the Desk of the Mayor
To the Public.
There are very few persons who know anything of the pleasures of being a public servant, especially in a small town, and a large majority care less. The position of a town councilman is a peculiar one in many respects. He is the target for general criticism and general abuse, and many petty annoyances and complaints come to him with which he has nothing to do and over which he has no control. Very few business men are willing to accept a position so full of empty honors and adverse criticisms unless he has the good of the town at heart and is willing to undergo some of these disagreeable things for the sake of improving the general condition of affairs, morally, financially and from a sanitary point of view.
As a matter of course, someone must bear these burdens, and if the voters have been unfortunate in selecting those to act for them in the conducting of the town affairs they should be awake to their interests and make better selections in the future. In the interest of good government, we hold that every citizen should give those whom they elect their moral support, unless the measures promulgated are pernicious and out of harmony with the public weal.
Among the duties of the town board of trustees, they have to provide for the prevention of fires, the introduction and spread of disease and to adopt such measures as will conduce to the security, peace, cleanliness, ornamentation and the general health of the community. And to attain this end they should have the hearty cooperation of every loyal citizen. Every person who bears the proud distinction of being an American citizen should have self-respect enough to do all in his power to further these objects in the town in which he lives. If all the people in our little town would vie with one another along these lines what a change in the general appearance and the habitableness of the place. When an improvement which is an acknowledged benefit is proposed by the trustees and costs but a nominal sum, what a pity that a penalty has to be tacked onto it before it can be enforced. Much of this neglect is the result of thoughtlessness. It is hoped that at no distant day we shall have better sanitary conditions here, but in the meantime, let us remember that old adage--"Cleanliness is next to godliness."
The morals of a town depend not so much upon the laws of the place, as upon the standard morals among the people and their willingness to aid in enforcing legislation against vice in all forms. Strangers coming into a town and seeing the citizens alive to the welfare of the place and doing what they can to further its interests along all lines can be favorably impressed, and in no other way can the success of a place be assured.
If by these few words I shall be able to stir up the minds of some of our citizens to a realization that they are a part of this community, and their acts, whether public or private, have their influence for the elevation or degrading of our conditions, I shall think my task done.
H. L. GILKEY, Mayor.
Medford Mail, July 22, 1898, page 3
A Southern Oregon Mayor.
The following is a letter, which we print verbatim, from our Lord Mayor to the mayor of Grants Pass. It is in his usual original style:
Office of J. J. Howser, Mayor.
Medford, Or., March 16, 1900.
To the Honorable Mayor of Grants Pass--Gentlemen:
Enclosed plea find a proclamation that I have issued to You & your people. I am compelled to act as per requested by the Citizens of Medford. Of whom I have the honor to represent.
J. J. HOWSER,
Of course our Grants Pass friends will think the Lord Mayor should "take a tumble" to himself, but we people here in Medford live in the glory of a grand comedy every day of the week and expect nothing else of him.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, April 1, 1900, page 18
REDDY SUMS UP WORK OF THE PAST YEAR
The report of the outgoing mayor summing up the work of his administration is as follows:
Medford, Or., Jan. 18, 1909.--To the City Council of the City of Medford: As required by city charter, I beg to submit herewith my report of the condition of the affairs of the city:
Cash on Hand.
In order to show clearly the full import of the recommendations which I am required to make, according to the charter, I will first briefly recount the progress made by the city of Medford during the last two years.
City's Progress.Two years ago the city had an indebtedness (authorized) of some $75,000, which at that time was considered by some to be excessive. One of the first steps taken by the council was to call an election and obtain authority to increase the bonded indebtedness of the city by $25,000 for general purposes, and $40,000 for a water distributing system. As I stated in my last report, the paramount issue in Medford for years past has been the water question, and it was finally decided to take preliminary steps toward securing a water supply by installing an adequate distributing system. As public sentiment became educated to the progressive idea, it was crystallized into a general belief that the city could do better than install a wooden pipe system, and another election was therefore called which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favor of an addition indebtedness of $25,000 in order that the distributing system might be of cast iron of the most approved pattern.
Gravity Water.During all this time the council had been expending much time and effort upon the problem of a gravity supply of pure water, which was conceded by all to be necessary, but considered by many to be so expensive as to prevent its present attainment. Again, however, public sentiment rose to the occasion, and another special election resulted in an almost unanimous vote authorizing the expenditure of $300,000 more for gravity water. At this time the troubles of the administration really began, as the solution of the question as to where and how the water should be obtained became the absorbing topic throughout the community, and the plans, recommendations and theories were innumerable. After the expenditure of enough mental and physical energy to have built a pipeline, it was finally decided to let the people assume their own responsibilities, and as a result the plan was adopted which is under process of construction, and which will furnish the city with an adequate water supply before the next dry season.
Electric Lights.The lighting of the city, which was formerly a source of monthly deficit, is now bringing the city a revenue, under the franchise system, whereby the Condor Water & Power Company is required to pay the city a proportion of its receipts. I must again, however, call attention to the differences between the city and the Condor company which should be settled, either amicably or otherwise, so that the city may derive its full benefits under the terms of this franchise.
Street Paving.The matter of street paving is one which has been under discussion for a long time, but within the past year enough has been accomplished to give the public an idea of the advantages of good streets. No better advertisement can be given a town than is afforded by such a pavement as is being installed on Seventh Street, the attention of passersby being called to it, and much favorable comment abroad being the immediate result. It is gratifying to hear the numerous inquiries from property owners as to whether the streets adjoining their respective properties can be improved in this manner during the coming season. From inquiries of property owners it seems more than probable that sufficient paving will be done during the coming season to keep the paving plant constantly employed until the next winter rains set in.
Grades and Sewers.During the past two years there have also been completed surveys of the city, and grades have been established so that a comprehensive sewer system is now possible, and this has already been arranged for, and will be installed as fast as the clerical work and construction can be accomplished. This establishment of grades also makes possible the paving of streets, which otherwise would have no drainage for surface water.
Fire Protection.The matter of fire protection has received much attention during the past administration, and the results speak for themselves. In addition to a well-equipped city hall and engine house, the city is supplied with substations in various parts of town, equipped with small but efficient chemical engines, which are supplemented by hose wagons. The central fire station is equipped with a first-class combination chemical engine, a good team of horses, hose and other equipment, and comfortable quarters for the men on duty at the engine house.
Recommendations.Nevertheless, while the people of Medford are justified in taking pride in her achievements, it must not be lost sight of that the work must continue.
With regard to the water system, the method of collections.and the water rates should be closely watched, as in these particulars there is much room for loss, both by having inequitable rates and so discouraging the use of water and by lack of sufficient care in collecting the moneys to which the city is actually entitled.
The distributing system should also be extended as fast as this is possible, so as to enable a more rapidly development of the city, and at the same time produce an increased revenue for the water system.
The matter of adjustment of the difficulties between the Condor Water Company and the city has already been touched upon, but in addition to the settlement of these differences care should be taken that the company continues to increase its service, both public and private, as fast as the growth of the city warrants it.
The sewer question is one of the gravest importance and is one which will require much careful consideration; owing to the lack of gradient in the city all contemplated sewers should be very carefully planned, so that not only the present users will be protected, but future users may attach to the present system.
Commends Work of Ladies.The work of the Greater Medford Club in beautifying the city and of the library association in securing the cooperation of the state library association for the maintenance of a free library in Medford is deserving of the highest praise, and they should in every way be encouraged to continue their efforts. As soon as the completion of the new water system enables the city to abolish the old water tower near the West Side School the Greater Medford Club should be urged to take possession of the block on which it stands and include it in the park. These two blocks would make a most attractive park for the city, and would also furnish an ideal site for a Carnegie library, should the ladies be successful in their efforts to obtain one.
In conclusion I wish once more to refer to the remarkable progress which Medford has made during the past two years. Her growth has been phenomenal, and the enterprise of her people has aroused favorable comment not only throughout the state, but in the East as well.
The wonderful development of resources which has taken place during the last few years is, however, but a small matter compared with the resources as yet undeveloped, and nothing can prevent still greater progress in the future except the failure of the people of the community to realize and embrace their opportunities. A continued and united effort for progression, a careful, strict and economical but not parsimonious administration of city affairs will keep Medford at the front of the march of progress, where she is and belongs.
J. F. REDDY, Mayor.
Southern Oregonian, Medford, January 23, 1909, page 1
A YEAR'S PROGRESSRead, approved and ordered published by the council at the meeting, January 7, 1913.
I have been asked to tell the readers of the Daily Mail Tribune something of the work that has been accomplished during the past year in the matter of city building from the standpoint of public improvements.
It takes more than people and store buildings and residences to make a city. Without good sidewalks, good streets and adequate water and sewer facilities no aggregation of people is entitled to be described as anything more than a village. These things are necessary to the very existence of a city. For this reason the work which has been accomplished by the city of Medford in the way of public improvements is properly and peculiarly "city building."
Street Paving.During the year Central Avenue and d'Anjou [Front] Street from Sixth to Eighth streets, and Oakdale Avenue from the south city limits to North Fourth Street were curbed and paved with hard surface paving. A contract was also let for paving West Seventh Street from Laurel Street west to the city limits, but owing to the delay of the contractors in getting started with the work, and the unusual heavy rains which set in early in November, this latter work was not completed. It will, however, be pushed to completion as early in the spring as the weather will permit.
The city succeeded in getting the paving work done this year at prices which were from 10 to 20 percent lower than that paid for paving the business section of West Main Street. But an earnest effort is to be made during the coming year to secure substantially lower prices still. Street paving is an absolute necessity. Within the next five years at least 20 miles of street paving should be laid. At the very best it will cost a great deal of money, and no effort should be spared to get the price to the very lowest point possible without sacrificing quality.
We hope to make the year 1910 a banner year for Medford in the matter of street paving. Our plan is to lay out a full season's work, which we hope will be not less than five miles of paving, and by letting all the work in one contract, to get a substantially lower price on the work. We want competition. And it is the intention of the council to send a committee to examine the pavements which have been secured by California cities, to learn something of their experience with their pavements, and to interview the companies which have been doing the work down there, with a view to getting them to make bids on our work here. Every member of the city government is anxious for all of the information and assistance that he can get, and we invite suggestions from everyone who knows anything about this matter.
Sidewalks.In the matter of sidewalks Medford certainly has occasion to be proud of the record of the past year. Everyone in Medford who knows how to lay a good cement walk, and we fear that some who do not know the secrets of this trade, has been busy laying walks during the past year. That more walks were not laid was due only to the fact that there were not more contractors here to lay them. Since February 17, when the present administration took charge of this matter, grades have been established for no less than seven miles of cement sidewalk and two of plank sidewalk. This means more than 50 feet of five-foot walk for every man of voting age in the whole city. The work of transforming a village into a city is not the work of a day, but another year or two like the past year will see Medford, with respect to sidewalks at least, in as good shape as any city of similar size in the whole country.
Water Mains.In the matter of water mains also, Medford has made a great record during the past year. The present administration found the work under way of the construction of a gravity water system which will supply the city with not less than four million gallons of pure mountain water every twenty-four hours. But what to do with this water when it reached the city was a problem which had to be met. A large part of the city was without water mains, and hence in no position to take advantage of the city's water supply. We were in a good deal the same position as the merchant whose shelves are full of merchandise but has no clerks or delivery wagons to sell or deliver to his prospective customers. Moreover, the city treasury was empty, and the credit of the city had been heavily taxed to meet the expense of constructing the gravity water system. At this juncture the following plan was devised: The charter was amended so as to permit the assessing of property for the cost of laying water mains in the streets on which it fronted. In order to make the burden as light as possible it was arranged to have the assessments payable in ten annual installments, and finally it was decided to give each person paying an installment of an assessment for a water main a certificate, which the city will receive at any time in payment for water at its regular rates. This places, as nearly as possible, the property in front of which new water mains are laid on an equality with the property in front of which mains were originally laid and paid for out of the city treasury, and means that ultimately all the cost of these mains will be paid by the surplus water of the city. In laying these mains in order to give the city a circulating system, it has been necessary to place mains on some streets on which they would not otherwise have been laid at this time, and doubtless some property owners feel that unnecessary burdens have been placed upon them in this respect. But it has been the earnest aim and endeavor of those in charge of this matter to confer the most benefit with the least possible burdens, and it is earnestly hoped that every property owner will cheerfully cooperate with those in charge of this work, especially when it is remembered that in the end the money paid out will all come back in water at the same prices that every other property owner pays.
The city succeeded in getting these mains laid at a very moderate price, and the cost on the average to the man owning a hundred-foot lot will not exceed $7.50 per year, and if he be a water user the cost in reality will be nothing, for he will be able to apply this $7.50 towards the payment of his water rentals.
During the year more than fifteen miles of these water mains were ordered in. The early rains prevented the completion of all this work, but it will all be finished in the early spring. What this means in a city the size of Medford will be apparent when we remember that this amounts to seventy-five feet of water main for every man of voting age in the city, and all in one year.
Sewers.Another thing that is vital to the health and convenience of a modern city is a good sewerage system. During the year between six and seven miles of lateral sewers were ordered laid, the city's septic tank was completed, and a new trunk sewer was laid out and ordered laid to accommodate that portion of the city lying east of Bear Creek. It will be necessary for this trunk sewer to cross Bear Creek, and it has been thought advisable to make the construction necessary for this crossing of such a character that it can be used as the foundation and beginning of a new bridge across Bear Creek which will be sorely needed in the near future. It has been found possible to do this without greatly increasing the cost of the work, and it will mean a huge saving when the city comes to build the new bridge.
In General.Much more might be told of the work that's been accomplished during the past year, but I feel that I have already tried the patience of the reader. I cannot close, however, without calling attention to the fact that a complete system of house numbering has been laid out and carried into effect during the past year, and that as a result Medford now has a free mail delivery. This went into effect about September 1, and is a milestone on the journey of Medford from the position of a village to that of a city.
I ought not to leave off too without mention the miles of street grading, for which grades and inspection have been furnished. Altogether it has been a busy year, and those entrusted with the city's affairs have given to the work a very large part of their time and energy.
Of course, the greater part of the cost of all this work has been borne by the property owners benefited, but it must be remembered that the doing of work of this kind always involves a great deal of expense in the way of engineering, inspecting, printing of notices and clerical work, which must be paid out of the public funds, and those who have managed the city's affairs feel that they can point with some pride to the fact that the work has been carried on so economically that the tax levy for the ensuing year is actually lower than it was for the year 1908, and this too in the face of the fact that there was a reduction made by the county assessor in the assessed values of the city upon which taxes must be levied.
For several years past a dispute has existed with the electric light company. The company's franchise requires it to pay the city five percent of its gross receipts. These have been held back by the company under a claim that it was entitled a much higher rate for electricity furnished the city for pumping than the city was willing to concede. This matter was taken up by the present administration in a quiet but businesslike manner, and the result has been that the company has acceded to the claim of the city in every particular, has receipted in full for all the city's bill for electricity and has paid into the treasury of the city almost a thousand dollars. It will also mean a revenue to the city hereafter, or from fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars per year and as the city grows an even larger amount.
