mr. Westerlund's term the property owners elected N. S. Bennett, the present board consisting of J. A. Perry, president, E. G. Coleman and Mr. Bennett, directors. E. M. Wilson has acted as secretary, Ralph Cowgill is district engineer succeeding R. W. Rea, and Lincoln McCormack has been attorney for the district.
    To all these men the people owe a great debt of gratitude, for all of them have worked most unselfishly and loyally to give Medford the best irrigation system attainable; they have sacrificed time and money for the good of the district, and the present system will stand as a monument to their good citizenship and devotion.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1922, page C1

An Open Letter to Clients and Friends

Eagle Point Irrigation District Bonds

    MEDFORD, Aug. 2.--Although $150,000 bonds of this issue were reserved especially for residents of Medford and vicinity, already more than $50,000 of the bonds have been sold. It may be impossible to personally meet all my clients and friends before the balance has been sold. This letter is therefore written to get the facts before as many as possible.
Security Absolute
    Nineteen thousand, eight hundred acres are covered under the tax lien of this issue, at the rate of $20.22 per acre. Figured against the choicest land, 6,300 acres, presently to be irrigated, the debt amounts to but $63.49 per acre. The value of these lands is conservatively figured at $1,500,000, while the bond issue amounts to but $400,000. These lands will increase in value and the bonded debt will be reduced by annual payments.
Reason for Low Debt
    Big Butte Creek furnishes the water supply, a positive, adequate, reliable supply. No reservoir is required, only a small diversion dam. No difficult engineering problems are presented. A harmonious organization of farmers, who knew what they wanted, the advice of progressive local bankers, cooperation of expert engineers, and the result was attained. Money was not wasted.
Tax Lien General
    No land under this District can be released until every cent of principal and interest of every fast bond has been paid.
    The lien of these bonds secures the holder in exactly the same way as a school district bond.
Beats 7% Mortgages
    Figure it up. Night and day, year in and year out, these bonds pay interest--there is no period of idle money, no time taken out for reinvestment, no delay in payment of interest, no federal income tax to pay, no expenses and no requests for favors, extensions or delays. Any man who will figure can fully prove this.
Better Security
    In these bonds you have better than 3 to 1 security and the joint and several obligation of 94 owners and their families (that's what it amounts to). The principal and interest is collected through taxes by the Sheriff and the terms of payment are easy, 6% small annual installments over a 25-year period. Yes, and every dollar loaned goes to add more than a dollar in the way of increased value and earning capacity. Mortgages come after tax liens, as you know.
A Time to Play Safe
    All the affairs of the world are not yet settled. Our people have been loaning the world. You cannot afford to go up in the Balkans to collect 8% or 10%, and you cannot afford to pass the best home investment that may be offered in years. You know Eagle Point people. You know they pay their taxes, that they must pay their taxes, and you know that Rogue River Valley land is Gilt Edged Security when so reasonably bonded.
    I have sold bonds for 28 years but have never offered any bond with greater confidence in its security.
    With kindest regards to my friends.
    Temporarily at Medford Hotel. Adv.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 3, 1922, page 4

    Although railroad strike news today was not encouraging, J. E. Mulcahy, general freight agent of the Southern Pacific, informed the Mail Tribune that he was certain there would be no tie up on the S.P. lines, and he is confident that there will be no serious trouble on eastern railroads. "There are too many sane heads on both sides of this controversy," said he, "to make a general walkout possible. I look for a settlement in the near future."
    Mr. Mulcahy has been in the valley several days looking over the fruit prospects from a tonnage standpoint, and he is very enthusiastic over the situation. M. Montgomery, local S.P. agent, predicts there will be 1150 cars of pears shipped from the valley this year, compared to 609 shipped last year. This is the largest pear crop ever produced in Jackson County, and the credit for the increase is universally attributed to irrigation established on a comprehensive scale for the first time this year.

Medford Mail Tribune, August 11, 1922, page 1

    The Talent Irrigation District in the Rogue River Valley effected a saving of about $20,000 in its recent construction operations, according to a statement just issued by district officials. Construction of the huge Emigrant Creek dam, the Ashland lateral and extensions of the distribution system were touched on in the report. A saving on construction is contrary to the usual experience in irrigation district works, the cost usually exceeding original estimates.
    D. C. Henny, consulting engineer of the district, has just rendered what will probably be his final report. The last of the concrete was poured October 12, the last of the metal work was placed October 18, and the superintendent of construction left at the end of the month. One man remained to do a small amount of finishing work on the dam with a small crew to clean up.
    The rains have flooded the lower flat to a point 30 feet above the stream bed level, surplus water passing through the lower 12-inch outlet pipe and through the outlet tunnel gates. About the only work that remains to be done is to grout the contraction joints, and this work will have to wait until the temperature of the concrete has subsided to an approximate level with the temperature of the air.
    Henny reports that the fall rains will prove of great benefit to the district. Completion of the reservoir assures ample supply of water for irrigation throughout the season in 1925. The work was performed under the direction of F. C. Dillard, engineer of the district.
Jackson County News, Medford, November 28, 1924, page 7


    SALEM, Ore., Nov. 25.--The Eagle Point Irrigation District of Jackson County will have to wait a little longer before the state irrigation securities commission promises to extend the guarantee of interest on its $400,000 bonds. The commission told representatives of the district yesterday that it would do so if the cooperation of the people of Jackson County can be obtained. An extension of one and one half years in the guarantee is asked, increasing the present guarantee to five years.
    The commission received crop estimates from Jackson County projects showing that crop returns this year from the Medford Irrigation District were $2,500,000 and from the Talent district $900,000. The former project was developed at a cost of $10,000,000, and the latter at $1,235,000.
    It was declared that the Eagle Point district should make an even better showing considering the development cost.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 25, 1925, page 1

Irrigation Controversy of Long Standing to Be Heard Tomorrow in Circuit Court by Judge Evans of Portland--Many Farmers Interested.
    Judge Walter H. Evans of the circuit court of Portland will open court Monday morning at 9:30 to finish up the determination of the water rights of the Little Butte Creek.
    In 1909 the legislature adopted the present Water Code. It created a water board composed of two superintendents and the state engineer. It provided that on application of any water user on the stream, this board could make surveys and gather information necessary to determining the rights of the parties out of the stream. Everybody who used water out the stream or claimed a right to use it, was brought into the one case.
     In the fall of 1909 the board brought a proceeding to adjudicate the waters of Little Butte Creek. Little Butte Creek runs out of Fish Lake and irrigates a large tract of land in the Little Butte Creek Valley. It has two forks, the North and South Forks, which join at Lake Creek. All of the farmers on the stream have their rights involved in court in this case. Most of them are complaining that the board did not allow them enough water to completely irrigate their lands. Others claim that they are entitled to irrigate more lands than the board allowed. The greatest controversy is between the M. F. Hanley ranch above the forks of the creek, and the Rogue River Valley Canal Company, which brings the water over into the Medford Irrigation District. When the proceeding was started Hanley contested the right of this company and this company contested the right of Hanley, and they settled their differences by a written agreement. The effect of that agreement is to grant Hanley, who has some of the oldest rights on the stream, a first right over the canal company, to 1600 inches of water. The effect of this agreement is in dispute, Hanley now irrigating more than 1500 acres and using about 1200 inches of water. The agreement gave him the right to take 1000 inches around the headgates of the canal company. The other users on the stream below are interested in his being able to do this, because it saves the water for the watershed and therefore for their uses.
    There are some very old rights downstream below the intake of the canal company. Practically all of the users on the stream are opposed to the canal company's taking any water out of the stream until they have had their full requirements. It is contended that some of the land requires much more water per acre than other lands. This is a particularly short water year, and many of the users on the creek were shut off in the summer by the state water board under the decree which the board had made. This, of course, creates a great interest among the farmers as to whether or not their rights are old enough and for enough water to irrigate their lands in the years of short water, as well as in average years. Quite a number of attorneys are representing these various interests, and the case is one which means a great deal to the users concerned.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 28, 1926, page 1

Meeting Held Yesterday with Copco, Banks, O.A.C. and Chamber's Delegate for Unity and Cooperation--Name Norton President.