In speaking of the present administration, I do not mean to claim any credit for the present mayor, which is not equally shared by every member of the council. All have worked together in perfect harmony and without dissension, and as I believe, with a single eye to the best interests of the city.
W. H. CANON, Mayor.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 4, 1910, page 4
CITY FINANCES SHOWN TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE
Annual Report of Mayor Canon Is Filed with City Council
and Points Out the Excellent Standing of Municipal Finances--Tax Levy Low.
ONLY 5-MILL TAX IS NECESSARY FOR EXPENSES
Additional Tax Is for Other Purposes--Recommends Addition to City Hall.
Showing the excellent condition of the municipal finances, and making several recommendations, the annual report of Mayor W. H. Canon was filed with the city council at the first regular session of that body in 1912, which was held Tuesday evening. The report reviews the present financial standing of the city in general. It follows in full:
"To the City Council of the City of Medford,
"Gentlemen: I am glad to report that the city of Medford is in excellent financial condition. Every obligation of the city during the past year has been promptly met. There is sufficient money in all of the funds of the city to meet the probable expenditures until the taxes for the year 1912 are payable. In view of the fact that the levy for the year 1911 was exceptionally low, being only 8 mills, this result is most gratifying, and I believe will convince the taxpayers of the city that their public affairs have been economically administered.
"It is only fair to call attention to the fact that while the tax levy for 1911 was 8 mills, only 6 mills of this amount was available for current operating expenses. One mill of the 8 mills was levied for the purpose of constructing the new bridge across Bear Creek. The money has been retained by the treasury. Another mill has been levied for the ensuing year for the same purpose, and when it has been collected in there will be a fund substantially sufficient to erect the new bridge across the creek at Jackson Street, and the burden will not have been felt by the taxpayers of the city. Another mill of the 8 mills levied last year was for the purpose of paying for the sanitary sewer which was laid before the present administration took office, the payment for which no provision had been made. The moneys collected from this mill of taxation was paid on account of this sewer. The moneys voted by the people of the special election last March for the purpose of taking up the wooden water pipe on East Main Street and replacing it with iron pipe and for paying the cost of necessary storm sewers have been expended in accordance with the provisions of the charter amendment, excepting that portion of the money which was to be used for improvements in the fire department.
$900 Spent for Fire Hose."This latter portion of the money voted is still in the hands of the city treasurer, excepting about $900, which has been expended for fire hose. A new, modern automobile fire truck has been ordered by the city, and the same is expected within a few weeks. There are ample funds in the hands of the city treasurer to pay for this automobile truck, together with all the necessary equipment in cash upon its arrival, and there will be left in the fund a substantial amount.
"For the ensuing year there has been levied a tax of 9½ mills. It must be borne in mind, however, that 1 mill of this amount has been levied for a bridge fund to pay the cost of the new bridge across Bear Creek. Another mill of this amount has been levied for the purpose of completing payment of trunk sewers heretofore constructed. One-half mill was levied for the purpose of establishing a sinking fund looking to the payment of the city's bonded indebtedness.
$12,000 for Semi-Annual Interest."Furthermore, the city must advance during the coming year about $12,000 on account of the semi-annual interest falling due on the improvement bonds issued by the city for paving, sewers and water mains during the current year.
"This advancement is made necessary by the fact that the improvement bonds issued by the city bear interest payable semi-annually, while the interest which is paid by the property owners on the unpaid portion of their assessments, on account of which the bonds are issued, are required to pay interest only annually. The result is that at the end of six months after the issuance of these improvement bonds when the first semi-annual interest installment falls due there are no funds realized from the assessments to pay this interest and it must be advanced by the city from its general funds in order to maintain and preserve the credit of the city. This will require the moneys collected on about 2 mills of the tax levy, leaving only 5 mills of the present levy available for general city purposes.
Small Tax Levy for Medford."When it is remembered that the city of Ashland has levied 21 mills for city purposes for the coming year, the city of Klamath Falls 37 mills, 5 mills for the city of Medford seems a very small provision for carrying on the running expenses of the city for the next 12 months, but with a continuance of the cooperation and harmonious working of the council and the mayor and of the earnest efforts of all to economize wherever possible, the city of Medford will be able to meet from this 5 mills all of the expenses of the city and to preserve unimpaired the high credit which the city enjoys, both at home and abroad.
"With the rapid growth of the city it is becoming daily more urgent that greater care be taken to provide against conflagration.
Better Fire Protection."I therefore strongly recommend that early steps be taken to prepare and enact a sufficient building ordinance, and I also recommend on this occasion that the chief of the fire department be paid a salary and that all of his time be devoted to the city. I would suggest that the work of building inspector and of looking after enforcement of the provisions of the building ordinances might be imposed upon him and in this way the salary of one man be saved.
"In view of the fact that experts employed by the city have just completed an exhaustive, detailed report of the financial condition of the city and of the receipts and disbursements of the city for the past two years and four months, which report is presented to the council at this time, I deem it unnecessary to burden this report with figures or statistics which would unnecessarily be a mere repetition of the figures given in the report of the experts.
Asks Addition to Present City Hall."In conclusion, I would recommend that immediate steps be taken to build an addition to the present city hall on the vacant lot adjoining it on the south.
"The present quarters of the city are inadequate, and the city has been compelled to rent quarters elsewhere for its engineering department. The present quarters of the city jail are so small as to render it impossible to make at times decent provision for city prisoners. The city owns the vacant lot which not only serves no useful purpose, but is more or less of an eyesore, being, as it is, in close proximity to and in full view of the passenger depot of the Southern Pacific Company.
"Moreover, at the present time a large number of our citizens in the building trades are unemployed, and I deem it a time propitious for erecting a substantial addition to the city's building.
"No provision has been made in the present tax levy for the purpose, and in case it would decide to build it would be necessary to borrow the funds. I call the attention of the council to this matter and trust that it will be given careful consideration, and all phases of the matter canvassed and gone over.
"Respectfully,Medford Mail Tribune, January 3, 1912, page 1
"W. H. CANON, Mayor."
CITY IMPROVEMENTS MADE IN CANON'S ADMINISTRATION
No. Miles CostPavements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.10 $841,864.00
Water mains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.40 168,951.68
Sanitary sewers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20.82 158,183.11
Storm sewers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.91 23,282.15
Concrete sidewalks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.16 67,116.77
Gravity water system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 275,000.00
Main Street bridge (city's share) . . . . . . . . 13,500.00
Jackson Street bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,491.49
Septic tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,100.57
Cluster lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,960.00
Public market building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,778.25
Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,457.96
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,567,286.28
"Mayor Canon Reads Annual Message," Medford Mail Tribune, January 8, 1913, page 3Annual Report of Mayor Canon
Medford, Ore., Jan. 7, 1913,
To the Common Council of the City of Medford, Oregon
Gentlemen: section 14 of the charter of the city of Medford requires the mayor to make a written statement of the condition of all of the affairs of the city and to recommend such measures for the government and improvement thereof as he may deem expedient at the last meeting of the council each year, before the annual election. I propose on this occasion, which practically closes my four years' work as mayor of Medford, [to] outline briefly the accomplishments of these four busy and important years in the history of this city.
When I became mayor in January, 1909, Medford was a village. It had no adequate water system, no paved streets, excepting a few blocks on Main Street; only the beginning of a sewerage system, and excepting in the center of the city, very little sidewalk. The population of the city was about 5,000, which entitled it to free mail delivery, but the United States postal authorities had refused to institute free delivery here because of the lack of sidewalks and a proper system of house numbering. One of the first matters to which the new administration turned its attention was to secure the installation of sufficient sidewalks and to institute a system of house numbering to satisfy the federal authorities and secure free mail delivery in Medford. This was accomplished in the summer of 1909.
A much more important and critical situation confronted the new administration with reference to our water works system. The pressing need for an adequate supply of pure water in the city had led the preceding administration in its closing days to award a contract for building a $300,000.00 gravity system consisting of a pipeline from Little Butte Creek to Medford, a distance of twenty-three miles, without first securing any of the right-of-way therefor. When we came into office we found that the work of installing the system was about to commence, and that the final line of location for the pipeline had not yet been completed by the surveyors. The pipeline passed through a well-settled section, much of it in orchard, and it was imperatively necessary that we immediately go about the work of securing rights of way. This work was undertaken by the special water committee of the council, whose members laid aside their private business and concerns and devoted practically all their time to the work, driving day after day and many times far into the night, through rain and mud. The work accomplished by these men has never been adequately appreciated by the people of this city. So successful were their efforts that every right of way excepting one was secured without delay, and in most cases without payment of money. The total cost of the right of way, with the exception of one piece, of which I shall speak presently, was required for less than $25.00 per mile.
The pipeline, however, ran through the ranch of M. F. Hanley for a distance of more than two miles, and the city found itself unable to secure, by negotiation, this portion of the right of way. It developed that the previous mayor and council had entered into a contract with Mr. Hanley for the purchase of a water right and a right of way for a pipeline for $25,000.00 and that they had afterward, for reasons which appeared sufficient to them, repudiated this contract and refused to carry it out and had bought their water supply elsewhere. When Mr. Hanley was approached for a right of way, he insisted that the city secure its right of way by carrying out its contract and paying him the $25,000.00. As the city had already purchased and paid for a sufficient supply of water elsewhere, this of course was impracticable. The city having offered Mr. Hanley $2,000.00 for the right of way and the offer having been refused, the matter was taken into the courts. Protracted litigation followed, accompanied by many delays and disappointments. After almost a year had elapsed, Mr. Hanley consented to accept the $2000.00 and give the right of way, and in the summer of 1910 the system was completed. In the meantime, however, and by July 1909, we had succeeded in getting the Little Butte Creek water into the city, by carrying it in an open ditch to a point below the Hanley ranch and from there taking it into the city pipeline.
The completion of the gravity system did not solve the problem of furnishing Medford with an adequate supply of pure water. On the contrary, it only brought the situation to a more critical stage. The city had flowing into its reservoir each day more than four million gallons of mountain water, but it had no distributing system with which to carry it to the people of the city. At this time there were in the city only about seven miles of distributing mains, covering less than a quarter of the area of the city. Without an extensive distributing system it was not only impossible to furnish water to the people, but also impossible to realize revenue from the sale of the water to help take care of the interest on the $300,000.00 which the gravity system had cost, and this charge threatened to become a heavy burden upon the taxpayers of the city. Moreover the credit of the city had been taxed almost to its limits to secure the money to build the gravity system, and it was clearly impossible to sell the general obligation bonds of the city in amounts sufficient to provide means for building a sufficient distributing system.
In this contingency, it was determined that the best course would be to submit to the people an amendment to the charter authorizing the assessment against abutting property the cost of installing distributing mains, these assessments to be made payable in ten annual installments and the city to have authority to issue water main bonds of the city which should be payable from the proceeds of the system as the same were collected. This amendment was approved by the people of the city, and a way was thus provided for beginning the work of installing water mains.
There was, however, one feature in this proposed plan which operated most unjustly. The city had already issued general fund bonds for $150,000.00 and had used the proceeds in building the portion of the distributing system which had already been installed. These bonds were a burden on all of the property of the city. If the property owner having no water main was now called upon to pay for the main in front of his premises, the result would be that he would, in fact, pay for his own main and also help pay for the main of his more fortunate neighbor, in front of whose premises the main had been previously installed. It was therefore decided to issue to each property owner paying an installment on a water main assessment a certificate which would be good for the amount thereof in payment for water to be used on his premises. In this way the payment of the water main assessment becomes in reality merely a payment in advance for water to be used on the premises and the cost of the distributing system is in fact paid by the surplus water of the city, which would otherwise have gone to waste. This plan has proved extremely popular and successful, and under it the city has built about twenty miles of water mains covering all parts of the city at a cost of almost $300,000.00, and the necessary money has been readily procured. The result is that the receipts of the water department have gone up by leaps and bounds. At the present time the cash receipts of the water system are more than $30,000.00 per annum, and in addition more than $6000.00 of water per annum is paid with certificates issued on account of payments on water main assessments. Water rentals in the city of Medford are as low as the average of two hundred cities in the United States concerning which we have the data. The supply allowed to users is at the present time practically unlimited, all rates being based on unlimited service and no meters being used. It is probable, however, that in the course of a few years, as the city grows, it will be found necessary to install meters and measure the water furnished to water users. The experience of other cities has been that this method has resulted in much more careful and economical use of water by water users, and greatly increases the number of users who can be furnished water from a given supply.
Hand in hand with the installation of an adequate distributing system for our water has gone the work of installing an adequate sewerage system. This work was absolutely essential to the health and welfare of the city, and it has been carried forward with energy by the city during the past four years. The preceding administration, realizing the urgent necessity for this work, had constructed on Riverside Avenue, during the fall and winter of 1908, a trunk sewer at a cost of about $20,000.00, but had not paid for the same nor made any provisions for raising the money therefor. The work of finding a way to pay for this trunk sewer was bequeathed as a legacy to the present administration. The larger part of this was paid by careful economy and by saving, for this purpose, a portion of the money levied for the general expenses of the city.
In addition the city has, during the past four years, constructed more than twenty miles of sanitary sewer covering most of the city. There have also been constructed storm sewers to carry off the flood water from the streets during the rainy season at a cost of more than $23,282.15. The sewers which have been built have been placed at a sufficient depth to drain basements and are of adequate size to meet not only present requirements, but the requirements which are likely to exist for a considerable period of the future.
Another important work which was immediately undertaken was the paving of the streets of the city.
In the summer of 1908 contracts had been let for the paving of a few blocks on Main Street with bitulithic pavement, and a part of the pavement had been laid. During the summer of 1909 the work on Main Street was completed and Oakdale Avenue was paved. A contract was also let for paving West Main Street, but the work was not carried to completion. It became evident that during the season of 1910 there would be a large demand from the property owners for paving. The cost of the bitulithic pavement had averaged about $3.50 per yard, and it was determined if possible to secure a satisfactory pavement at a lower price. Accordingly the mayor and council in the spring of 1910 took steps to ascertain just what amount of paving would be wanted by property owners during that season. The majority of the property owners on a large number of streets asked to have their streets paved, and the city having gotten together a large amount of work it was determined that the mayor and a committee of the council should go to California and elsewhere to interview paving contractors, examine their work and attempt to secure proposals from them for doing this work. A large number of paving contractors were interviewed, and when bids were called for, a considerable number of propositions were submitted which resulted in a large saving to the city. The mayor and council, however, were not satisfied that the very lowest price obtainable had been secured, and accordingly all bids were rejected and a new campaign was entered upon to secure still other contractors to bid and if possible still lower offers. At the second bidding, the Clark-Henery Construction Company submitted a proposition which the mayor and council considered extremely reasonable and which meant a reduction from prices paid of over thirty percent. Their work had been examined and found to be first class in every respect, and the price at which they offered to lay the paving was considerably lower than any paving of similar character had ever been done in the state of Oregon. In fact, the price bid for this company was substantially lower than the city of Portland was paying for work of the same character, although the cost of freight on the material entering into the pavement from Portland to Medford is between 30 and 40 cents per yard. Accordingly a large contract was given to the Clark-Henery Construction Co., and as other property from time to time petitioned for paving in front of their property from time to time additional contracts have been let to the company on substantially the same basis as the original contract. The result is that more than eighteen miles of street in the city of Medford have been paved. Making Medford the best paved city of its size in the country. Every yard of this paving has been carefully inspected, and I feel warranted in saying that nowhere has there ever been laid so large an amount of paving of a more uniformly high quality and, considering all the conditions, at a more reasonable cost. So far as I know, there is not, in the city of Medford, a defective yard of their paving. Further proof that the price at which we have secured this paving is reasonable and low is that practically all the other cities of western Oregon have taken advantage of the presence of the Clark-Henery Construction Company in this section and have awarded them their paving work. In fact, it is not too much to say that the bringing of the Clark-Henery construction Company into the paving work in western Oregon was the means of breaking the paving combination [i.e., monopoly] which previously existed and not only saved more than $200,000.00 to the city of Medford, but also saved the other cities of western Oregon large amounts as well. The city has never attempted in any way to prevent property owners from selecting, if they chose, any other form of pavement, nor from securing contractors to make better propositions if they were able to do so. In one instance, the property owners on one of the streets undertook to carry on the paving themselves and awarded a contract to another firm on what seemed to them to be more advantageous terms. The result, however, was that the contractors ascended before fairly getting into the work, leaving behind them a large number of creditors, and the property owners came to the city, asking it to take over the matter of paving the street and to let the contract to the Clark-Henery Construction Company, which was done.
The work of the mayor and council during the past four years has been marked with uniform harmony and unfailing spirit of cooperation. It has been the constant and earnest effort of every man connected with the government of the city to give the city a careful, economical business administration of city affairs. This fact has been reflected in the moderate expenditures of the city during this administration and the consequent low tax rate. In spite of the fact that Medford has progressed during the last four years more rapidly than any of the smallest cities of Oregon, the rate of taxation here has been the lowest of any city in the state. The tax levy for city purposes for the year 1910 was 8 mills; for 1911, 9½ mills, and for the year 1912, 9.9 mills.
In this amount has been included not only the money necessary for running the city, but also many thousands of dollars for other purposes, among which have been the cost of building a new bridge across Bear Creek at Jackson Street; the cost of installing the storm sewers; of building a new septic tank; the new market building and for laying the principal portion of the cost of the trunk sewer on Riverside Avenue.
The city has at no time during the past four years been in default in the payment of its general fund warrants, there having always been on hand, in the city treasury, ample funds to meet in cash every obligation of the city.
It has been my earnest endeavor to give the people of this city an administration of the police department [omission] and particularly with respect to the liquor traffic, which would meet the approval and wishes of the majority of the people of the city.
I have endeavored to fairly and intelligently enforce the laws of the state of Oregon and the ordinances of the city of Medford in every particular. The saloons have been closed promptly at the hour provided for by ordinance, constant watch has been kept to see that liquors were not sold to minors and that they were not allowed to be in the saloons. Needless to say there have been violations of the law. This is inevitable. The laws against larceny, burglary and even murder have at times been violated in the city, but such violations as have occurred in the liquor laws have occurred despite the vigilance of the present administration and not because of any laxity therein.
The population of Medford has doubled in the last four years, but believing that it is for the best interest of the city that the number of saloons should be kept small so that every man in the business can make a living profit without resorting to questionable practices and law violations that then everybody in the business should be held to a strict compliance with the laws, we have not increased the number of liquor licenses in the city except to give bars to the two first-class hotels which have been erected during that period. In fact, there are in the city, aside from these two hotel bars, one less saloon that there was four years ago. In view of the fact that the population has so greatly increased, while the number of saloons has been held stationary, we considered that we might fairly raise the price of liquor licenses and decrease the hours during which the saloons were permitted to be open. Accordingly the price of license was increased from $800.00 to $1000.00, and the closing hour was made one hour earlier.
I am aware that many good people would have liked to see still more radical action taken in this respect, but it seems to me that it is a sufficient answer to say that under the initiative and referendum these people are at liberty to propose at any election an ordinance putting in effect their ideas, and if the same had met with the approval of a majority of the voters of the city, I would have been diligent to carry into effect the provisions of any such ordinance. In this matter, as in all others, I am a firm believer in the principle that the laws should reflect the will of the people, and so long as the initiative and referendum is open to the people, no one can rightly complain because laws are not passed to suit their particular ideas. So long as their public servants faithfully endeavor to support and enforce the laws as they exist.
During the four years that I have been mayor of Medford, and notwithstanding the great amount of public improvement of all kinds that have been carried on, not one dollar has been recovered against the city for damages arising out of personal injury, either to persons or property, and no amount has been paid out by way of compromise for any such matters except in one instance, and that amount of this payment was only $200. I submit that this speaks well for the care with which the work in this city has been carried on.
When I became mayor, I found a dispute of long standing between the city of Medford and the local light company. It appears that in 1905, the city and the light company had entered into a contract whereby the light company agreed to furnish the city power for lighting and pumping at 1¼¢ per hour. When in 1907 the city turned its lighting plant over to the electric company under a franchise wherein 4¢ per kilowatt hour was fixed as the minimum charge which the company was required to make for electric power in the city, the company immediately raised the claim that this franchise operated to abrogate the old contract fixing the rate of 1¼¢ per kilowatt hour and authorized the company to charge the city for power furnished thereafter at the rate of 4¢ per per kilowatt hour as fixed by the franchise. The company presented to the city each month its bills based on the 4¢ rate, which the city refused to pay, but instead ordered warrants drawn at the 1¼¢ rate. The company in retaliation refused to pay the 5 percent on its gross earnings to the city as required by the franchise, and at the same time I became mayor this practice had gone on until the amount disputed exceeded $7000.00. By taking a firm attitude in this matter and threatening immediate litigation, we were able to settle this controversy on the basis of the city's claim. We also became convinced, upon investigation, that the charge of 25¢ made to each of the users of electricity for each month, as a meter charge, was illegal and contrary to the terms of its charter. We accordingly advised all property owners that they were under no obligations to pay this charge and offered to conduct an injunction suit in case the company should threaten to shut off the supply of electricity from any consumer by reason of such refusal. The company, however, refused to permit the issue to be raised in this manner by avoiding all threats to shut off the electricity from those who refused to pay the meter charge. While the matter stood in this shape, the management of the company changed hands, and the new officials, recognizing the justice of the city's contention in this respect, voluntarily abandoned the practice of making a charge for meter rentals, which has resulted in a saving to the people of the city of several thousand dollars per year.
On June 6th of the year of 1912, the electric company, acting under the provisions of its franchise, tendered the city $20,000 by virtue of which it claimed to be released from all liability to further pay percent[age] of its gross earnings to the city. While there is some question to the validity of the franchise of this company, in view of the fact that it was passed and approved by the voters of the city after a thorough discussion and general understanding of the matter and in view of the further fact that the company, acting under the franchise in good faith, has made large expenditures, I believe that it would be unjust and unwise to question the validity of the franchise and that the tender made by the company be accepted by the city and all claim to the further payment of 5 percent abandoned. I do, however, believe that the city is entitled to better rates on its street lighting than it receives at the present time, and that perhaps the people of the city should receive a lower rate for commercial lighting. This is a matter which should be taken up by the next administration and thoroughly investigated. Under the new Public Utility Commission law of Oregon, matters such as this can be referred to the commission and a decision had thereon. This is one of the first matters which should receive attention by the next administration.
The present administration has been of the opinion that the facilities for crossing Bear Creek should be improved, and two years ago it was decided that a new bridge should be constructed across the creek at Jackson Street. In order to accomplish this result without increasing the indebtedness of the city, a tax of one mill was included in the general fund levy for the years of 1910 and 1911. A new and better bridge at Main Street was also a great necessity. The charter of the city of Medford placed upon the county the obligation of building this latter bridge, and in order to induce the county to build the city a new and substantial bridge at this place, negotiations were entered upon, and the city finally agreed to pay $13,500.00 for the old bridge at this point [on Main Street], the same to be applied toward the cost of a new bridge. This proposition having been accepted, the old bridge was taken down and replaced at Jackson Street and the county awarded a contract for the building of a handsome new bridge at Main Street. The litigation which followed between certain taxpayers of the county and the county officials and contractor is familiar to everyone. It is sufficient to state that the contention of the city was sustained by the highest court and that the new bridge across Bear Creek at Main Street is nearing completion, and the old bridge has already been taken down and replaced at Jackson Street. The cost of the purchase of the old bridge was paid by a bond issue, but the cost of tearing it down and rebuilding it, amounting to nearly $6000.00, was paid by the city out of its tax moneys. The balance of the money realized from the extra tax for the bridge was used by the city in paying for other necessary expenses such as the building of a new septic tank. This the city had a perfect right to do for the reason that the charter does not contemplate the making of levies for particular purposes, and under the charter there are but three funds for the city: Street and road fund; the debt-paying fund; and the general fund, from which all other expenditures are paid. While for convenience the general fund has been divided up and in levying it different amounts are calculated for different purposes, in contemplation of law, the general fund levies are all one levy and the moneys realized therefrom may lawfully be used by the city in such portions as are found expedient for the different needs of the city.
During the past year the city managed to save from its current funds sufficient money to erect a public market building on Riverside Avenue and to defray the necessary expenses of maintaining and operating the same. I feel justified in saying that this public market has resulted in a great benefit to the people of the city in reducing the cost of living, and I earnestly urge that it be supported and encouraged in every possible way by the next administration.
There have been other accomplishments during the past four years, the importance of which would deserve extended comment were it not that this report is already sufficiently long to try the patience of the public. During the past year the public library of the city has been housed in a fine new building, and ample provisions have been made for its maintenance in a manner which will make it a credit to the city. In the recent tax levy was included an appropriation of about $4000.00 to defray the expenses of this institution during the coming year and provide a fund for new books.
The growth of the city of Medford and the erection of a considerable number of new buildings along modern and more metropolitan lines has rendered necessary more modern and adequate fire protection. Accordingly, during the last year a paid fire department was instituted in the city, and I feel warranted in stating that this department, with the assistance of the splendid water supply of the city and the modern equipment which has been purchased for it, will be found capable of affording the city first-class fire protection. This move has also added several thousand dollars each year to the necessary expenses of the city.
The growth of the city also seemed to render desirous, if not necessary, that additional safeguards be thrown about our elections in order to remove the danger, which always exists in larger communities, of fraudulent voting. Accordingly, we submitted to the legal voters of the city, about a year ago, an amendment to the charter requiring the voters to be registered for our annual city election. This provision of the charter was in force at the last annual election and worked satisfactorily.
In conclusion, permit me to say that I feel much pride in the city of Medford and in the work that has been done during the past four years to make it the most modern and up-to-date city of its size in the United States.
While I believe it can be truthfully said that in carrying on the extensive work of improving no money has been wasted, and the work has been done for the lowest possible price. Still it is nevertheless true that a large amount of money has been expended and a heavy indebtedness has been contracted. I firmly believe that the experience of the future will justify the wisdom of these expenditures. But nevertheless it must be recognized that the present burden on many of our citizens is heavy. In my judgment, it should be the aim of the next administration to do everything possible to lighten this burden. Rigid economy in every department should be practiced and considerable forbearance extended to those taxpayers and property owners who manifest a disposition to do their best to meet their obligations to the city. In this connection, I venture to call attention to the fact that the outstanding assessments due the city for paving, water, sewer and water mains, when collected, are paid out in redeeming the outstanding improvement and water main bonds of the city. While these bonds are payable at any time, they are not due for ten years from the date of their issuance, although the interest thereon must be paid annually. It is a serious question whether it would not be wise during the present period of depression and stringency, to permit property owners who are unable to meet the installments falling due on these assessments, to pay the interest thereon thereby providing a fund for the payment of the interest on the bonds and grant to them an extension in making payment on the principal of these assessments. This can be done without inconvenience to the city and it would result in leaving in the community a considerable amount of money which is needed for conducting of business. It might be that a small charge should be made in case of granting of any such extension, to cover the cost of the additional clerical work.
The fact that rigid economy is necessary during the next year or two does not mean that the progress and improvement of the city should stop. There is still much work to be done in Medford in making the city a beautiful and more desirable place in which to live. The city occupies the position of the building on which the work of the carpenters and the plumbers has been completed. The decorating and beautifying still remains to be done. But this is work which can now be done largely with our own labor and without expenditure of any great amount of money. Efforts should be made to improve the parking strips on our streets. A crusade should be waged against weeds, and much similar work can be done by our labor in the way of beautifying and finishing the city.
W. H. CANON.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 9, 1913, page 3
January 5, 1914
City of Medford, Oregon.
Section 14 of the Charter of the City provides that "At the last regular meeting of the Council, before the annual election in each year, the Mayor shall make a written statement of the condition of all of the affairs of the city, and recommend such measures for the government and improvement thereof, as he may deem expedient." This is certainly a job of some magnitude, and one that I may not fully perform, but submit the following for your consideration:
The sudden death of Mayor Eifert was a great shock to his family and friends, and by it the city lost a good citizen and an official who, in my opinion, was trying to do his duty according to his lights. The unfortunate wrangle in which his administration was involved soon after his succession to office likely hastened his death, as it seemed that he had become the victim of much unjust criticism, and all of his official acts were viewed with distrust. But, after his death, there were many who were willing to concede that he was trying to do his best for the city. The praise of such after his death, however, and the flowers of eulogy placed on his grave by the press of the city cast no fragrance backward over the weary way he trod as Mayor.
It became the duty of the City Council after his death to appoint someone to fill the vacancy in the office, and after some delay that honor fell to myself without seeking for it. I was not asked to make any pledges, and made none, and accepted the office as a duty I owed the city as a citizen, and I have no promises to keep, nor political fences to mend, nor any desire to build up a political machine, but simply wish to do the best I can for the city.
For the year 1913, the showing as to permanent city improvements is not a large one. We have paved 1.24 miles of streets; have laid 0.37 of a mile of water main; and constructed 1.02 miles of sanitary sewers; and 0.18 of a mile of storm sewers; and 0.58 of a mile of concrete sidewalks, the sidewalks having been constructed on property of delinquents who, after due notice, failed and refused to construct their sidewalks, and the same was done by the city and a lien filed against the property in favor of the city, as the Charter provides may be done in such cases, and the expense of such walks will be collected by the city in due time. In addition to the foregoing, the city has constructed a new telephone line to the intake of the water system at a cost of some $2000.00. This was deemed necessary by the council for the reason that the old line was a temporary affair and getting in such condition as to continually call for repairs, and the city must have communication with the employee at the intake, and the further reason that a lot of the rights of way for the pipeline were granted by property owners in consideration of having the right to use the city's telephone line, and it must be kept in repair to carry out the terms of the agreement by which right of way was granted. The new line has two wires and new posts, carefully set, and should not give further trouble for a number of years.