    An informal meeting of representatives of the Talent, Medford, Eagle Point, Gold Hill and Grants Pass irrigation districts was held at the Hotel Medford on Thursday at which were representatives of the Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass chambers of commerce, the Oregon Irrigation Congress, the California Oregon Power company, the O.A.C. extension service and the Southern Oregon Bankers Association.
    The representatives of the various organizations formed a joint organization for the purpose of more unified and cooperative consideration and action in dealing with the land settlement, production and other features of interest to the respective irrigation districts. Various committees were appointed to handle different phases of the question involved, to the end that there should be a greater coordination of effort amongst the districts and greater cooperation in dealing with the various problems.
    The bankers association of Southern Oregon has actively interested itself in promoting the welfare and development of the respective districts, and it is believed that this joint organization will be a material factor in promoting the interests of the districts and particularly the matter of land settlement, production and marketing problems.
    After affecting a permanent organization and organizing the various departments for active operations, the meeting adjourned, subject to the call of the chairman.
    There were present, representative of the various organizations, the following persons:
    Olen Arnspiger, Talent Irrigation District; E. J. Leach, Medford Irrigation District; J. M. Spencer, Eagle Point Irrigation District; Wilford Allen, Grants Pass district; John Fuller, Ashland Chamber of Commerce; O. S. Blanchard, Grants Pass Chamber of Commerce; C. T. Baker, Medford Chamber of Commerce; H. B. Howell, O.A.C. extension service; Wilford Allen, president Oregon Irrigation Congress; Jack Kerr, California Oregon Power Company; V. O. N. Smith, Southern Oregon Bankers Association; A. D. Norton, Southern Oregon Bankers Association; Vernon Vawter, Southern Oregon Bankers Association.
    A. C. Norton was elected president of the organization and C. T. Baker was elected secretary.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1927, page 1

Associated Districts of the Rogue Formed Yesterday with H. D. Norton Chairman--Closer Cooperation for Mutual Aid Is Object.

    At a meeting held in the Hotel Medford beginning Saturday noon, the Associated Irrigation Districts of the Rogue River Valley was formed, and a permanent organization formed with H. D. Norton of Grants Pass as chairman, and C. T. Baker, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce of this city, as secretary. Each district is to name a member to serve on the executive board.
    The object of the organization is to outline plans for more systematic land settlement, distribution of water, and more coordination and cooperation in general among the irrigation districts.
    The districts represented at the meeting were: The Eagle Point district, the Talent district, the Fort Vannoy district, Grants Pass, the Gold Hill district, the Medford district, and the Southern Pacific railway, and the Medford and Asbestos chambers of commerce.
    It is expected that another meeting will be held within the next two weeks to consider further plans.
    Those present at the meeting, and the districts they represented, were: J. H. French, Trail, Eagle Point district; George L. Davis, Grants Pass; C. E. Weston, Grants Pass; A. S. Rosenbaum, Southern Pacific railroad; J. E. Brown, Eagle Point, director, Eagle Point district; J. M. Spencer, secretary-manager of Eagle Point district; F. C. Dillard, Talent Irrigation District; Ralph P. Cowgill, Medford Irrigation District; E. F. Leach, Medford district; Charles Cook, Grants Pass; E. T. Newbry, Talent district; J. J. Galligan, Gold Hill district; Charles E. Gray, Gold Hill district; W. W. Hittle, Gold Hill district; E. M. Wilson, secretary, Medford district; P. J. Neff, attorney for Medford district; R. L. Ray, director, Medford district; Wilford Allen, Grants Pass, member Oregon Reclamation Congress; J. H. Fuller, Ashland Chamber of Commerce; O. C. Boggs, attorney for Eagle Point district; J. E. Kerr, Copco, Grants Pass; H. D. Willis and J. C. Calkins, Grants Pass; C. T. Baker, Medford Chamber of Commerce, and O. Arnspiger, Talent district.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 22, 1927, page 1

    That the water users of Hopkins Lateral, which includes a large area formed by more than 200 ranchers, have just cause to fight the recently proposed increase in rates from $2.50 per acre to $6.50 was indicated in opinions given by local attorneys at a meeting of the users held last night at the city hall to plan ways and means of preventing such raise from going into effect.
    Financing the action against the Mt. Pitt Irrigation company, which controls the water of the Hopkins Lateral, is at present the main question and a committee is to be appointed by John H. Carkin, temporary chairman, to ascertain the extent of the support to be available from the users. Mr. Carkin was optimistic today that finances would be raised with comparatively little difficulty.
    D. M. Wilson and Ralph Cowgill, according to a report by Court Hall at last night's session, are to prepare a report to be presented at the next hearing of the state public service commission giving information why the rates should not be raised.
    It was also indicated that the water users of the lateral would have the cooperation of the Medford Irrigation District in the present situation.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 7, 1927, page 2

    The suit being heard before Judge Walter H. Evans of Portland, in the circuit court, between farmers of Little Butte and Lake Creek and the Rogue River Canal Company and the Medford Irrigation District for adjudication of the water rights of Little Butte, a case that has been pending since 1909, adjourned this afternoon until January 5, 1927, upon motion of the canal company and the irrigation district, who desired more time for the preparation of evidence.
    A score of water users testified, the burden of their evidence being that they were not allowed sufficient water under the present schedule to properly farm. Between 35 and 40 farms were represented.
    William (Bill) Hanley testified that in 1890 he took out the original water right, and explained the details and history of irrigation in the Little Butte section.
    When asked his age, Hanley replied: "I'm old enough to testify in this case."
Medford Mail Tribune, December 1, 1926, page 3

    The Eagle Point Irrigation District serves 6,100 acres of irrigable land out of 24,300 acres in the boundaries. Water is taken out of Big Butte Creek at Butte Falls, 22 miles above Eagle Point. There are 18 miles of main canal with a capacity of 77 feet. A line of 2,540 feet of wood stave siphon, with a total head of 320 feet, crosses McNeil Creek. The original bonded debt of the district was $400,000, which has been reduced to $395,000--$5,000 having been paid off. These bonds will be retired in twenty years. The bonds and interest require $35,000 a year. The state guaranteed the interest for five years, amounting to $120,000, payable after 1947. The present total debt of the district at the beginning of 1927 was $519,369, including everything. A levy of $10.50 an acre has been made for this year. The water would cost $3.20 per acre for operation and maintenance. The total crops of the irrigation district last year, on 2,290 acres, was as follows:
Pears, boxes $39,276
Apples, boxes 46,950
Field crops, value 27,903
Garden crops 4,628
Livestock     38,875
    Grand total $134,745
    The total value of the Eagle Point irrigation project is conservatively figured at $1,049,334. J. M. Spencer is secretary and manager, with an office at Eagle Point. O. C. Boggs is president, and Frank Brown and J. H. French are directors. Last year physical improvements were made to the value of $22,733. The increase of livestock raised in the district last year is valued at $17,016. New land seeded amounted to 406 acres, and 77 acres were cleared in the district last year. Twenty new families have located in the district the past year. Mr. Spencer expresses the opinion that the one best bet, on account of the continuous flow of water, guaranteeing an abundance of pasturage in the driest season, March 23 till winter rain last year, is dairying.
W. C. Binckley, "Personal Items in Eagle Point," Medford Mail Tribune, June 25, 1927, page 5