THE CITY WATER SYSTEM:
Receipts of the water department for the year 1913 amount to the sum of $32,806.13, and the expense of operation has been the sum of $13,984.66, and the balance after deducting this sum is $18,821.47. These figures run for the year up to December 1, 1913, and include the month of December 1912, this being the time for which the receipts and disbursements are shown. In addition to the cash received, there have been redeemed water certificates in the sum of $9.729.46, as payment for water rent. The Charter provides that five percent of the gross receipts of the water department be set aside each year to create a sinking fund to redeem the water bonds, in addition to not less than five-tenths of a mill tax levy on the taxable property of the city. The five percent of water fund to be set aside will raise $1640.30, and the tax levy of six-tenths of a mill this year will yield $3301.51 making a total for the year for sinking fund of $4941.81, which in my opinion is not sufficient by at least one half, and there should be a larger amount provided in some way. The water system is more than self-supporting, as now managed a matter of some congratulation, as it would appear that a larger sum could be set aside for the sinking fund to the end that the next tax levy for the purpose should be smaller.
THE CITY COURT:
The fines collected in the City Court for the year amount to the sum of $930.30. I am not able to give the number of people arrested for the year, but since I assumed the office there have been 94 arrests to be tried out and fined or not by the Mayor. Some attorneys argue that it is unconstitutional for the Mayor to act as judge of this court, as in the approval of ordinances he becomes a law maker and Mayor, and in his acts as judge of the court must construe the laws so made and enforce the penalty for violation of the same. This will be a matter for consideration by the new council.
SEWER DISTRICT NO. 13:
This inheritance from a former administration still remains with us, and the matter of payment for the sub-trunk sewer from North Central Avenue to Riverside Avenue, for which warrants of the city were issued, is still in an unsettled condition. The former assessment, made by the former administration, has been declared invalid by the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Oregon, and while the matter of a new assessment against the property benefited has been under consideration, it has never been completed, and this will be a matter for the new council to consider and settle by either collecting for the improvement or ascertaining that they cannot do so.
As before stated there is to be raised this year $4941.81 of the sinking fund provided by subdivisions "b" and "g" of Section 72 of the Charter, and there is, at this time, the sum of $5610.62 in the fund, of which sum $3757.01 is invested in the water bonds of the City, as may be done under the Charter. It seems that no provisions for this fund were made until 1912, which must have been an oversight, as outstanding bonds of the City to be redeemed are as follows:
$45,000.--5% to come due March, 1917: Issued 1907, 10 years
25,000.--6% to come due Feb'y., 1918: Issued 1908, 10 years
30,000.--5% to come due August, 1930: Issued 1910, 20 years
38,000.--5% to come due April, 1931: Issued 1911, 20 years
355,000.--5% to come due July, 1923 to 1938: Issued 1908, 15 to 30 years
20,000.--5% to come due Oct., 1932: Issued 1912, 20 years
As these several bond issues will have to be met in some way when they mature, preparations should be made to the end that a proper sinking fund for the purpose shall be provided and kept intact.
STREET AND ROAD DEPARTMENT:
As shown by the report of the Street Commissioner, the payroll for the past year amounts to $10295.46, of which was paid out for other funds as follows:
On account of the Bridge Fund . . . . . . $943.95This sum deducted from the full payroll leaves a balance of $6957.32 as the payroll properly chargeable to the Street and Road Fund:
" " " " Water " . . . . . . 260.50
" " " " Sewer " . . . . . . 963.63
For permanent improvements . . . . . . 1215.06
A part of the expenses of this fund is that of street cleaning, and the reports show that 14,676 blocks have been flushed, swept and cleaned, at an expense, as the Commissioner figures, of about one cent per block per day. While a good many think the expenses in connection with streets and roads can be reduced very materially, I do not believe it should be done by failure to keep the streets clean and in good condition. The cleanly condition of our streets is a matter that is frequently commented on by strangers in the city, and for this reason and from that of a sanitary standpoint, I hope to see them kept in a proper condition.
BEAR CREEK BRIDGE:
The completion of this bridge fell to the lot of the present council, and it seems to have been done in a satisfactory manner and wholly within the appropriation provided for by the purpose, and it seems to have withstood the assaults of the Street Railway Company without much damage.
"The poor we have with us always," and during the past two months there have been many applications for relief by indigent persons. As there has been no fund provided for this purpose, the Mayor simply had to make it his duty to have food and fuel furnished to certain persons, and take chances on the bill being approved by the Finance Committee, which has been done so far. I think the incoming council should make some different provision for such cases, and that a relief committee should be named to consist in part from the council and in part from the citizens, relief to be granted only on approval of committee.
The purchase of the Hamilton Ranch during the past year by the council has been much criticized at times as a piece of extravagance, but there is a question as to whether it was not a necessary one. Analysis of the water prior to the time the place was bought showed the water to be infected with typhoid germs, and after the place was bought and cleaned up a further analysis of the water showed it to be free from such contamination and fit for domestic use. Further, the present intake is a temporary affair at best, and sooner or later we will have to build another and permanent one, and having the ranch will be to our interest at the time, as the intake can be placed there and the pipe extended, and then the water flowing into the pipes can be kept in a sanitary condition.
The advice of some of our citizens to reduce the police force I would deem unwise, as a population of approximately 10,000 people that is be policed by four men would seem to be about as reasonable, for the number, as could be asked.
The six paid firemen of the city that are kept constantly under pay seem to me to be about as small a number as we should use, although I am not prepared to say that a smaller number would not be sufficient, but this will be a matter for the consideration of the future council, for the coming year.
UNPAID ASSESSMENTS AND INTEREST:
This matter is a source of great trouble to the council, and it seems to me that if proper precautions had been taken at the time applications to bond were received and the application had provided like a mortgage note, that a failure to pay the annual installment and interest when due should render the whole sum due, or that any unpaid amount of interest or principal should bear interest at ten percent after maturity, that this matter could be much easier managed and that the collections would have come in with a great deal more certainty.
I have not been able to state in this report the entire amount of delinquent assessments that are due the City, but the Treasurer has prepared a statement of the total amount of delinquent interest on paving that is due the City, and it amounts to the sum of $20,538.77 to October 1st, 1913, and this matter has had to be taken care of by the council as best they could and, while I am aware that there are people who are unable to pay their assessments or their interest, there are quite a number on the list who are able and who should pay these assessments and the interest due, as the City Council, in order to make these payments has to use other funds and, if the interest is not paid when due, the credit of the City is impaired, and that is a condition that we must not permit.
The operation of the Public Market seems to have been a success under the management of Mr. Runyard, so far as I am able to ascertain. He informs me that the ordinance, heretofore passed, governing the Public Market, should be changed in some particulars and this should be looked into by the coming administration. The market has been a convenience to our people and to the people of the surrounding country and has enabled the producer and the consumer to meet and transact business without the middleman, but I would suggest one thing in regard to the market, and that is that the practices that some persons want to carry on, of purchasing things and having a stall in the market for their resale, is not in strict accord with the intention of a Public Market, as I view it, which is simply to allow the producer to sell his products to the consumer; however, this is a matter that is for the council to settle in the future.
The provisions made by the council for the support of the Public Library have been meager enough and, if it were possible to do so, there should be better provisions made in the future. However, under the cry for economy in the administration of the City's affairs, it would hardly seem possible, at this time, to recommend that any further allowance be made for this purpose.
ECONOMY IN ADMINISTRATION:
As the most of the improvements of the City have been made, there remains but little further, unless the additional reservoir and pipeline is constructed, that the coming council will have to consider, it comes up to them with greater force to use their best united efforts for economy in the administration of the affairs of the City. If any place can be found where retrenchment is possible, it should certainly be practiced.
In order to give the council and the people an idea of the expenses of the various funds for the past three years, I have had prepared and set out herein a table showing the amount paid out in each of the different funds for the years 1911, 1912 and 1913, which table follows:
Park Fund for 1911 paid out for salaries . . . . . . $1120.00
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . 514.45
" " " 1912 " " " salaries . . . . . 1115.50
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . 44.00
" " " 1913 " " " salaries . . . . . 1036.40
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . 146.25
General Sewer Fund for 1911 paid out for salaries . . . . . . $1232.00
" " " " " " " " supplies. . . . . . 339.58
" " " " " " " " printing . . . . . . 172.75
" " " " 1912 " " " salaries . . . . . . 1125.00
" " " " " " " " supplies . . . . . 2512.00
" " " " " " " " printing . . . . . 266.00
" " " " 1913 " " " salaries . . . . . 895.56
" " " " " " " " supplies . . . . . 202.05
" " " " " " " " printing . . . . . 220.85
General Fund for 1911 paid out for general salaries . . . . . . $8791.35
" " " " " " " firemen " . . . . . . 3157.50
" " " " " " " police " . . . . . . 3870.93
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . . . . . 9989.68
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . . 793.86
" " " 1912 " " " general salaries . . . . . 10074.79
" " " " " " " firemen " . . . . . . 4578.00
" " " " " " " police " . . . . . . 4616.81
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . . . . . 3617.45
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . . 503.00
" " " 1913 " " " general salaries . . . . . 10003.48
" " " " " " " firemen " . . . . . . 5589.48
" " " " " " " police " . . . . . . 4540.62
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . . . . . 3378.56
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . . 1195.44
Water Fund for 1911 paid out for salaries . . . . . . $9331.18
" " " " " " " supplies. . . . . . 8521.21
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . 299.01
" " " 1912 " " " salaries . . . . . . 7837.37
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . 5544.41
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . 212.30
" " " 1913 " " " salaries . . . . . . 8055.96
" " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . 5698.00
" " " " " " " printing . . . . . . 230.70
Street and Road Fund for 1911 paid out for salaries Eng. Dept. . $12254.17
" " " " " " " " " " Street " . . . 12496.92
" " " " " " " " " supplies. . . . . . . . . . 4681.48
" " " " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . . 2793.66
" " " " " " " " " maintenance etc. . . . 3963.19
" " " " " 1912 " " " salaries Eng. Dept. . . 4742.76
" " " " " " " " " " Street " . . . 12383.44
" " " " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . . . . 4876.71
" " " " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . 1565.15
" " " " " " " " " maintenance etc. . . . 2652.54
" " " " " 1913 " " " salaries Eng. Dept. . . 2373.90
" " " " " " " " " " Street " . . . 10295.46
" " " " " " " " " supplies . . . . . . . . . 2378.52
" " " " " " " " " printing . . . . . . . . . 759.95
" " " " " " " " " maintenance etc. . . . 5915.31
Under the item maintenance etc. is included paving repairs and upkeep of sidewalks built, some for others, and a lien on the property taken by the City, and sewer repairs and for office rent formerly paid.
An examination of this table will show what has been paid for salaries, supplies and other items for the different years. All figures have been taken from the records of the Recorder's office, by one of the clerks, and will I think be found correct. The council should scrutinize this table carefully, as well as other citizens, and if further information is desired along these lines detailed statements for each of the years and for each month of the year can be found in the Recorder's office for any citizen or any member of the council, who are free to examine them and draw their own conclusions. Certain it is that the expenses of this City are heavy.
While we have a great deal more paved streets and more miles of pipeline and sewers to look after than is usually the case in a city of our number of people, and if all this has to be taken care of and repairs kept up, streets cleaned and all those items to be paid for, still it ought to be possible and I hope it will be found so that some extensive curtailment may be made in these expenses, not by neglecting to care for all this property but by better systems of management, if such can be devised.
BUDGET PLAN IS FAVORED BY MAYOR PURDIN
In a letter to the city council Mayor Purdin Tuesday night recommended the adoption of a budget system, the establishment of a purchasing department, systematic care for the poor of the city and municipal aid in the proposed spring sanitary cleanup. The budget system would hold taxpaying citizens, appointed, who would have a voice in fixing the city expenses for the year. The purchasing department would buy the supplies for the city departments.
The mayor's recommendations follow:
The following recommendations for important changes in the city administration were made last night by Mayor Purdin:
To the city council, Medford, Oregon.
Gentlemen: With your permission I propose at this time to submit some things that we might do that I believe would benefit the city.
Budget CommitteeI would recommend that an ordinance be passed empowering the mayor, with the advice of the council, at the first regular meeting of the council in October of each year hereafter, to appoint a committee of six citizens to act in conjunction with the finance committee of the council and be known as the budget committee of the city and the duty of which committee would be to prepare and submit to the council at the first regular meeting in November of each year the annual budget of the city, showing a conservative estimate of the expenses of each department of the city for the next ensuing year, the same to serve as a basis for the annual tax levy for the next year thereafter, and the expenditures of the several departments to be kept within the estimate of the committee, save in case of some unforeseen calamity.
Purchasing DepartmentI believe there should be a purchasing department of the city, to consist of such members of the council as may seem best, and to which committee should be referred each item of expense proposed to be incurred for the city. Supplies for the various departments of the city to be purchased by the committee on written requisition from the heads of the respective departments, and the committee to examine carefully into the necessity for the purchase and the price to be paid. While there may come times when an emergency will arise when some expense will have to be incurred without the advice of the committee, I believe there will be money saved the city by the committee, and having talked this matter over with members of the previous council and this council and some of the heads of the departments of the city, I believe the suggestion is practical.
Aid for the IndigentWe have no provision for this purpose, and as there are many requests for assistance, it would seem to me that a relief committee should be appointed with power to pass on all such applications, which should be referred to them, this committee to consist in part from the council and in part from the citizens and no relief to be granted only when recommended by this committee.
Clean Up the CityI would earnestly recommend to the council the necessity of having all places where stable manure and other filth has been allowed to accumulate given a thorough cleaning up, and thereafter to be cleaned as often as once each week, as the time will soon arrive when all such places will be breeding places for flies and other pests, and if this matter is attended to now, it will result in great benefits to the city in the better health of the people. There is need also that we give close attention to the condition of the streets and alleys and sewers, that they shall be kept in sanitary condition.
The Public Market
While there is a great cry for economy, I think that the grounds adjoining the public market should be covered with concrete with a smooth surface, so that they may be flushed regularly with water and kept more cleanly than they have been and now are, as the condition at this time to say the least is most unsanitary.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 4, 1914, page 6
CHARTER CHANGE URGED
MAYOR PURDIN, OF MEDFORD, SAYS BETTER SYSTEM IS NEEDED.
Proposal Is for Commission Form or Same With City Manager--MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 6.--(Special.)--Mayor Purdin announced tonight that he not only favored a commission plan of government, but intended to have a new charter for Medford drafted providing for a commission both with and without the city manager feature, which he would submit to the City Council and suggest that an election be called for, the people to decide which form they wanted, if any.
Plan Will Be Offered to Council.
This decision followed the receipt of a municipal survey drawn up by Professor Dan Sowers, of the University of Oregon, suggesting a number of fundamental changes in Medford's present form of administration.
"The present charter," declared the Mayor, "is antiquated and unwieldy, and in my opinion it would be better sense and economy for Medford to adopt an entirely new charter rather than attempt to reconstruct the old one. What Medford needs is, first, a better system of government and, second, a group of men or a city manager working in conjunction with a group of men, who can devote their undivided attention to city affairs.