    The Medford Irrigation District, which furnishes ample water for many thousands of fertile acres in this valley, is one of the most highly cultivated and settled districts in the West today.
    The past year shows numerous improvements in the system. To prevent seepage losses 10,000 lineal feet of the main canal was lined with concrete at a cost of $38,000; also a section of lava rock on the south side of the Fish Lake dam was lined to prevent excessive leakage. As soon as it is possible old wooden structures are being replaced permanently.
    The district plans on lining from year to year portions of the main canal until about six miles has been lined.
    The outlook for an abundant water supply for 1928 is very promising. There is at this time 10,628 acre-feet of water in Four Mile Lake and 3,773 acre-feet in Fish Lake. This, together with an abundant snowfall in the mountains, assures an adequate supply for the coming season.
    The gross returns from crops in this district in 1927 was more than enough to pay the bonded indebtedness of the district.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page F4

M. F. Hanley and Other Farmers Hold P.S.C. Has No Jurisdiction to Increase Irrigation Rate--Injunction Is Sought,
    SALEM, Ore., Feb. 16--(AP)--Attack on the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission over fixing rates for water for irrigation purposes is the basis of an action filed in circuit court here today by M .F. Hanley and others against the commission's order, fixing a maintenance rate of $6.50 per acre per year for the Public Water Company of the Rogue River Valley.
    It is charged in the complaint that there are about 200 water users in the company and that from 4000 to 5000 acres of land are being irrigated. It is alleged that originally contracts were entered into under a predecessor company to furnish the water at $2.50 an acre, but this was later changed in an order by the Public Service Commission.
    The complaint avers that the rate fixed by the order is unreasonable and unjust and that the Public Water Company is not a public utility and consequently not under the jurisdiction of the commission. An injunction is sought, restraining enforcement of the order.
    The land involved in the above action comes under the Hopkins Lateral, between this city and Central Point.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 16, 1928, page 1

Improvements to Prevent Seepage--Continued Growth Shown Plan to Float Bond Issue for Connecting Lake Canal.
    Considerable improvement work, such as the lining of canals and ditches, will probably be done this year by the Medford Irrigation District, according to plans that were brought up yesterday at a meeting of water users of that district in the armory. A general report revealed the district to be in good condition and that it has been enjoying a continued growth.
    The lining of the canals with concrete will mean added efficiency to the district and will prevent the seepage of water onto orchard and farm lands, which in some cases have been damaged. Loss of water will also be prevented, ensuring a greater supply for the 900 or more users in the district. A bond issue for $73,000 will be floated to provide for the expense of the improvement work, which will include the improving of the connection canal between Fish and Four-Mile lakes, sources for the irrigation district.
    The report of the board of directors of the company showed that the revenue of 1927 from the various crops exceeded the revenues of the two preceding years. The revenue for the last year is as follows.
Pears $1,119,568.00
Apples 147,644.00
Nursery 2,000.00
Prunes 2,600.00
Walnuts 400.00
Cherries 1,055.00
Peaches 748.00
Grapes 885.00
Plums              100.00
    Total from orchards $1,275,000.00
Alfalfa $     35,604.00
Butter, Eggs, Milk, etc. 48,439.00
Misc. Hay 9,769.00
Clover 515.00
Wheat 14,609.00
Cover crops 855.00
Potatoes 2,601.00
Beans 215.00
Peas 700.00
Corn 3,970.00
Onions 135.00
Tomatoes 3,535.00
Pasture 4,210.00
Truck garden  (melons
    and garden) 40,880.00
Strawberries 10,189.00
Can berries      2,753.00
$   178,979.00
    Total 1927 revenue $1,453,979.00
    Total 1925 revenue $1,420,375.00
    Total 1924 revenue $1,388,700.00
    The crops in the district are segregated as follows:
Acres: 1924 1925 1927
Orchards 4750 5000 5300
Alfalfa 2300 2400 1900
Grain   250   460   800
Corn   150   400   500
Truck garden   500   810   900
Pasture   120   200
Miscellaneous                          40
    Total 8070 8860 9640
    These figures show a constant yearly increase in the orchard and truck garden acreages. These two classifications, of course, offer the highest form of intensity and must be interpreted as pointing to a strong condition.
    On the other hand, the decrease in the alfalfa acreage is offset by the increase in the grain acreage, showing the tendency of these acreages to remain constant.
    In regard to the total acreage under water in this district the increase has been very marked, theoretically reflecting in a lower water cost per acre.
    The Medford Irrigation District has a high appraisal and is regarded as one of the best west of the Rocky Mountains. The board of directors recently completed a conservative appraisal of the district as follows:
    Orchard land, largely pears, 5300 acres, value per acre $500, total valuation $2,650,000.00.
    Truck garden land 900 acres, value per acre $225, total valuation $202,500.00.
    Alfalfa, grain, corn land 3209 acres, value per acre $175, total valuation $560,000.00.
    Pasture and miscellaneous land 250 acres, value per acre $50, total valuation $12,000.00. Total acres 9640, total valuation $3,424,500.00.
    Improvements--dwelling houses 511 acres, value per acre $2000, total valuation $1,022,000.00.
    Foreman's houses 31 acres, value per acre $2000, total valuation $62,000.00.
    Bunk houses 9 acres, value per acre $2500, total valuation $22,550.00.
    Barns 330 acres, value per acre $1500, total valuation $495,000.00.
    Total $1,601,500.00.
    Total appraised value of district, $5,026,000.00.
    The bond issue to be floated by the district will be approximately $73,000 and will probably be absorbed by the water users. The water supply for the coming season is expected to be normal, and sufficient to provide for the ordinary needs of the valley ranchers.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 19, 1928, page 8

    The land owners within the Medford Irrigation District, comprising something over nine hundred members, are offering for sale the latter part of this week $75,000 worth of first mortgage bonds. The district directors state the total bonds outstanding, including this issue, will be secured by a first mortgage on the entire ten thousand acres within this Medford Irrigation District, which takes in some of the best lands of the Rogue River Valley running largely south, east and west of Medford and embracing such orchards as Hollywood, Bear Creek, Kenley, Hanson, Hillcrest, and many others of the finest holdings in the valley. It also includes many fine general farms together with all the splendid improvements thereon. The directors state the bonds behind this district, one of the most highly intensified to be found on the entire western coast, are secured many times over, as shown by the conservative appraisal of this district as compared to the total number of bonds outstanding.
    The purpose of this additional $75,000 bond issue is to acquire money with which to line parts of the canal. In past years some bad leaks have developed in these canals. This is particularly true between Four-Mile and Fish lakes where the seepage is great, resulting from the loose pumice formation of the ground. It will, therefore, be necessary to cement-line many portions of the main ditch. Not alone is this true from the standpoint of conservation of water for this coming year, thus avoiding the dry irrigation situation that existed in 1926, but the lining of these ditches is necessary from the standpoint of checking any further seepage with its consequent damage to property along the canal.
    M. N. Hogan of this city, on behalf of the directors, will be in charge of the active sale of these bonds, and will be very glad to give any prospective buyers full information in regard to the advantages of this investment.
    The directors claim a first mortgage on some of the finest farms in the valley offers one of the most secure forms of investment to be brought before the investing public of the Rogue River Valley, that this first mortgage, as represented by these bonds, is only a mortgage of 20 percent of the value of the land and improvements, and that these bonds, bearing about 6½ percent interest, will be rapidly subscribed to by those in the valley who have a surplus on hand.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 21, 1928, page 8

    As a result of a growing demand for systematic study of orchard [omission] particularly regarding irrigation as it relates to both the production and market phases of the industry, directors of the Fruit Growers' League decided at a recent meeting to start an irrigation school here in connection with the O.A.C. extension service, at once.
    Professor C. L. Long, specialist on soils and drainage, and Professor F. E. Price, well-known horticulturalist, will head the course of study and demonstration work which will be carried on in five different orchards in the valley, each of which will be typical of the various kinds of soil to be taken into consideration in planning and care of crops.
    The experimentation and demonstration work included in the school will extend over a period of from five to six years, during which time many new methods in orchard administration are expected to be developed. The orchards in which demonstrations will be conducted are those belonging to Leonard Carpenter, Frank Upton, C. S. Newhall, Paul Scherer and C. C. Cate.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 22, 1928, page 1

    That the Medford Irrigation District's affairs are moving along at a highly satisfactory rate is the statement made today by David H. Rosenberg, president of the board of directors.
    In analyzing the situation, Mr. Rosenberg points out that this work is divided into three phases, namely, the selling of the $75,000 issue of bonds, the engineering work involving the lining of the ditch, and the sale of the delinquent lands of the district.
    In regard to the sale of the district's bonds, which were placed on the market some two weeks ago, the community is responding in splendid shape. Practically every man thus far approached within the district itself has been willing to do his part toward subscribing the total amount required. As a result of this, Mr. M. N. Hogan, who is in charge of this bond sale for the district, feels very optimistic about being able to dispose of the original amount that will be absolutely necessary to sell.
    In regard to the engineering phase, the board of directors have very fortunately been able to secure the services of F. C. Dillard in the capacity of consulting engineer. Mr. Dillard needs no introduction to the people of Southern Oregon, and his knowledge along the line of work that the district is undertaking will be of great assistance to the board.
    Very active work is being done in getting material to the parts of the ditch that must be lined. Work of lining has already started, and it is felt that the next 30 days will see the completion of a high-grade job of ditch lining at places in the main canal which have shown the greatest loss of water.
    The third issue, namely, that of the delinquent lands, which is one of the most important elements that the board has to deal with, is making excellent progress. As a result of the fine cooperation of the realty board, the district has been able to dispose of about 10 percent of the total holdings each week since these lands were first thrown open to the public for purchase. This means that the lands which have heretofore been unproductive both from the standpoint of crops and water tax revenue to the district will again take their place with the other productive units in the Medford Irrigation District.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 23, 1928, page B1

    The Eagle Point Irrigation District board held a meeting Thursday with engineer Rhea Luper, and after a general discussion of the district's affairs a resolution was passed asking the State Reclamation Commission to endeavor to bring together the bondholders on a refinancing proposition under the 1927 law, which provides a fixed liability for each land owner for his portion of the debt and extends the date of the maturity of the bonds.
    This action was taken owing to default in payment of bonds, which became due January 1, 1928.
    If this arrangement can be brought about, and Mr. Luper thinks it can, which is along the same plan as the Grants Pass district, the land owners will be able to take care of the interest and principal as it becomes due and at the same time develop their properties.
    Mr. Luper will take the question up with the State Reclamation Commission at once.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 13, 1928, page 4

    SALEM, Ore., April 14.--(AP)--Application for authority to reorganize has been filed with the state reclamation commission by the Eagle Point Irrigation District of Jackson County.
    It is the plan to reorganize the district on the same plan as recently adopted by the Grants Pass district. This provides that the old bonds be called in, and new ones issued with extensions in time of maturity and interest payments.
    By this method it is expected to straighten out the affairs of the district.
    A meeting of the bondholders and others interested will be called shortly, it is understood.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 14, 1928, page 2

    Owners of 4000 or more acres of land in the Hopkins Canal section north of Medford have drawn up plans this week to form an irrigation district, for the purpose of organizing and solving their problems. Although this section, which lies directly north of the Medford Irrigation District, and has previously been operated by the Pat Welch interests, is one of the oldest irrigation projects in the valley, land owners have never organized it into a district.
    The organization will no doubt be finished within a few days, and it is believed that many of the old problems, including waste, uneven distribution of activity and supply and uncertain responsibility, will be solved, as well as the recent increase in rates by the ditch company.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 16, 1928, page 3

    A solution to the problem that has been confronting the water users of the Hopkins lateral irrigation ditch was reached at a meeting of water users last night with the proposition that the 150 to 200 users under the ditch buy out the interests of the Public Water Company and form a district of their own. A petition favoring the proposition already has been started among the users and today had 37 signers.
    Only 50 signatures are necessary in order to present the matter to the county court, which, if it finds the proposition acceptable, will set a date for an election whereby water users under the lateral can decide by voting whether or not a new district should be formed. However, a much larger number than the 50 signatures will be obtained, according to present plans. The petitions must be signed this week in order that time, as fixed by law, will allow the petitions to be presented to the court as early as possible, which probably will be in early September.
    The proposition of forming a new district was recommended by a committee headed by Victor Bursell as chairman and composed of I. R. Kline, Don Clark, Frank Upton, O. L. Davidson, Mike Hanley, George Hilton Jr., Ned Vilas, W. F. Biddle, Paul Scherer, J. G. Love and Dr. L. A. Salade.
    The water users at present have a suit filed against the Public Water Company to prevent the company from enforcing an increase in rates from $4 per acre per year to $6.50 per year. This rate, contend the users, is prohibitive and would make it impossible for some to use the water.
    if the new district is formed, it will be impossible for some to use the water.
    if the new district is formed, it will be formed under the limited liability plan, which was passed by the last legislature for irrigation districts. The new plan provides that water users who have paid all claims and assessments cannot be held liable for the debts of other users who have failed to pay. The general liability plan holds all users liable for the debts of the district and is in use by most irrigation districts.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 12, 1928, page 5

    SALEM, Ore., Aug. 25.--(AP)--A special board to make an economic survey of the Eagle Point Irrigation District in Jackson County has filed its finding with the state reclamation commission. The report will be used as a basis for a reorganizing and refinancing plan to be prepared by the district bondholders committee, which has been appointed by the commission.
    The economic survey was made by the Oregon experiment station in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. The officials making the survey were T. A. Ewing, irrigation economist with the federal Department of Agriculture; W.W. McLoughlin, associate chief in the division of agricultural engineering and W. L. Powers, chief of soils at Oregon Agricultural College.
    The bondholders' committee expects to submit its plan directly to the bondholders before asking them for a deposit of bonds. This is a departure from the usual plan, which is to ask for the bond deposit first.
    The district has 6000 irrigatable acres and a total debt of $535,000.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 25, 1928, page 6