"Since taking office I have become more and more impressed with the imperative need of change in our fundamental charter form. I appointed a charter commission to investigate and report, but they have never come together, so for the good of the city I have decided to take matters in my own hands and have a new charter drawn up."
Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 7, 1914, page 7
Medford, Oregon, May 24, 1914.
The City Council, Medford, Oregon.
As under the present city charter the mayor is shorn of practically all power in matters of government, and about the only thing he can do is to make recommendations to the council as to what he think he should wish to have done, I address this communication to the council, hoping it may yield results.
The present condition of the Fire Department of the city is not what it should be, as was readily shown at the fire on circus day when the Day Planing Mill and other property was burned. At the time the council took the step of removing Chief Amann and such action as caused the volunteer department to resign, I made the statement to the council that with the remaining force it would not be possible to handle more than one line of hose in case of fire, and this was shown to be the fact at the fire mentioned, and the Chief was compelled to ask for outside aid, and as a result the man to volunteer was one who had been drinking, and after the fire had an arm broken, and during the fire the Company lost 100 feet of hose, and the $100.00 paid to the man with the broken arm and the costs of hospital expenses and extra physicians will run the matter up to a loss of $300.00 to the city on account of what I believe to be mistaken economy.
I do not care to enter further into what was said and done, but I do not believe the people of Medford at the last election intended the new council should cripple their fire protection in any way, and think the council should take such measures as will be reasonable to add strength to the Fire Department.
While I have not discussed the matter in any way with any member of the old volunteer department, I believe such inducements should be made to them as would cause a reorganization of this company, and we all know that they have saved the city from disastrous conflagration many times in the past by their efficiency, and the paltry amount of money the city was paying them was so small as [to] be of no compensation to them for the service they had rendered the people of the city.
We are nearing the dry season, and the present force is not sufficient to handle a fire of any very great extent, and while in former years we have been saved from any great disaster on account of fire, we have no assurance that this condition will continue in the future, and if the city should suffer a great loss by fire the council will get the blame.
With the volunteer company again organized and put in training, and the paid department replaced in its former efficient condition, we would all sleep better of nights, even should the expenses be greater than at present, for one bad fire would wipe out the saving of years of such false economy.
Hoping the council will take this recommendation in the spirit in which it is offered and make such changes for the better as the city is entitled to have made, it is respectfully submitted.
To the People of the City of Medford:
You have elected a new city council, who have assumed the duties of office to serve you without pay. In assuming those duties they are taking hold of a job of great responsibility, the duties of which are manifold and onerous. The council can not do all things that are needed without aid from the people. The financial condition of the city's affairs are in bad shape, and it will require much hard thought and labor by the council to get them into shape, and this cannot be done except by united effort of our people.
The council is continually importuned by people of the city over things of little moment; nearly everyone has a complaint of some kind. Would it not be better for our people to forget their petty grievances until the council have had time to get their seats warmed and learn something about the heavy duties they have assumed and are trying to perform? Unless there is a cessation of petty complaints the council will lose much valuable time looking into them, when they should be concerning themselves with the greater problem of city finances.
People should advise themselves as to conditions in the city. They should know of the fact that the city council has had to pay over $20,000 interest for people who are delinquent on improvement assessments. The money had to come from someplace and has been paid, not from the improvement interest fund that should have been paid by the people and has not been paid; but by the hardest kind of effort and the use of funds that were not created to pay interest with.
The city is yours, people of Medford, and if you want its credit ruined, you have simply to continue your failure to pay your assessments and interest as some of you have been doing. Think about this. The obligation of the city for interest on improvement funds must be paid. The council has no mint with which to coin money. Where is this interest to come from if people who are able will not pay? I see but one way for the next year and that will be a tax levy of double the one for the present year. The little that the council can save on salaries will amount to but a few thousand dollars a year, and there will come due another $20,000 in interest during the present year that must be paid, and where the money is to come from I know not.
Is there any reason why the council should be forced to go to the courts to force payments of assessments and interest due for improvements? The people caused the improvements to be made; they have the improvements and should make their payments and not add to the work and worry of the council by not doing so.
It is your city. You have caused the improvements to be made. Will you pay for them or force the city into bankruptcy, or to levy a tax sufficient to pay your obligations to the city? Think about it.
Medford's Future as Some of Us See ItIt has oft been said, "If you want to live in a city where the people have energy, enthusiasm and enterprise, locate in Medford, Oregon, the biggest little city in the West." This enthusiastic recommendation by our friends has gained for us the highest type of citizens from many sections of the United States.
BY E. C. GADDIS,
Mayor of Medford.
The phenomenal growth of Medford during the past 15 years has caused it to change from a small village to a city of over 7,500 population, and to expand its limits over an area approximately 3¾ miles or over 2000 acres of land. This expansion has resulted in the creation of a taxable wealth representing over one-sixth of that of Jackson County, or almost five million dollars.
The total holdings of Medford citizens and corporations in and out of the city will easily represent one-fourth the taxable wealth of this county, so it will be readily seen what the growth of Medford has meant to the county as a whole and what a contributing factor it has been in the development of the magnificent road and irrigation projects during the past ten years. Many Medford citizens are owners and managers of orchard, stock, poultry and alfalfa ranches; also are timber and mine operators; therefore they are creating new wealth for the entire country and building up new resources.
In our city we have the largest hydroelectric power company between Portland and Sacramento, with high-power electric lines extending from Springfield, Oregon on the north to Delta, California, on the south, and across the Cascade Mountains to Klamath Falls and Chiloquin, Oregon, on the east. Medford enjoys the distinction of being one of the best lighted cites in the United States, having 200 large candlepower street lamps at intersections, besides cluster and streamer lights on business streets. Low rates for electricity have encouraged its use for cooking and household comforts to such an extent that we are among the largest consumers per capita of any section, and it likewise provides power for the larger part of our manufacturing plants.
With the billions of feet of pine and fir timber that is tributary to Medford, not only will the present sawmills and woodworking plants be augmented by several more, but the new additions will undoubtedly be on such an extensive scale that they will be an enormous contribution to the future prosperity of the city and all of Jackson County. Lumber production totaling at least one hundred million feet a year will be a reality in Medford district within a few years.
The location of two canning plants in Medford creates a large demand for the products of the irrigated lands of this immediate vicinity, also provides labor for many people. Both the plants and the payrolls are growing each year and they make it possible for the saving and commercial use of thousands of dollars' worth of Jackson County products, a large part of which would otherwise be wasted or not produced. In a comparatively few years each plant will pass the million-dollar mark in point of production and will there be a large contributing factor to the community.
To have a city that would measure up to the requirements for the present and future, 21 miles of streets were paved at a cost of more than one million dollars. Also 26 miles of sewers and over 20 miles of cement walks were built for the convenience and comfort of the citizens. Within a few years our paving operations will be extended to the remaining unpaved streets of the city until a complete network of hard-surfaced streets will be the final result. When this program is completed we will have approximately 60 miles of permanent streets.
Medford has a water system which has been one of her greatest assets. The source of this water supply is Fish Lake, which is situated at the base of Mt. McLoughlin (Mt. Pitt) in the Cascade Mountains about 36 miles from the city. The lake is fed by springs at the mountain base and it is the storage reservoir for a watershed of approximately 150 square miles all within the Crater Lake forest reserve.
The bringing of mountain water into the city about 15 years ago was the turning point in Medford's development. Each succeeding year has witnessed an additional demand from new water users until today we are rapidly approaching the total utilization of the full supply carried to the city through almost 25 miles of the main gravity pipeline. Having in mind the future needs of the city for a larger water supply, Medford's city water commission is already planning on a new and larger pipeline direct from seven large mountain springs of remarkably cold, pure water at the source of Big Butte Creek, which will make available an abundant supply of the purest water obtainable. This is the city's biggest project for the near future and it will be accomplished because Medford's citizens demand an adequate water supply to meet all future requirements.
The creation of Medford's city planning commission was another important step for the future development of the city along right lines. By careful planning of manufacturing, business and residence sections, and keeping them separate, a well-balanced city with stabilized values for real estate will be the result. This commission will be called upon each year to meet new problems as business and residence districts enlarge and can be of inestimable benefit to the city in planning parks, playgrounds and other public improvements, essential to the city's advancement.
To provide for the twenty to twenty-five thousand population which will be our problem in the next 15 years, there must be some advance thinking and careful planning to meet new traffic conditions. We must provide a system of boulevards running east and west, also north and south. We must have at least three avenues 80 to 100 feet wide, in both directions through the city, to provide safe traffic for future years. Will we do this in the next few years while values are reasonable or will we wait until they become almost prohibitive?
Medford citizens were not satisfied with paving only the city streets, but they were the pioneers in Oregon in sponsoring and putting over the plan of paving the main highways of their county and state, with the result that the first highway pavement in the state was laid in this county, and we now see the Pacific Highway paved through all the counties from the Pacific Ocean at Seaside, Oregon to the California state line. The next big project along this line will be the paving of Crater Lake Highway from here to Crater Lake National Park.
The coming of the tourist has entirely changed our problems. He will not only help us pay for our wonderful paved highways and streets, but will leave us a dividend besides. Many tourists will remain to invest if we will interest ourselves in showing them what numerous opportunities we have. Nearly 40,000 tourists stayed in our campgrounds last year--perhaps 150,000 passed through our city--how many did we try to interest in our city and county? Citizens and real estate brokers should outline a plan of action for 1924 that will place at the disposal of the tourist every bit of available information he will need to induce him to become a resident of Jackson County.
Two hundred and fifty thousand tourists through Medford during this year is a possibility, which in ten years can easily grow to four times as many, or one million. This means a large problem for Medford in seeing that adequate campgrounds are provided and properly managed so as to give proper accommodations to all who come. Many thousands of dollars must be spent to accomplish this.
A carefully planned park and playground system is an additional problem to consider, one which will be of vital importance before our city doubles in population. We should build a lake of sufficient size to provide a municipal swimming pool during the summer months. It is claimed to be feasible to pipe sulfur water into the city for such a swimming pool.
There has already been some demand for a municipal golf course, and with the increase of population and tourist travel, this will be a future problem for the city to carry out. It will also be essential to develop a system of scenic drives along the mountains of the valley, such as the proposed drive to the top of Roxy Ann and Table Rock and up to Wagner Gap, also several others yet to be selected.
Since the growth and prosperity of Medford is so closely allied with that of Jackson County, it is one of the first essentials that we direct our energy towards getting a larger, more prosperous farmer population in the county on our irrigated lands. With this accomplished and with manufacturing plants turning out finished products from our forests and soil, the future growth and progress of Medford is assured.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1924, page B8
Mayor's Farewell Letter
To the Mayor and members of the Council:
I closing my term of office as Mayor of the City of Medford for the past two years, I take this method of expressing my sincere appreciation of the excellent support given by each of you in carrying forward city business and working out the many problems that have come before us. It is rare indeed to find a board of eight men who could work together as harmoniously as the council has worked during the past two years, and it is gratifying to me to have had such hearty cooperation.
The liquidation of assessments and obtaining titles to delinquent property has steadily gone forward, having been a very large part of our work. This has presented many vexing problems which for the most part have been promptly solved with due consideration for those concerned and for the city's best interest. This same work will necessarily be carried forward by the coming council, and with the bright outlook for better business conditions during 1925. It should be possible to make a greater showing in bond redemptions during the next two years than has been possible during any similar period in the past.
Eight years ago when the Business Men's Administration took charge of city affairs, they were commissioned by the people to reorganize its finances and reestablish its credit. This mandate has been adhered to as rigidly during the last two years as before, and as a result Medford bonds are above par and in demand today, whereas eight years ago they were with few buyers in sight.
Medford's growth will mean new city projects and new bond issues in the succeeding years. It has been my purpose, while connected with city affairs, to enlist the cooperation of the citizens in paying off the present bonds as rapidly as possible so as to be able to issue new bonds for future development as required, and without straining the city's credit.
Thanks to this good response, we have been able to place city finances on a safe, substantial basis by materially reducing outstanding bonds; thus enabling the consideration of new projects.
There are a number of projects that might be mentioned at this time, as some of these will demand your consideration during the coming term.
A board of water commissioners was created and placed in charge of Medford's water system two years ago, and I note that most citizens agree that their supervision and management has been decidedly beneficial to the city. They are at present confronted with the task of working out plans for a larger water supply and securing same. They recognize the imperative need of providing this increased volume of water for the city in the near future, so that a sufficient supply will be available to meet the growing demand and provide a surplus for the future. When sufficient data, etc., is acquired and plans outlined, they will be presented to the council, and I feel sure they will receive your hearty consideration and support.
The widespread use of the automobile is not only presenting a greater traffic problem but is also causing a demand for more paved streets in the city. A limited amount of new pavement should be laid each year until all remaining unpaved streets that are close in are paved. The council should initiate such a program as soon as practicable. There are also a number of dead-end streets which should be opened up to properly distribute traffic.
For the first time in many years, there will be a fair-sized street fund available for 1925. A portion of this amount was set aside for the purpose of a large tractor and grader so that a part of the outlying streets could be graded and improved each year at a minimum expense. By working out a cooperative plan with adjoining property owners it should be possible to improve several streets the coming year and each year thereafter.
With the growing number of large buildings in the city there should be provided in the near future a portable tower, on motor truck already provided, for use in fighting any fire that might be encountered in the second or third stories of such buildings. It should also be possible to arrange for three or four volunteer firemen to room at the fire hall so as to supplement the present paid department.
As yet Medford has not adopted any definite plans for city parks or playground improvements, although several parcels of land have been set aside for that purpose. Recently our City Planning Commission recommended that a park project be undertaken along Bear Creek with the idea of developing a unit each year. Not only would this be of real benefit to our citizens, but it would be an invaluable advertisement to the one hundred thousand or more tourists a year who pass along the highway paralleling this creek through the city. It would also clear up what is now a menace to health and property.
In view of the possibility of air mail routes being established along the coast within the next year or two, it is essential that the city aviation field be improved and enlarged if we are to be in position to get Medford placed permanently on this mail route.
The growth of Medford is likewise increasing the volume of work that must be accomplished by the mayor and each councilman in order that they can do full justice to the task of conducting the city's business, and my close association with this work during the past eight years has convinced me that the time has come to prepare plans for the most desirable commission form of government, which will provide full-time paid commissioners or a city manager.
No mayor or member of the council can serve the city in such capacity and give the office the time it demands without a financial loss to himself. I have talked to many citizens who agree that the time has come when Medford should consider having paid officials to supervise its affairs and conduct its business. Many cities are now under the commission form of government and are finding it more desirable, and I would recommend that a committee of councilmen and citizens be appointed to make investigations, prepare and present a plan best suited for our city, having same placed on the ballot at the next election for the people's approval.
The industrial development in and around Medford has already done much towards stabilizing business, and each succeeding year will see a steady substantial growth which will be reflected in the growth of a larger and better city that will more than compensate us for the part we have taken in the conduct of our city's affairs.