    The thirty-fifth legislative assembly, regular session, passed the House joint memorial No. 12, introduced by Representatives Briggs of Ashland, Carkin of Medford and Chinnock of Grants Pass on February 19 of this year. The memorial follows:
    "We, your memorialists, the legislature of the state of Oregon, respectfully represent that:
    "Whereas, throughout this and other western states sparsely settled meritorious irrigation districts have bonded themselves for the construction of irrigation works and incurred obligations involving high interest rates and early maturities; and
    "Whereas, the agricultural depression of the last four years has reduced net income and retarded land settlement to a point where worthy districts are financially embarrassed, and experience with federal reclamation projects has shown that a longer period of time is required to bring these lands into full development than lies within the ability of these projects to provide; and
    "Whereas, it would be good governmental policy to loan federal funds without interest to relieve farmers on existing irrigation district farms who are pioneering development;
    "Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon, the Senate jointly concurring therein:
    "That we do most earnestly petition and memorialize the Congress of the United States to provide financial assistance in refinancing constructed feasible projects on substantially the same basis as the United States reclamation projects with which these projects are in direct competition in amounts not to exceed their economic value as determined by surveys made by federal agencies.
    "That the Secretary of the State of Oregon be and he is authorized and instructed to forthwith forward a copy of this resolution to the honorable Secretary of the Interior and to each member of the Oregon delegation in the national congress."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 18, 1929, page 8

Drainage Experts Confer with County Court on Impending Survey--Intend to Make General Outline This Season.
    R. A. Work, federal engineer, assigned to make a drainage survey of the Rogue River Valley, in Jackson County, and Prof. H. M. Lewis of the Oregon State College, irrigation expert, conferred with the county court this morning upon the work.
    The county court gave assurances that they would pay all expenses up to $1000, and that the county water master and the county engineer stood ready to render whatever assistance needed.
    Prof. Lewis stated it was the intention this season to make a general survey, preparatory to a more intensive survey in the future, if needed.
    He said the principal work now would be to determine if the wet areas had increased since the introduction of irrigation in these parts, if the natural drainage flow of the valley had been altered, and to sink wells where no domestic wells were available, for observations. He said it was the intention to use domestic wells wherever possible, if no windmills were attached.
    Prof. Lewis said that it was his first impression that there was no extravagant use of irrigation water in this section, and that the objective was to remedy defects wherever they existed before they became acute. He said all irrigation districts had their drainage problems.
    Prof. Lewis said that a search was being made for a topographic map of the valley, made years ago. Water Master Cummings said he thought he could locate it, as it was his handicraft.
    The drainage study will cover a wide range, chiefly in the orchard districts, but will also contain data showing what effect the present drainage has on towns and cities.
    County Judge Sparrow informed Prof. Lewis that several local folks argued that "water has quit running downhill, and I wish you would convince them it has not changed its habits."
    A. S. V. Carpenter, chairman of the committee on agriculture and commerce, appeared with the engineers and said that the Medford Irrigation District would contribute $250 towards the expense, and that the Talent Irrigation District would be broached for a donation.
    H. M. McLaughlin, divisional reclamation engineer scheduled to be here to assist in the laying out of the survey, telegraphed that he would be unable to come, Mr. Carpenter said.
    The drainage survey is now underway and will be in full swing in a week or ten days.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 24, 1929, page 5

    SALEM, Ore., Aug. 20.--(AP)--State engineer Luper has returned from California, where he conferred with bondholders and bond dealers interested in several Oregon irrigation districts now being reorganized. Luper says that he is receiving the full cooperation of all California investment bankers and that the general attitude of all bondholders is to extend full cooperation. He conferred with representatives of bondholders of the Ochoco, Grants Pass, Warm Springs, Crook County Improvement District, Deschutes County Municipal Improvement District, Eagle Point and Summer Lake.
    Luper said that the reorganization of the Grants Pass and Warm Springs district, now almost complete, is proceeding satisfactorily. All of the bonds of these districts have been located and practically all of the California bondholders have signified their acceptance of the plans of reorganization submitted by the state reclamation commission.
    Tentative agreements were also reached relative to the reorganization of the Crook County and Eagle Point irrigation districts, and a representative of the bondholders' committee will be in Salem the latter part of this week for the purpose of making final arrangements for reorganization of the Deschutes County Municipal Improvement District.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 20, 1929, page B2

    EAGLE POINT, Ore., Aug. 20.--(Special.)--Chas. J. Van Zile, auditor for the irrigation districts of Oregon, is now in Eagle Point working on the records of the Eagle Point Irrigation District. Mr. Van Zile is very much pleased with the manner in which the irrigation records have been kept by the secretary. He is, however, making some few changes in the manner of keeping the records in order to make them more uniform with other districts.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 20, 1929, page B6

    At a board of irrigation meeting held Tuesday at Talent, it was decided to shut off all water September 15. The district commenced using water about April 1. There has been plenty of water for everyone in the district, and the season is closing with about 1500 acre-feet in the Hyatt Prairie reservoir that will be held for next season.
    There are about 12,000 acres subject to irrigation in this district and the district has watered over 9000 acres this year.
    The estimated season's crop will show better than a million dollars for 1929, a substantial gain.
    The members of the board are E. T. Newbry, president; R. E. Robison and C. A. Brown. O. Arnspiger is secretary and manager and C. M. Thomas is attorney.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 5, 1929, page 3

Salem Conference Tomorrow for Agreement on Purchase Interest Public Water Co.--$192,600 Previously Offered.
    At a conference in Salem tomorrow an effort will be made to reach an agreement whereby the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District may purchase from the Public Water Company of Jackson County the remaining interest of the latter in the Little Butte Creek irrigation system.
    Participating in the conference will be the state reclamation commission, the directors of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District and the officers of the Public Water Company.
    At a meeting several weeks ago the Rogue River Valley District proposed tentatively to pay the Public Water Company $192,600 in cash or $212,000 in district bonds at 90. The reclamation commission objected to certain items in the proposed cash purchase and to the discount of 10 points on the bonds. To iron out these objections will be the purpose of the conference tomorrow.
    The Rogue River Valley Irrigation District owns 4774 acres north of and adjoining Medford, 4345 of which is in a high state of cultivation. If the deal is completed, the district will be in partnership with the Medford Irrigation District, while the Public Water Company will be eliminated.
Medford Mail Tribune, Nov
ember 19, 1929, page 1

Rogue Valley District Purchase of Irrigation Works Authorized at $200,000--Bond Election Next Step in December.
    SALEM, Ore., Nov. 21.--(AP)--The Rogue River Valley Irrigation District of Jackson County was yesterday authorized by the state reclamation commission to purchase irrigation works from the Public Water Company, paying for them with about $200,000 irrigation district bonds at 95.
    The district had previously proposed that it pay $196,000 cash or $212,000 in bonds at 90. To both proposals the commission had objections. The commission believed a 10-point discount was unreasonable.
    The works purchased were formerly held by the Little Butte Creek Irrigation District.
    According to local officials of the new irrigation district, this settlement is entirely satisfactory and means that the bond election will be called as soon as preliminaries can be arranged--probably early in December.
    That the bonds will be voted is regarded as a matter of course. Following such authorization the district will take over the properties and rights of the Public Water Company, and there will be a new irrigation district in operation, where the old Hopkins lateral used to be.
    A. E. Reames and Ray Moran represented the Welch Public Water Co. interests at the Salem meeting, while John Carkin and engineer Frank Dillard represented the new Rogue River Valley Irrigation District.
Medford Mail Tribune, Nov
ember 21, 1929, page 1