Yours truly,Medford Mail Tribune, January 7, 1925, page 6
E. C. GADDIS,
MAYOR TELLS KIWANIANS OF CITY CONDITION
Mayor O. O. Alenderfer gave a very interesting and comprehensive report of what the city administration has been doing and its plans for the future at the Kiwanis meeting at the Hotel Medford today.
The mayor said the principal trouble is to meet the demands made by the people to keep in touch with the rapid growth of the city, and stay within the 6 percent limitation required by law. "It simply cannot be done," he said, "and other methods will have to be provided.
"In 1925 there were 165 new residences constructed in the city; in 1926 the rate increased 15 percent; this year, so far, it has doubled over 1925 and yet the tax levy only increases 6 percent.
"A few years ago there were general improvement bonds in the amount of $113,000 outstanding. They have been reduced to $40,000.
"The consolidated fund of the city now has $53,000 on hand to pay bonds, but we cannot purchase any of the 1934 bonds without paying a stiff premium. If the city votes to erect the new city hall the consolidated fund can purchase the bonds and receive the interest on the same and still take care of the improvement bonds in 1934.
"The recent damage to the city by high water is deplorable, and we must prepare to ward off such a recurrence. This means draining Stewart Avenue, widening Bear Creek and diking it and building a storm sewer extending from Southwest Medford across the west and northwest parts of the city to empty into Bear Creek below town. This will cost $180,000.
Nine years ago there was $417,171 delinquent on 2265 city lots, with back taxes of $60,000. The city attorney's office started in to remedy this, and as a result 1350 lots have been redeemed by the people and 900 taken over by the city, all of which have been sold but 190, and as soon as the titles are cleared they will be sold.
"Mayor Gates and the council faced a deficit of $240,000 in the consolidated funds when they went into office. According to the present assessed valuation and with the work of cleaning up on the sale of lots paying of back assessments, that deficit has been turned into an asset of several thousand dollars.
"This year the general tax for the city will be $82,000; next year the increase can only be $4,800, which I submit is not in keeping with the progress of the city and of the people in building.
"If we are to have the necessary improvements the people must provide the funds and then the administration will be glad to meet the demands."
Mayor Alenderfer paid a high tribute to the councilmen, City Attorney Carkin, City Superintendent Scheffel and other city officers, and said the city has purchased a modern street cleaning and washing machine, that will save its cost in three years' time and keep the streets cleaned.
He closed by asking the people to revote the bonds for the city hall May 16 and said the administration has all plans and specifications ready to let a contract.
Roy C. Lyle, W. K. Newall and L. Shirley, federal prohibition officers, Wm. Harrington, J. Carl Bowen and others made short talks.
J. C. Mann received the attendance prize given by C. S. Butterfield.
Kiwanians' guests were:
W. K. Newell of Portland, William Harrington, Escanaba, Mich.
Other guests: A. D. Collier, P. M. Sherlund, N. C. Chaney and George Codding of Medford; J. Carl Bowman, Los Angeles, Raymond B. Bacon, Roy C. Lyle and L. Shirley of Seattle.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 11, 1927, page 1
Mayor A. W. Pipes Discusses Medford Problems
in Speech Before Meeting of Council
The first inaugural address of length ever known to have been made by an incoming mayor of Medford on taking office was delivered before the city council meeting last night by Mayor A. W. Pipes, and was a thoughtful and comprehensive one showing a wide grasp of city affairs, in which he discussed the various city problems, duties of council and mayor, flayed factional criticism of city officials, asked for public tolerance and cooperation, discussed the city's future progress and needs, traffic, street lighting, aviation and budget, and stated that he would not assume autocratic powers, but would assume only an equal share of the city's responsibilities along with the eight city councilmen. The address follows:
Gentlemen of the Council:
By a majority of the electorate of the people of Medford we have been commissioned as a body to administer the affairs of government for the next two years, and unless removed from office either by death or for cause, it will be our duty to bear the responsibilities of our city government during the ensuing biennium.
We have accepted this responsibility, and our oath binds us to a task. It is unnecessary for me to remind you that this responsibility must be met in the spirit of patriotic service to all classes and all sections alike. Our interest should and must be the development of Medford as a whole, for upon this basis alone can we go forward in an orderly and healthy manner. Misunderstandings may arise and mistakes will occur--this because we are human. But if we meet the issues as they arise, with open minds, and with honesty of purpose, we can depend upon a favorable verdict from the great majority. We cannot hope to be loved by every individual resident, but if we do our duty conscientiously we can command the respect of all of the people.
As chief executive it will not be my policy to attempt the usurpation of autocratic powers. I shall choose rather to assume only an equal portion of the responsibilities along with the other eight members of this body. In counsel there is wisdom and solution of even the most difficult problems. In dictatorship there is disharmony and disintegration. I shall endeavor to assume only such leadership as is becoming to the office I hold, and in keeping with the dignity of a city of the high character accorded our beloved city, not only in our own state, but throughout the entire Pacific Coast country, and in this I shall confidently seek your counsel.
Increased DemandsWith the rate of increased population which has taken place in Medford during the past few years also come increased demands for civic improvement and expansion. The manner in which these demands have been met by the preceding and former administration has established a record worthy of commendation, and should challenge not alone the members of this council but every man and woman officially connected with city affairs. Even more, it should stir every resident of Medford to greater pride in past accomplishments and arouse within them deeper love and loyalty for their home city, the beauty and charm of which is unsurpassed by any city on the western slope of the great Pacific. Through the spirit of "all together," "pull together" we shall go steadily forward and each year will see the unfolding of our dreams.
But let me warn you--our dreams will not come true at the end of a Rip Van Winkle slumber. Intelligent, hard work must be done in the development of a city beautiful. Our forces must be marshaled together and all march in the same direction.
Factionalism FlayedConstructive criticism is a means to growth and is always welcomed by honest and progressive men, but factions pulling in opposite directions retard and tremendously harm a common cause, and the man who refuses to join forces with the majority, choosing rather to stand on the outside and cry "wolf" and promiscuously accuse officers and public servants of graft when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, is as deadly to the community interests as is the most venomous reptile to human life.
Likewise men who are elevated to positions of trust and then seek to use their official positions to selfish ends and graft are equally as deadly in their scope and should be banished from society and promptly dealt with by stern hands of the law.
Medford FortunateFortunate, indeed, is Medford, whose fair name has not been smudged, but honored by her servants of former administrations. Mayors and councilmen in the past have been men of integrity and high ideals. They have given freely of their time and talents to build a city comparable to its setting, so richly endowed by the master hand of nature.
With great and just pride we point to the building of our million-dollar water system, with a capacity sufficient for a city of 25,000 population, affording a mountain spring of pure crystal water in every home and of inestimable value to the life and health of our people. No city in the United States can boast of one better. This is the crowning achievement of the retiring administration, and perhaps the most notable in the history of our city.
Let us, as servants of the people, carry forward the good work. Two or three problems of major importance to the life and growth of our city immediately confront us. We have grown beyond the confines of a country village and have become the commercial center for a vast area, thus bringing to our city patronage of shop and store and industry, from a distance equaled by only a few cities in the state. In addition to this the great Pacific Highway, yielding its beehive of traffic, pours into our city thousands of cars daily during the peak of the tourist season.
Traffic ProblemThese conditions have brought about a traffic congestion upon our streets which our officers cannot cope with under existing ordinances. Jackson County residents alone are purchasing 1000 new automobiles each year, therefore the traffic problem becomes more and more acute as the months go by. I would recommend a more rigid enforcement of existing ordinances, not spasmodically, but every week and every month in the year, and the enactment of additional ones to relieve the pressing situation.
AviationAviation is another matter with which we must reckon if we are to hold the supremacy Medford has already gained. We are fortunate in the possession of geographic advantages not enjoyed by any other city in the state. But even this advantage is not infallible, and its virtues alone will not bring to us the great air terminal which appears to be within our grasp, unless we provide an adequate landing field to meet the inevitable rapid development which is immediately ahead of us and which is already taking place in all sections of the United States.
As one citation I might mention the fact that within a few hundred miles of Medford, located at Seattle, Washington, is one of the largest airplane factories in the world. Having sprung up like magic, this factory is employing 1000 men, including a technical staff of 65 engineers, and since their inception they have produced 1060 airplanes, including 980 military planes for the United States army and navy. They have strong financial backing and are planning a large program of expansion for the future. It is within the range of possibility that the manufacturing of airplanes in cities of the Pacific Coast may equal in importance to the West, that of the auto industry of the East.
We have no way to tell how rapidly this development may come, nor how important air transportation may become to the commercial life of the nation. In retrospection we can look back to the development of railroad transportation forty and fifty years ago, and today we see terminal cities which were developed from trading posts, directly due to the influence of terminal transportation. On the other hand, we can point to towns that blindly slept when the transportation forces knocked at their door, and today they remain trading posts.
Within the last thirty days representatives of our federal government came to Medford and declared their intention of establishing one of the high-power federal broadcasting stations immediately adjacent to our airport at an initial cost of $30,000.00, which station will employ four operators--providing Medford will secure and establish a larger and more adequate airport and landing field. In recent press dispatches we also learn that it is the intention of the government to establish upon or near the Pacific coast a port for superdirigibles. Such a port, we are informed, would employ two to three hundred men. The aviation committee of our local Chamber of Commerce are in touch with this situation and have been informed by the government officials that Medford will be given consideration in the selection of a Pacific dirigible port, due to our strategic location.
Much credit is due our local Chamber of Commerce for the large amount of work they have done in keeping Medford in the forefront as an air terminal up to the present time, and their work in the future will be continued, but their scope is more or less restricted for the reason that they are only a civic body and are not clothed with authority to act in legal negotiations.
I would, therefore, recommend that an aviation branch of our city government be formed to coordinate with our civic organizations in the future development of this important industry.
Street LightingOur city has reached the point in growth and development which demands, in my opinion, a modern and efficient lighting system for our business district if we maintain our prestige among the cities of the state. Likewise, our city parks have become inadequate in area for a city the size of Medford, and I would recommend that a careful survey of park conditions be made by this body, with a view of increasing the park area to meet needed demands.
With these issues will also come many others, as a natural condition incident to the life and development of a rapidly growing city, which will have to be met during the next two years. In the interest of economy it will doubtless be necessary to curtail in certain departments of government and expansion proposals which will be brought to our attention. We must not be unmindful of the fact that all newly elected members of this body were voted into office on the slogan of "A Business Administration," and we must keep faith with people by standing squarely upon this platform.
The BudgetThe budget committee for the city of Medford have approved a budget for 1929 of $133,000 for general operating expenses including $21,800 for the General Bond Fund Levy, and $20,000 for the Water Bond Sinking Fund Levy. Many items comprising the 1929 budget, like the last two mentioned, are fixed charges and cannot be changed. But let us remember that there are also many items constituting the budget which are estimated, and our relation to these items is only that of a trustee, and our constituency is the taxpayer, who has an inalienable right to call us to accounting.
At this juncture I am not in a position to make recommendations as to the possibility of a saving to the taxpayer. In Medford, in Oregon, in our sister states and throughout America, people cringe under the burden of taxes, and at the same time make more and greater demands upon our national and state governments and upon all municipal bodies. Unless and until this condition changes taxes will remain high, and no appreciable lowering in my opinion may be expected. These conditions do not lessen, however, but rather intensify the pressing responsibilities upon men in official position to eliminate all possible waste and unnecessary extravagance.
Employees of our city, whether in the office or with the shovel upon the street, should be required to render full service, just the same as is required by the individual employer. The number of deputies and clerks should be held to the minimum at all times, in keeping with efficiency and economy, and the merging of departments, where practicable, should be effected if the taxpayers are to enjoy the full benefit of the money paid into our city treasury.
A. W. PIPES.Medford Mail Tribune, January 3, 1929, page 3
RETRACTION DEMANDED BY MAYORTo the Editor:
In answer to the vicious attack made upon me in the Medford Daily News of October 9th, wherein they accuse me of graft in the mayor's office, I wrote the following article, addressed to the News editor, giving the facts in the matters discussed in his article of attack (which facts were no doubt known to the author of the article before he wrote it).
I requested the News editor to publish my article, which he refused to do and instead makes another attack upon me in his issue of October 11th, referring to my article, which the people have not seen, as a "whitewash" attempt upon my part.
I am now requesting the Mail Tribune to publish my article so the people may know the truth.
I want to make this further challenge to the Daily News, viz: If you can show up any graft in my office, or any department of city government, of any kind or any amount, directly or indirectly, I welcome it with all my being. But I abhor your tactics of slimy insinuations and innuendos. In the name of society and decency, by clean, be fair, or else shut up.
The statement which the News refused to publish follows:
To the Editor of the News:
In your article of October 9th you make the charge of graft in the mayor's office in the matter of the sale of city water to the Berrydale district, and the extension of the water line to the airport. This accusation I resent with every atom of my manhood, both as a public official and as a citizen, and herewith give you the facts in the matter discussed.
The residents of the Berrydale district petitioned the city council to extend a water line into their district early in the year 1929, and the matter was discussed at various times by the council extending over several months and covering various features of the proposed extension, including rates to be charged, etc., and on August 20th, 1929, the matter came to a vote in which the council was evenly divided, and I, as mayor, cast the deciding vote in favor of the extension.
At that time George Hilton owned the ranch to which you refer in your article and had been the owner of this ranch for the past 20 years or more. At a subsequent date, Mr. Hilton sold this ranch to R. L. Burdic, of Grants Pass, and at a still later date Mr. Burdic, through his agent, proposed a trade of this ranch for one owned by Mr. Anderson and myself, which was turned down by us, and the trade which was proposed by a realtor of Medford was abandoned. At a still subsequent date another gentleman representing Mr. Burdic renewed the proposal to trade this ranch to Mr. Anderson and myself, which, after much negotiation, was consummated in May of this year.
At the time the city water was extended to Berrydale district and the airport I did not own, nor have any interest in this ranch--had never had any negotiations for it, and was in no way interested in it.
You make the further charge that the water commission could have built a water line to the airport less than one mile in length if they had selected the shortest route.
Three routes were considered by the water commission, and the shortest distance between any point of our water system to the airport was 12,100 feet, or a little more than 2.3 miles. The route selected upon which the line was built was 13,451 feet, or a fraction over 2.5 miles. If the slightly shorter route had been selected it would have traversed a sparsely settled section from which the revenue from water users would have been approximately $25 per month. The route over which the line was built yielded to the city last month $219.30, and it is estimated by the water commission that this line will yield $300 per month within a short time from the people already living along the line.
I challenge you to investigate any of the statements or figures above given, and in view of the fact that there is not a word of truth in your article, will you be kind enough to retract.
A. W. PIPES,Oct. 10th.
Mayor of Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 12, 1930, page 3
MAYOR PIPES ASKS FOR FAIR PLAY IN CITY
Demands That All Evidence Be Presented of Charges Made
So That People May Know the Truth.