    Little except routine business was transacted by the county court at its regular session today.
    Olen Arnspiger, secretary-manager of the Talent Irrigation District, appeared before the court and requested that the county repair and rebuild three or four bridges over irrigation ditches, as provided in a bill passed by the last session of the legislature. This law requires that the counties maintain bridges over irrigation ditches, if the bridges were constructed before 1922.
    Arnspiger said that the bridges were on the west Talent lateral, and that a couple had suffered from heavy hauling the past summer.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 13, 1929, page 3

Irrigation Makes Eagle Point District Blossom in Agricultural Wealth
    Through the fields of clover--Eagle Point is blossoming into one of the most outstanding agricultural sections of Southern Oregon. Acre after acre of this unique crop can be seen from the highway and the side roads winding in and out around the district.
    The Alsike variety, from which most of the hay is obtained for Eagle Point stock, nods a graceful approval of the quantity of water available in this district [and] rises around three feet above the ground and runs from four or five tons to the acre. Excellent for pasture as well as cut hay, the clover is now generally cultivated by the farmers of this section.
    Supplementing this are fields now being planted in Ladino, which is essentially a pasture clover. This rises around 16 inches from the ground and is a commercial variety, the seed selling for an almost fabulous sum, according to the ranchers of that district. Alfalfa also holds its place among the Eagle Point crops and thrives in the rich, irrigated soil.
    A country of rolling hills, the Eagle Point Irrigation District is full of surprises. Patches of apparently unproductive land, with scarcely a green blade of grass visible, give way, as one rounds a bend in the road, to a panorama of orchard land and clover fields.
    Chicken farms, turkey farms, herds of sheep, and pastures full of grazing cattle are familiar sights and round out the productive possibilities of the locality.
    According to a report of R. T. Seaman, ambitious young manager of the district, who checks up both the crop total and the expenditures of the district, there were close to 10,000 turkeys raised in and around Eagle Point this year. Between 50 and 60 percent of the crop have been shipped out of the early markets, while the rest will be saved until the Christmas and New Year's shipments.
    The dairying herds of the district are also being built up to a remarkable degree, the number of cattle being double what it was two years ago. Sheep too, including the regular large herds and the farm flocks, have doubled in number during that time.
    Chicken farms are also on the increase, the five largest ranches of the section boasting over 1000 hens apiece, in addition to the numerous smaller ones.
   Thoroughly enthused with his work and sold on the district, Mr. Seaman asserts, without qualification, that Eagle Point has greater possibilities than any section in Oregon for diversified farming. That the best record in the state has been made here during the past two years was further cited by him as proof. Colonization, improvement of land and a variety of agricultural interests are responsible, he says, for its development.
    Among the latest flares proposed there is the establishment of a muskrat farm a few miles out from the little city.
    The quantity of land sold along Rogue River to wealthy Californians for cabin sites during the past two years has turned considerable attention of outsiders to the possibilities  of this district, as the Rogue River retreats from a line adjacent to the Eagle Point section.
    Engaged in checking the crop total for this year, Mr. Seaman estimates that the district will clear around $335,000, as against a total last year of $206,000.  One reason for this of course is better prices, better crops, and the addition of 600 acres to the irrigated area since last year. There has been a 1400-acre increase during the past two years, making a total of 3800 acres of irrigated land now in the district. Four hundred more acres are now in the process of improvement by farmers wishing to add it to the irrigation district.
    The soil around Eagle Point is particularly good for pears, according to manager Seaman, being the same variety as that in the Hillcrest and Foothills orchards. Smudging is never necessary here either, he says, due to the protection afforded by the foothills.
    The old Kubli tract, situated along the Brownsboro road in the district, has recently attracted the attention of a group of Medford residents, and 57 acres of it are now in the possession of O. C. Boggs, Glen Fabrick, J. C. Hopper and O. O. Alenderfer. Twenty acres more of it have been purchased by James Roseberry of Eagle Point.
    The administration of the Eagle Point district is in the hands of O. C. Boggs, president, Frank Brown and J. H. French, the two latter of Eagle Point. With this trio, and manager Seaman--all tireless workers in the interest of the district--at the helm, it is small wonder that Eagle Point has made the progress it has in the past two years.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 17, 1929, page 4

Snow and Rain Supply Reservoir Average Despite Previous Long Drought--
Snowfall Short in Crater Lake District.
    Figures to date in the watermaster's department, Fred N. Cummings, supervisor, indicate this will be a good water year for the farmers and orchardists of the Rogue River Valley. The snows and rains of February and the spring thaw will fill the irrigation reservoirs of Southern Oregon to more than the normal 40,000 acre-feet.
    Supervisor Cummings said today that present conditions were ideal, and prospects exceedingly favorable.
    In the four principal irrigation reservoirs of Southern Oregon there are 10,505 acre-feet of water by a rough reading, as follows:
    Fish Lake, 3,005 acre-feet; normal 7,500 feet.
    Emigrant Dam, 5,000 acre-feet; normal 8,000 feet.
    Hyatt Prairie, 2,500 acre-feet; normal 12,000 feet.
    Four-Mile Lake, 3,000 acre-feet; normal 12,000 feet.
    This is a fourth of the regular storage, despite the long dry fall without a substantial rain.
    Emigrant Dam and Hyatt Prairie are at normal height for this time of the year and will fill with the spring rains and the melting snows in the Siskiyous.
    Olen Arnspiger, manager of the Talent Irrigation District, says that with average weather conditions over the tail end of winter, both these reservoirs will be filled to overflowing.
Lake Snow Short.
    The greatest snowfall shortage to date is at Crater Lake, with a [snow]fall of six or seven feet, when usually there is 12 to 14 feet at this time.
    Watermaster Cummings says that at the present time the ground is full of water, the springs are full and flowing free, and the rivers are all bank-full. With the heavy water content in the ground this year the rivers will maintain a higher level than last year, when they reached record low marks.
    Readings on the snowfall to date, but not complete, are:
    Anna Springs station, January 21, 25 inches snow, water content 10 inches.
    Bill Creek Divide station, January 19, 28.5 inches snow, water content 6.75 inches.
    Hyatt Prairie station, January 9, 9.5 inches snow, water content 2 inches, and January 20 reading 15.5 inches, water content 3.75 inches.
    Siskiyou station, January 9, 11.75 inches snow, water content 2.25 inches, and January 21, 13.25 inches snow, water content 3.25 inches.
    It is estimated that three inches of water has fallen over the area in the water storm, most of which soaked into the ground, to raise the water table later.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 28, 1930, page 1

Ditch Line from Squaw Lake To Be Enlarged by Expenditure of $600,000 Is Report.
    The Medford Water Power and Development Company, represented by Harry Hutton and Fred J. Blakeley, appeared before the county court today and asked that the road from Buncom to Sterling be placed in shape for smooth auto travel, as it is now badly rutted and in dire need of being ironed out. Mr. Blakeley explained that a number of backers--coast and eastern--of the project were due in the city shortly, and he did not care to jolt them by a trip over the present route. It was also explained that the road was used for mail and general traffic. The county court assured the delegation that the road would be fixed at once.
    It was explained to the county court that plans were now near consummation for the expenditure of about $600,000 in the construction of the ditch line from the Squaw Lakes to the Sterling mine and carrying water for irrigation into the Griffin Creek district and that section lying along the Jacksonville foothills, and as far north as Gold Hill, land nominally embraced in the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District, but which is open to enlargement and has not sufficient water to satisfy the demand expected.
Water for Mining
    The Medford Water Power and Development Company was first broached last summer and has been in course of formation since. the major portion of the ditch line from Squaw Lake to Sterling was surveyed last fall. One of the main objects of the company is to hydraulic the upper levels of the Sterling mine and adjacent ground, thought to be rich in gold, but left idle because of lack of water and mining facilities.
    The Sterling mine is now in full blast and making a "better than usual showing."
    A prospectus has been issued recently by the Medford Water Power and Development Company. It is capitalized at $1,750,000, and announces as its purpose the supplying of water for irrigation, municipalities and domestic use, to generate power and sell the same.
    A map is printed showing the district from Squaw Lake to Gold Hill and east to Eagle Point, showing that 50,000 acres are available for irrigation.
    Testimonials of Pacific Coast engineers attesting to the feasibility of the project, and letters from the four banks of Medford stating the value and need of irrigation are printed. Views of Squaw Lakes, the valley, orchards, and the general country are shown.
    The prospectus stresses the fact that "water is king in the Rogue River Valley," for land and mine development. It is a plain, conservative, businesslike statement of facts without any "boom literature" embellishments.   
Medford Mail Tribune, March 12, 1930, page 3