A. W. Pipes, mayor of Medford, issued the following statement today, addressed to the people of this city:
"To the Public:
"Most people in these great United States possess an inherent desire to see fair play. It was this principle that brought our nation into being and has made it upstanding among the nations of the earth. It is this principle that makes Oregon a worthy unit of this great commonwealth and makes of Medford a community of militant, worthwhile citizenry.
"It is in the spirit of fair play that I, as an injured and outraged citizen and head of a city government of intellectual and progressive people, accept the challenge, so ruthlessly and boldly flaunted recently in the Medford Daily News, of graft and corruption in the mayor's office, and I was then refused the opportunity to answer these charges through the columns of the same newspaper with an article I prepared, giving all the facts. Such a refusal is as bold as the publication of the infamous attack, and perhaps sets a precedent in American journalism.
"But notwithstanding these facts, I want to say to the Daily News--You can't get away with this ambush warfare and brazenry and then slink into silence in no man's land, stick your head in the sand and hope the barrage of an outraged community will pass over you and leave you to pursue your sniping attacks upon some other official or citizen--sneak away like a cowardly puppet of the highway of the motor world who has struck down his victim and sped away, leaving him helpless by the wayside. You may just as well face the issue, come forward and present your evidence in this case before you take on too many others, for you are going to do this whether you want to or not. I not only welcome all the evidence at your command, but I DEMAND IT. In the name of common decency and your presumed right to expect the public to believe a single utterance you make, SHOOT OR LAY DOWN THE GUN.
"A. W. PIPESMedford Mail Tribune, October 20, 1930, page 1
"Mayor of Medford."
From Mayor-Elect Wilson.To the Editor:
I thank you very much for your personal editorial in Sunday's Mail Tribune. My appreciation is also extended to you and to your paper for the fairness in which the late city campaign was presented.
In entering upon the duties of the office to which I have been chosen, I hold no prejudice. The service to be rendered is to all citizens alike, without partiality and regardless of their attitude in campaign matters. Past city administrations, and the service rendered by the individuals thereof, have been as honest, faithful and just as has been the service of the members of the election boards, so severely criticized from some quarters, and vindicated by the recount. This vindication should also carry with it the vindication of all others deserving of praise instead of abuse, and to whom we must give credit for bringing Medford from a state of financial chaos and keeping the city in a sound and progressive condition.
God give us men, sound in thinking and fearless in action. This, I am sure, will be the character developed in the members of the new council selected to direct our affairs.
We need also a cooperating citizenship that will educate themselves in city affairs and thus be able to criticize properly and justly.
Again assuring you of my appreciation, I am very truly yours,
E. M. WILSON,Medford, December 15.
"Communications," Medford Mail Tribune, December 15, 1930, page 4
Pipes Reviews Progress of Medford
in Farewell Address as City Mayor
That the city of Medford has gone forward in much constructive progress, and made many important improvements the past two years under his administration, is related in detail by A. W. Pipes, in his retiring address as mayor at the city council last night. He told that in addition to inauguration of other improvements the grand total of the city's improvement program of the past two years footed approximately $419,000, exclusive of the general budget expense of approximately $50,000 expended in the upkeep of the streets and road department. He declared that the administration's work during this period was greatly facilitated by the support of the people as a whole. His address follows:
"Gentlemen of the Council: Two years ago when the administration which now comes to a close assumed the responsibilities of our city government, we did so with a definite promise to the people of Medford that we would apply a business policy in city affairs. It is therefore proper at this time that we give an accounting of our stewardship, with a brief resume of what this council has done.
"Of the eight members of the councilmanic body with which we started two years ago, only four of you remain as members of the present group; two vacancies occurred by removal from the city, one by resignation and one by death, thus making a 50 percent turnover in the council during the two years.
"We have been fortunate in filling these vacancies with men who have had a single purpose in mind in the discharge of their official duties--that of service to the community. This thought and purpose has been dominant in the mind of every member of this group, which has made it possible to tackle and to solve the problems and meet the responsibilities as they have arisen, with no regard for political effects or factional favors.
Officials Faithful.Medford Mail Tribune, January 7, 1931, page 5
"With this meeting we are bringing to a close the twenty-second biennial period of the municipal government of our city. We have held every regular meeting during the entire period of the administration, and in addition thereto we have conducted twenty-five special meetings, which is equal to one full year from the standpoint of regular scheduled meetings, and we have never failed to have a quorum present for the transaction of business.
"Twenty-one mayors have served our city as its chief executive prior to the administration now closing, and approximately one hundred and seventy men have served in the capacity of councilmen, and have contributed their lot in the forward march of Medford's progress.
"We have grown from a hamlet of a few hundred souls at the beginning of our corporate existence to one of the most important commercial centers of our state in 1931, with a population of fifteen thousand people.
Early Growth Slow.
"Growth in the early years of our city's history was slow but consistent, and always of a substantial character, which gave inspiration to the inhabitants of thirty years ago to look to the future with hope and confidence.
"In the years of 1906 and 1907 the growth of our city began to gather impetus, and this continued with increasing momentum up to the year 1910 when it developed into a building boom which collapsed in 1912, and five years were required for recovery and readjustment. Medford learned her lesson and since 1917 her consistent and steady growth has been in keeping with the expansion of the great empire of which we are the commercial center.
"Though plans of the early administrations were not as well laid out and as comprehensive as they might have been for future expansion, neither were they without vision as builders of their day, when traffic problems and the movement of the commerce of a city were of but little concern.
"As a natural consequence, we are confronted today with too many narrow and dead-end streets. Subdivisions have been permitted in the years gone by without the proper coordination of streets already established, and without provision for through thoroughfares leading through the city in each direction of the compass to permit rapid and easy movement of traffic and commerce.
Perplexing Problem."This constitutes one of the city's most perplexing problems and is one which has received a great deal of attention during the past two years, both by the council and the planning commission, resulting in a comprehensive outline of city planning which will not only be effective in correcting many mistakes of the past, but will guide future administrations in building a city from plans rather than by haphazard methods.
"The planning commission is doing constructive work in city affairs, and complete harmony exists between that body and the council.
"Several streets have already been improved by extensions and the elimination of dead ends, and others are on the program for the immediate future, most important of which are the North Central outlet to the Pacific Highway and the opening of Fourth and Eighth streets across the railroad, in the very heart of the city, which is of major importance to the business and inner fire zone.
"Petitions have been filed with the public service commission for these openings, and briefs are being prepared for the hearing.
"These matters should continue to receive the aggressive attention of this body until the streets are opened.
New Traffic Artery."With the completion of the Cottage Street bridge across Bear Creek, the opening of Eighth Street across the railroad will provide another artery of travel between the east and west side and through the business district, thus relieving congestion at Main and Riverside and over the Main Street bridge.
"The matter of sewage disposal is another major problem which has received much attention during the past two years, and upon which considerable data has been gathered in the study of various types of plants now in use. The topography of the city is such as to eliminate serious and difficult engineering problems such as confront many cities, and with the information now in hand the council can proceed in preparation for the construction of a plant to accommodate our present and immediate future needs, with provision for the addition of other units as the growth of the city may require.
New Park Sites."During the past biennium we have set aside two small park sites within the city and have done considerable work in their development; one on North Riverside and one at the intersection of Ivy and North Oakdale.
"We have purchased 1600 acres on Roxy Ann and are carrying on negotiations with the state highway department for its development. This movement was sponsored by the Lions Club of our city, and much credit is due them not alone for carrying on negotiations with the federal department for the purchase of this park, but also for their donation to the city of 200 acres additional land adjoining the 1600-acre tract.
"We are negotiating the purchase of the P.&E. tract consisting of 19 acres lying along Bear Creek, within the city, and are making plans for developing it as a unit of the Bear Creek Boulevard park.
Successful Airport."We have purchased 280 acres for a municipal airport and have constructed one of the outstanding class 'A' airports in the entire western part of the United States, which is now in successful operation.
"The cost of this airport, while representing an investment of approximately $175,000.00, was held within the $120,000.00 bond issue in money spent by this body, all of which was judiciously invested and every dollar made to do 100 cents' worth of service.
"The cost above the $120,000 was contributed by the water commission in extending a water line to the field, and by six oil companies who have installed modern and attractive equipment, and who pay a minimum franchise to the city of $720 per annum.
"We have completed plans and awarded a contract for the construction of a $20,000 reinforced concrete bridge across Bear Creek at Cottage Street. We have reconstructed the Jackson Street bridge at a cost of $4,400.
"We carried to completion the construction of a new city fire hall at a cost of $36,000, and the purchase of two new fire trucks costing $13,700, this improvement having been projected by the preceding administration.
New Lights Installed."We installed the new lighting system on Sixth Street at a cost of $11,500; constructed 18,500 square feet of concrete sidewalks fronting city lots, and 75,000 square feet fronting privately owned lots, at a total cost of $12,200, thus providing a long-felt need for pedestrians, and especially school children, to get to and from school dry-shod in sections of the city where they have heretofore been compelled to wade through muddy trails during the rainy season.
"We are informed by Postmaster Warner that the city's sidewalk program covering the past 18 months has enabled him to extend the mail service to sections of the city which could not otherwise have been accomplished.
Streets Opened."We have erected 100 new traffic signs costing $1000; opened South Central Avenue into the Pacific Highway at a cost of $2500; opened West Holly Street from Summit to Columbus, and are now negotiating for the purchase of land to open Pennsylvania Avenue to Columbus; condemned and salvaged eleven dilapidated buildings, including in this program the old Page Theater, which has stood as a gaping monument of rebuke to progressive Medford for the past eight years; may it be said to the credit of the owners of this property that it has been converted into a modern and attractive business block.
"We have laid 18,900 feet of new sewer, approximately 57 city blocks, costing $31,000, and preliminary work is being started for new sewer lines covering 15 additional city blocks; paved 25 city blocks, costing $56,500, and survey work is now under way for the paving of five additional city blocks; graded and graveled 13 city blocks, costing $8,600; installed 19 new street lights in residential districts at no cost to the city; employed 100 men in removing snow from the streets last winter, at a cost of $2500; issued deeds for the sale of 55 city lots; deeded to Jackson County a site for new shops and yard for county machinery.
Adopt Building Code."We passed and adopted the new Pacific Building Code, which means a better standardizing of all building construction in the city. We have adopted the U.S. Department of Agriculture standard milk ordinance which has in an amazing degree during the past nine months raised the quality of milk consumed in Medford.
"For the year preceding the adoption of the milk ordinance in March of 1930, the average bacteria count per cubic centimeter of milk consumed in our city was 180,000; today it is less than 10,000. (A cubic centimeter is a drop of milk the size of the point of a lead pencil.) [sic]
"On March 1 last, there was only one dairy in Jackson County equipped for the production of 'A' grade milk; today there are 40 such dairies now delivering milk in Medford, and many more in the process of bringing their equipment up to grade 'A" standard.
"Dairymen of the valley are showing a fine spirit of cooperation, and the industry throughout the county is rapidly attaining a position of eminence in Pacific Coast competition.
Water System Grows."The water commission has kept pace with Medford's growth, and during the biennium has laid 19,866 linear feet (approximately three and three-quarters miles) of cast iron water mains, at a cost of $37,500. Additional to this they have carried forward a program of clearing land at the intake of our water supply of dead brush, decayed and rotten logs and refuse, and have planted 20,000 trees in the reforestation of city-owned land in our watershed.
"This makes a grand total in the city's improvement program, covering the past two years, of approximately $419,000, exclusive of the general budget expense of approximately $50,000 which has been expended in the upkeep of the streets and roads department. Care has been exercised to hold all city departments to the minimum of overhead expense, and some reduction has been effected. In the legal department alone annual salaries have been reduced from $4800 to $2400, and other incidental expenses entirely eliminated, thus reducing the overhead of this department by more than 50 percent.
"The work of the council has been greatly facilitated during this entire biennial period by the support of the people. Every civic body of our city has stood loyally behind us; the merchants and the populace as a whole have given us their support; sometimes not in entire accord with our official acts in handling issues which have come before us, but this can never be expected in a growing, bustling city, and their criticism in most instances has been of a constructive character, which always tends to aid a municipal body in their deliberations, rather than harm the cause.
Had Loyal Support."With this loyal support the accomplishments of this body were made possible despite the persistent opposition of the weekly newspaper and the sporadic outbursts of their daily ally in recent months; otherwise, the local press has been one of the greatest aids to the council in carrying forward the work of our city.
"We have endeavored to include in our program every municipal department and to carry the work to every section of the city, believing this to be fair in policy and sound in its scope in building a GREATER MEDFORD, for which we look to the future with confidence and security."
Mayor Wilson Announces Policy and AppointmentsIn his inaugural address on taking over the office of mayor last night E. M. Wilson outlined the policies of his administration, named his council committees, announced appointments to vacancies on the various city commissions, and asked the united support of the local public for that administration in civic affairs, for the good and development of the city. He spoke in part as follows:
in Inauguration Address
"The general public does not realize the valuable service given to the city of Medford by those identified with the city in an official capacity since 1917. About this time a charter provision was enacted by the people eliminating salaries and compensation to the mayor and council, and their services have been given without cost to the city. This is true also of the water commission and the planning commission.
"The budget committee of eight business men will also give free service this year in the way of investigating administrative and financial problems for the benefit of the city. At the present time the mayor, council, water and planning commissions and the budget committee--a body of twenty-nine business men--are greatly sacrificing their private business in giving Medford the best administration possible. The intricate affairs of the city require mature deliberation with a definite and positive execution of the plans and policies outlined from time to time to bring the
city to a perfection demanded by the people and at a minimum cost in taxation.
Council Committees Named ."In the organization of council committees I have chosen as chairmen those members of the council deemed most acceptable from the point of knowledge of the department assigned to them, the time to be devoted to committee work with least inconvenience to the councilman, and the availability of the chairman to assemble his associate members.
"To avoid possibility of any lack of harmony or cooperation in committees I have asked all chairmen to choose their committee associates.
"The committees as thus organized, the first named being chairman, are as follows:
Finance--C. A. Meeker, D. R. Terrett, W. W. Allen.
Public Safety--P. M. Kershaw, C. C. Furnas, G. W. Porter.
Street and Roads--J. O. Grey, D. R. Terrett, C. C. Furnas.
Parks and Playgrounds--P. M. Kershaw, C. A. Meeker, G. W. Porter.
Land Appraisal--G. W. Porter, W. W. Allen, J. O. Grey.
Building and Light--D. R. Terrett, P.M. Kershaw, C. C. Darby.
Licenses--C. C. Darby, C. C. Furnas, C. A. Meeker.
Health--W. W. Allen, J. O. Grey, C. C. Darby.
Airport--C. C. Furnas, J. O. Grey, D. R. Terrett.
From your body you have chosen as council chairman--C. A. Meeker, who becomes acting mayor.
"Council committees, and the chairmen particularly, must be held responsible for the efficiency and results obtained in the several departments. Because a budget allowance is set up is by no means authority for the spending of the allotment. Conservation in disbursements must be the primary aim of department heads and a means of conservation is in the chairmen of committees giving more attention to overseeing and authorizing disbursements.