    The benefits of irrigation were told members of the Medford Kiwanis Club at noon today by O. O. Arnspiger of Talent Irrigation District, who declared the Medford and Talent districts had gross fruit crop returns of $3,388,271, or an approximate half of the entire return of fruit in the county. Value of all crops grown in these two districts was five million dollars or an average return of $220 per acre.
    The two districts have a total acreage of 18,200, of which 9200 acres are in the Medford district. If it had not been for irrigation during the past two years, orchardists would have realized only a one-third crop. The present irrigation fees may be considered high by the small farmer but are regarded cheap by orchardists, paying on average of only 7½ percent on the gross returns of crops.
    There is a water shortage threatening, but the seriousness is still unknown. However, water restrictions will be strictly enforced, Mr. Arnspiger said. He also indicated crop prospects are good, barring a heavy freeze.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 7, 1930, page 2

    Pursuant to the advice of irrigation superintendents, farmers and orchardists of the Rogue River Valley are irrigating their orchards and lands, with natural flow and creek waters now available, in preparation for a dry season similar to 1926.
    The main tenor of the advice is get "a heavy mulch on the ground and keep it there."
    Water was turned in Saturday in the Hopkins Lateral ditch, supplying the newly formed Rogue River Irrigation District in the Central Point area, and many of the water users irrigated their fields and orchards Sunday.
    The water will be turned into the Medford Irrigation District ditch, and used on West Side fields and orchards. Repairs are now under way on the ditch.
    According to irrigation authorities, the soil is well soaked now, with what they call the "ground flow," and the added irrigation water keeps it at the level.
    The "runoff," usually coming in June, is now at its peak, and future readings of water levels in the irrigation reservoirs are expected to show slight increase. A light snowfall in the high hills cut down the runoff.
    According to Ole Arnspiger and Frank Dillard, a few showers between now and June would be a blessing and aid materially. They say it is too early to make any accurate survey of the water situation, that there is no cause for alarm, but it is "best to play safe."
Medford Mail Tribune, April 8, 1930, page 6

(By Mary O. Carey)
    EDEN PRECINCT, May 16.--(Sp.)--On Monday of this week I was taken over to the little place belonging to S. P. Hunter just west of the depot at Phoenix. I found a nice modern home with as fine a young orchard surrounding it as I have seen in the valley for the age of the trees.
    The five-year-old apricot and peach trees were loaded, and they had been heavily thinned. Mr. Hunter has all kinds of berry and grape vines, all in bearing.
    All of that section has been transformed since the Talent Irrigation Company put water on the land. There are fine fields of alfalfa and ladino clover and acres of peaches and other fruit trees, all looking fine.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 16, 1930, page B5

    Storage water from the Fish Lake reserve was released Wednesday morning, according to Edward Leach, manager of the Medford Irrigation District. It will probably take three days for the water to reach the floor of the valley, he stated this morning.
    Water users are urged to make as economical use of water as possible, and should desist from undue use and waste. The supply which is being released will last about seven weeks.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 12, 1930, page 3

To the Editor:
    Did it ever occur to you that the reason Medford today is classed as "A Twelve-Million-Dollar City" is the existence of the five irrigation systems which are tributary to Medford? This brings up the thought what will continue the advancement of Medford when no more water is available to make the desert blossom as the rose.
    The state watermaster will tell you, if you interview him, that there is practically no more water available from any of the streams flowing into Rogue River, and none from the river itself, aside from flood water. It is true there are quite a number of reservoir sites which can be utilized, but they will only partly supply the future demand.
    This fact alone stresses the importance of the Squaw Lake development project. When the mines are completely exhausted the water pipe in from this source will open up a tract of mountain-slope land of several thousand acres which would otherwise remain as it is now, waste land in brush for all time. With water added to the fertility of this land, it will prove among the most profitable in Southern Oregon. As we understand it, the pressure from the higher pipe line will enable the grower to install the Skinner irrigating system, which in addition to a water supply will prolong the season indefinitely in the fall, when fresh tomatoes double in value, and at least one-half of [the] entire setting is green on the vines and can be made marketable by ripening after the first frost.
    The next big undertaking in this valley will be either a proper financing of our present cannery, or the installation of a new plant of sufficient capacity to handle the bulk of our Bartlett pear crop. The grower thinks that the proper course would be to enable the present cannery to expand to fill the field because of the very satisfactory service they have rendered in the past, and because of the fact that they know the requirements of the trade and have their market already established. A large proportion of their trade is foreign, and the men overseas prefer the pears from this valley to anything else offering. Like the timber business, however, it requires large capital to handle properly, and a banker recently stated here that similar propositions to the north have paid 15 percent profit yearly, even if handicapped by freight two ways, and no local production of either pears or tomatoes, which are in perfection in this valley.
    This development is very important, and we learn an oldtimer will devote an hour to broadcasting over KMED from eight to nine o'clock tomorrow, Monday evening, his views of the matter. We think it advisable to listen in, for the time is even now at hand when this will be the only available source of supply for water for irrigating gardens or orchards in the foothills.
    W. H. HOLMES.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 15, 1930, page 3

Storage Supply in Fish and Four-Mile Lakes Exhausted--
Stream Flow Will Suffice.

    Owing to the exhaustion of irrigation storage waters at Fish and Four Mile lakes, chief source of supply for the Medford Irrigation District, the water will be rotated to users, E. J. Leach, manager of the district, said today. It will be shut off for four days each week, from the west side, while flowing on the east side, and vice versa. This will aid in conservation of water, and distribute its benefits over a wider area.
    In the Talent Irrigation District it is figured by manager Olen Arnspiger that sufficient water is on hand to last until August 1.
    The situation is not as bad as it sounds, or street and country rumors would indicate, manager Leach said this morning. The ground is in good shape, and the orchards and grain will come out in good shape. The late garden stuff prospect is not so rosy. August showers and early fall rains would relieve the situation.
Use Natural Flow.
    The irrigation districts are now using the natural flow of the streams and the "bank run" of the reservoirs. The "bank run" is the seepage water that flows into the reservoirs, as the water goes. It is not much, but it helps.
    Manager Leach further said, "I see no cause for alarm," and decried the alarmist talk which sprang up the first of the week throughout the county.
    T. G. Bradley, superintendent of the California Oregon Power Company, said the present year the records of that company showed was the driest in history, and that at the present time the waterways were carrying "but 50 percent of their natural runway." The driest previous year was 1926, when the runoff was 60 percent.
    Fruitmen, gardeners and farmers are now profiting by the thorough soaking they gave the ground last spring.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 17, 1930, page 1

Federal and State Experts Here for Conference with Orchardists--
Survey Data Studied.
    Drainage experts of the government and state were conferring this afternoon with local orchardists anent plans for the securing of a drainage program for the Rogue River Valley and the collection of data necessary for the scientific carry-on of the work.
    The conferees are: W. W. McLaughlin, San Francisco, associate chief, western division, Department of Agricultural Engineering, J. T. Jardine, director of experiment stations, Oregon State College, Prof. M. R. Lewis, irrigation engineer, Oregon State College, Prof. F. C. Reimer, head of the Southern Oregon Experiment Station at Talent, Arch Work, resident Department of Agriculture engineer, E. W. Carlton, president of the Fruitgrowers League, and A. S. V. Carpenter, chairman of the trade, commerce and agricultural committee.
Study Survey
    Data collected by engineer Arch Work in his drainage survey of the valley will be studied and play an important part, it is expected, in any drainage program adopted later.
    There is no drainage problem of any moment existing now, but with heavy irrigation there could be one of considerable seriousness, and the Fruitgrowers League, sponsors of the drainage survey and program, are taking the drainage problem by the forelock, as insurance against future trouble.
    The visiting officials will be taken over the valley to see the situation first hand, and will spend tomorrow here observing local conditions.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 3, 1930, page 4

    The Medford Irrigation District, in accordance with a water conservation policy, is installing steel gates throughout its system. In the past month 34 steel gates have been put in place, and 14 more are ready for installation. All the wooden gates of the district will be replaced with steel gates as fast as finances will permit, and it is expected to have the entire system "steel-gated" by next summer.
    The steel gates are water-tight and are operated with a wheel and screw lift device. The life of a wooden gate is about six years, and a steel gate is practically eternal. Manager E. J. Leach of the Medford district says the steel gates will pay for themselves through saving water.
    Manager Leach says that in six months the average leaky wooden gate will lose sufficient water to irrigate 4.5 acres for a season to the full allowance, valued at $10.16 per acre-foot. He asserts a leaky gate loses .02 of a cubic foot per second, or 7.1 a.m. for a season. At the going irrigation rates this amounts to $72.19, or more than enough to pay for the steel gate a couple of times.
    Besides the above loss, there is the loss of land from seepage, the loss of revenue from waterlogged land, and cost of extra labor to repair the wooden gates and clean the ditches.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 17, 1930, page 5

Medford Irrigation District Votes Merging of Management with Talent Water System.
    The board of directors of the Medford Irrigation District, at a meeting this morning, voted to merge their management with that of the Talent Irrigation District and effective Thursday, January 15, Olen Arnspiger will be general manager of the two districts. The Talent Irrigation District previously voted approval of the plan. Arnspiger is manager of that district.
    The two districts will maintain their finances and water rights separately under the new order.
    David H. Rosenberg, a director of the Medford district, said this morning that the move was made in "the interests of efficiency and economy," and had been contemplated for some time. The directors felt that owing to the smallness of the two districts both could be handled with one management, "resulting in a substantial saving."
    Another item bringing about the change of policy was the similarity of interests of the two merging districts and the fact that both were in the same territory.

Medford Mail Tribune, January 12, 1931, page 1

Prof. Lewis of O.S.C. and Prof. Fisher of Federal Department To Select Test Tract for Study.
    Prof. C. I. Lewis of the Oregon State College, chief of irrigation and drainage engineering for that institution, arrived yesterday for a week's conference and inspection of the local irrigation and drainage situation. Prof. E. F. Fisher of Washington, D.C., of horticultural department of the plant bureau, Department of Agriculture, will also arrive this week for a conference with Prof. Lewis and local fruitgrowers.
    Among the matters to be considered will be the selection of a site for the establishment of an orchard tract where drainage and irrigation problems can be studied. The site will contain, as far as possible, all local general water problems.
    The project is financed chiefly through federal funds secured through the efforts of  Senator Charles H. McNary and Congressman W. C. Hawley.
Collecting Data.
    Collection of data, under the direction of Arch Work, resident drainage engineer, is continuing, and maps and data on 60 percent of the orchards of the valley have been established. Logs are kept of the 100 test wells drilled throughout the orchard sections.
    The maps show that in some tracts the water level is practically at the grass roots and varies down to normal, and that the drainage, while not serious now, can develop into a serious problem.
    State and federal authorities are now mapping a program whereby the ills of irrigation and drainage can be controlled by systematic use of water.
    Decks have been cleared for the construction of the Table Rock drainage district--the first to be established in the valley. It includes the E. W. Carleton, Capt. Tuttle, Modoc Orchard and other adjacent tracts. The tiling has been distributed and Contractor R. I. Stuart will start work at once. It will be completed in time for use this season.

Medford Mail Tribune, March 31, 1931, page 4

    E. F. Fisher of the Department of Agriculture, horticultural crop division, Washington, D.C., and W. W. McLaughlin of the western division, federal reclamation service, San Francisco, will arrive tomorrow for an inspection of the valley drainage situation and conferences with fruitgrowers and county court on a drainage program.
    J. T. Jardine, director of experiment stations of Oregon State College, Corvallis, will join the group Saturday.
    Prof. M. R. Lewis, irrigation and soil engineer of the Oregon State College, has been on the ground all week.
    The federal and state college officials will decide upon a program policy based on the wishes of local fruitmen and conditions as revealed from data and maps collected by resident engineer Arch Work.
    It is possible that an educational campaign on the use of irrigation will be inaugurated, to cut down the evils of over-irrigation and resultant stagnant sloughs on and beneath the surface.

Medford Mail Tribune, April 2, 1931, page 5

    SALEM, Ore, June 27.--(AP)--Application to appropriate 284 second-feet of water from the main creek and the west fork of Evans Creek, for the irrigation of 17,000 acres of land in Jackson County, was filed with the state engineer today by Eric Wold and Herman D. Powell of Medford. The tiling was the only one recorded of any proportion during the week, C. E. Stricklin, state engineer, announced.
    The land for which irrigation water is asked of the states is located in the Evans Creek country, it was learned here today. The farmers of the locality are very anxious for the project to be accomplished, as the need for water is great. Mr. Powell and Mr. Wold of this city are spending the weekend in the Evans Creek community, completing plans relative to the request filed with the state engineer.

Medford Mail Tribune, June 27, 1931, page 2

    Civil suit of C. R. Chapman against the Talent Irrigation District for $7000 for a ditch right-of-way, 1500 feet long and 40 feet wide, through his property, continued today in the circuit court before Judge H. D. Norton, with indications that the case would not be submitted to the jury before tomorrow morning. A dozen witnesses had been called by the plaintiff up to noon today and the defense will present as many.
    Charles M. Thomas, public utility commissioner of Salem, a defense witness, testified yesterday afternoon, so he could return to official business.
    The case has been hanging fire since the construction of the ditch 12 years ago. The Chapman property, 23 acres of which is in the Talent district, was purchased from J. Harvey, now a resident of Los Angeles. When the ditch was dug a controversy arose over the right-of-way, and after some dickering it was agreed that the ditch be dug and a settlement effected later. This was never done, and when Harvey sold the property to Chapman he assigned the alleged claim against the irrigation district. Last spring legal action was started by Chapman for settlement.
    Testimony presented so far concerned the crop production of the land, use of irrigation water, fertility of the soil, before and after irrigation, and course of main ditch and laterals.

Medford Mail Tribune, September 10, 1931, page 10

Last revised March 17, 2024