"Councilmen, through committees, have been assigned particular duties and it is expected that they will thoroughly investigate and report to their findings. The action of the council! must depend upon committee reports and the committee and its chairman particularly must recognize the responsibility resting with them.
Ordinances‘The necessity for particular regulation should be presented and discussed and the writing of the ordinance directed by the council if such regulation is a real necessity for public protection or benefit. My suggestion is that a demand for regulation by ordinance should come through the committee of the department affected.
"The matter of nuisance regulation has heretofore been presented. If the demand continues the public safety committee should investigate and report.
"Another important matter bearing on the activity of a councilman to which it is my duty to call attention is the possibility of members of the administration being interested in claims and contracts of the city. While this may be looked upon as a technical feature it is nevertheless a law prescribed for state, county and municipal government. Let me quote Section 18 of Chapter IV of our city charter.
"'Neither the Mayor, nor any Councilman of the City of Medford, Oregon, nor the President of the Council shall receive any salary or compensation for any services performed by them or any of them, nor shall such Mayor, Councilman, or President of the Council be a party to, or interested directly or indirectly in any contract to which said City is a party, or in which it has an interest, or over which it has supervision or control. If any such Mayor, Councilman or president of the Council shall draw any salary or receive any compensation for his services as such, or be directly or indirectly interested in, or a party to any such contract, they shall be guilty of malfeasance in office and shall forfeit such office.'
Good Record Aim"When this council retires may it be said that our duty has been fulfilled to the utmost, our acts beyond any suspicion, and our consciences clear in the belief that our duties have been performed for the city as we and our associates have believed for the greatest good to the people and future benefit to Medford.
"Efficiency is required in all departments and means the employment of men of knowledge and ability. The principle of civil service is correct and a trained man should not be replaced except for cause. We solicit reports of negligence, inefficiency and discourtesy but we must require such complaints to be well founded and supported by evidence of value to investigating authorities.
"in our council of eight members we now have three who have previously served the city in this capacity and five who are for the first time assuming responsibilities in the affairs of municipal government. New members being somewhat unfamiliar with the condition, requirements, and general detail of the various departments, the council at this time will make no change in department organization.
Vacancies Occur"Vacancies appear in the city water commission by virtue of the expiration of the terms of E. C. Gaddis and A. L. Hill who have served the city faithfully and without compensation for many years and during a vital period of water construction management. These officials have signified their desire to retire and in retiring they deserve an expression of appreciation for the service rendered. I assure them that this council for the citizens of Medford recognizes the sacrifice of time they have devoted to that department, the value of their service to the city, and that their acts have been through an inspiration to bring the water department to the very highest standard and efficiency.
"In the election of their successors this council has consulted with the remaining members of the commission in an endeavor to secure persons for the position whose ability and temperament would fit the ideals of the commission as well as of this council. For the full term, succeeding Mr. Hill, we have chosen Paul B. Rynning and for the short term succeeding Mr. Gaddis we will choose a man later on.
"By virtue of two members of the planning commission, Mr. Porter and Mr. Allen, assuming councilmanic duties at this time it becomes necessary to declare these positions on the commission vacant. Mr. Thierolf, whose term of appointment expires January 1, 1924, has resigned, and the appointments of Mr. Thomas and Mr. Roberts have expired. It is therefore necessary to appoint five members of the Commission and such appointments agreeable to the council and to the commission are as follows: W. B. Roberts and C. M. Thomas to serve four years; J. D. Bell to serve three years, and C. S. Butterfield and A. B. Cunningham to serve two years.
Public Safety"Safety in our municipality depends upon the proficiency of our fire and police departments. Our fire department is considered of the very best, and at the present time seems amply provided for. In the police department there is a demand for an increased patrol. The demand last fall did not efficiently impress the budget committee to provide increased funds for a larger police force. Some portions of the city insist on increased police service now, and means to provide the service, which must also include the cost of another police car, will have to be met soon. This matter is with the public safety committee for solution.
Oak Grove Water District"The sale of a limited amount of water to districts adjacent to the city was approved by the people at the late election. An agreement submitted for the sale of water, acceptable to the council, has been rejected by the Oak Grove water district. Since every source of revenue is vital in the redemption of Medford's water bonds, with 40 to 60 percent available water now going to waste, it is essential that all means of revenue be encouraged.
"The budget committee will give attention to all financial matters and will endeavor to report an agreement for the use of water in adjacent districts that may be generally applied.
"The condition in the Midway district is different to that in other localities and the terms to be adopted for new districts be such as will be equitable and just to the city and to the outside users--giving the city a revenue that will fully compensate for the great water line expenditure without imposing a burden upon the people of the district served.
The people of these water districts are an integral part of the city of Medford, contributing their patronage and business support and, in time, will be within the city through annexation.
"Pending annexation water service is essential to the city and to the district for vital sanitary reasons--and to the city particularly for increased revenue.
Now Budget Committee"The law provides for the appointment of a budget committee of eight members to act with the council in preparing a schedule of city requirements and for the
levy of taxes. Heretofore this committee has been appointed in October, or just prior to the time for filing the annual budget. Believing this committee can be of untold benefit to the council throughout the year, I am making the appointment at this time as follows: Eugene Thorndyke, chairman, E. H. Janney, Emil Mohr, Fred Wahl, John S. Orth, Scott V. Davis, Ted GeBauer.
"In making this appointment now it is with the expectation that the committee will become active as an advisory board, and through study of our financial problems be fully qualified to assist the council during the year and pass intelligent judgment on the city's tax budget when the time comes to levy taxes.
"Assessment and taxation is a problem the people, not closely associated with municipal affairs, seldom fully understand.
"Since economy and efficiency are vital in the administration of our city affairs, and necessarily affects taxation, I ask the budget committee to leave nothing: undone in the way of an investigation of administrative details in all departments that will tend to reduce expenses without affecting the service and efficiency demanded by the people. This committee will also be expected to investigate all major financial problems and assist the council in determining a proper solution. In this we will have to consider several important and pressing improvements.
Public Improvements"Medford is progressing rapidly. In this natural and permanent advancement there is a compelling demand for improvements commensurate with the progress of the times and the demands of a modern public. Among the demands for immediate and early consideration are the improvements outlined by Mr. Crane in his civic survey. For immediate attention in this survey is the Bear Creek park program and the opening of through and dead-end streets to relieve congested traffic problems. Street repairs and sewage disposal must have consideration without delay.
"Street opening should be taken care of only partially through assessments for increased value of abutting property. Such improvements benefit the city as a whole and the burden of the improvement should be borne by the city. The opening of through streets, with railroad crossings and dead-ends cared for, will do more to relieve congested traffic than anything else within the power of the council to do.
"Constant and insistent demands are being made for repair and resurfacing of streets. Twenty years' traffic has brought destruction to pavement in some parts of the city. This is a city problem and not an abutting property problem, as I view it. The increased property value was charged in the original assessments. The street damage has been caused by city traffic, not by the property owner. The annual tax levy for street maintenance is too meager to avail much in the way of repairing and resurfacing of broken pavement. The only way to adequately take care of the vast amount of needed repairs and reconstruction is through a general bond issue. A proposed bond issue for street repair was defeated by the people not long ago. This improvement must be made soon.
"Sewage disposal is another serious problem for the immedfate future. Our present plant is inadequate and during the summer's low-water season the condition of Bear Creek below the plant is a menace to health. If the surplus water from the city reservoir were permitted to flow down Bear Crock below the plant the condition would be greatly relieved. The surplus water, being picked up above the sewage plant for irrigation purposes, and thus kept out of the creek channel, leaves the holes of the channel to become stagnant pools and a health menace. Investigation of sewage disposal plants has been made and a proposed bond issue for this purpose must in time be submitted to the people.
Labor and the Unemployed"No city is free from the problem of caring for the unemployed. The resident laborer is invariably industrious, a home owner, and usually prepared to carry himself through a period of depression. The condition of the unemployed may be alleviated, to some extent, by employers, including the city, carrying construction projects when possible into seasons when relief for unemployed is most necessary. Labor organizations should be a means to improve general labor conditions as well as to relieve the unemployed.
"In the Medford survey of unemployed the present situation seems to be as well cared for as it is possible to be and every effort is being made for relief. This council will cooperate in every way with the active authorities.
Ward Organization"Organization for the accomplishment of definite and specific purposes is the only way for united action. In matters of city or ward importance there should be a means of determining a united mind of the people in their presentations to the council, and the council also desires a means of contact with the people whereby they may consult and be able to determine a united desire.
"These things can be accomplished only through a permanent organization in each ward and the desire of the citizens thus fully determined and placed before the council by the organization officers. I suggest such an organization and hand each Councilman an outline of procedure, should the citizens of their districts desire to proceed further in this matter.
Cooperation Urged"Mayors and other city officials of the past, almost unitedly supported by the citizens, have brought Medford to a position close to the top in the state of Oregon, as a prosperous city in a valley of exceptional resources. Problems are multiplying as time goes on and our population increases--and we must have cooperation and a united support of the people. In building up the city the citizens themselves have a duty to perform by taking active interest in all civic affairs; in becoming thoroughly familiar with questions at issue before passing critical judgment; and in assisting and supporting an administration always ready to cooperate with them and act for the welfare of all the people.
"Let me say in closing that the twenty-nine business men who are giving their time freely and without compensation represent many business callings--office men, bankers, merchants, automobile dealers, creamery, lumber, abstracting, doctors, real estate, engineering, jeweler, fruit distributors, and men retired. This makes a good strong ‘gang,' to use a past expression applied to councils, whose absorbing interest is to see that Medford continues to progress on a sound business foundation with its finances, credit and vital objective fully protected.
"In our council meetings we must insist that committee work be completed prior to the council session; that strict attention be given to council proceedings without annoying conversations; that the injection of discussion foreign to the subject being considered be avoided, and that each councilman exercise his own mind in mature deliberation on all civic matters coming before the council for solution. In this way will our sessions become brief and interesting rather than wearisome to those present.
"My desire, and the desire of this council, is to support and protect everyone in his worthy endeavor, in business and as individual citizens, without prejudice or partiality. As citizens we must all support and defend our national and state constitution and the charter of our city, upholding and enforcing the laws governing our conduct."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 7, 1931, page 7
VOTERS GET CITY SEWER FACTS, NEED
Mass Meeting Reveals Necessity for Action Now to Relieve Dangerous Conditions--State Sanitary Engineer Emphatic
For tomorrow afternoon's special election on the sewer bond question the polls will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., and all regularly registered citizens are entitled to vote. The voting places are as follows:Medford Mail Tribune, July 14, 1931, page 1
First Ward: Public market building on South Riverside Avenue.
Second Ward: Public library on West Main Street.
Third Ward: Fichtner's Garage corner Fir and Sixth streets.
Fourth Ward: Upstairs city hall, corner Front and Sixth streets.
The populace of Medford is better informed today on the merits of the bond issues to be voted on tomorrow afternoon for a new sewage disposal system and trunk sewer because of the mass meeting held in the city park last night, attended by hundreds of citizens to hear the talks of city officials and State Sanitary Engineer Carl E. Green on the present deplorable sewage situation and why the voters should vote for the bond issue.
The talks were interspersed with selections by the Elks band, and the remarks and music were broadcast over KMED, thus carrying into the homes of many more citizens the sewage situation and bond issue information. Many neighborhood radio parties were held to listen in.
The speakers in the order named were as follows: Mayor E. M. Wilson; W. W. Allen, chairman of the city council health committee; C. A. Meeker, chairman of the council finance committee; City Engineer Fred Scheffel; Dr. L. D. Inskeep, city health officer, and Carl E. Green, state sanitary officer.
Each speaker covered briefly one phase of the situation, and probably the most informative address was that of sanitary engineer Green on the necessity for the sewage disposal system to eliminate what he declared to be a "gross nuisance and public health hazard."
Mayor's Opening Address"Many of the citizens of Medford have been led to believe that the matter of sewage disposal for the city has not been given sufficient study and that action should be delayed. We are forced to immediate action," said Mayor Wilson.
"Let me say that this subject has been considered by your councils for years past without definite action, and that two years ago former Mayor Pipes, myself and others visited Klamath Falls for inspection of that plant and system costing over $300,000, going into detail with their engineer, Mr. Kennedy. Our study of the problem has continued since that time and has been intensive since the present council assumed their duties in January.
"One of the first communications received by me in entering upon my duties as mayor was from the state board of health, being then advised that something must be done to correct Medford's sewer situation.
"Realizing the seriousness of the matter, our health committee, with W. W. Allen as chairman, has made a thorough investigation; has worked out all preliminary details in accordance with requirements of the state board of health at little cost to the city; has submitted the preliminary details and specifications to four different engineers, including Mr. Kennedy of San Francisco, Pierce, Greeley & Hansen of Chicago, and Burns, McDonald & Smith of Los Angeles. These engineers have approved our tentative plans and estimates.
"When the bond issue has been authorized, and I am sure it will be next Wednesday, we will be in a position to employ some sanitary engineer who will prepare final estimates upon which to base a call for bids for all features of construction, and the work could be begun early this fall and continued during the winter, in a measure relieving unemployment.
"You have chosen a council in whom you must have confidence. This council has assumed a trust in which much responsibility lies, and a diversion of funds from an intended purpose will never be permitted. Our consolidated improvement fund provides for retirement of improvement bonds for which the city is responsible. Water funds will take care of water bonds if conserved and income increased according to the desire heretofore expressed by the people. Our new water system was constructed for $50,000 under the authorized bond issue. The Cottage Street bridge was constructed for §3200 under the estimated cost, due to competitive bidding. Sewer funds will be conserved in a like manner.
"In constructing the proposed disposal plant and trunk sewer the final expenditure will depend upon the determination of an engineer specializing in such construction. If possible to save in the type of plant or in any feature of construction such will be done. Competitive bidding may also save in construction costs. Be assured that only such portion of the bond issue as is necessary to accomplish the purpose will be sold.
"The sewage plans outlined cover a completed system for the city and for certain near future annexations; also for the immediate care of storm overflows and for the elimination of four septic tanks now bordering Bear Creek above the city's present septic tank.
"Those sanitary improvements are essential to the health and dignity of the city.
"The council up to this time has assumed the responsibility for contagion and sanitary damage but after Wednesday next the responsibility will rest with the people. Fully consider this responsibility in casting your vote Wednesday."
Chairman Allen Answers Critics"Unfortunately, the city council, and particularly the health committee of the council, have been accused of various crimes against the voters of Medford, high-pressure methods used in trying to sell the bond issue to the people and lack of judgment in bringing the election at this time," said W. W. Allen, chairman of the city council committee on health.
"Answering the first criticism, let me state, ladies and gentlemen, that nothing could be farther from the truth," he continued. "Early this year the council instructed its health committee to go into this problem and obtain data and other information pertaining to construction costs, etc., of a modern sewage disposal plant.
"The committee has held many meetings and interviewed several well-known sanitary engineers who have come to Medford from as far away as Chicago, at no expense to the taxpayers. These engineers have checked the preliminary plans and estimates furnished by our city engineering department, and have congratulated us on the work so far accomplished, This information is all a matter of record and you can easily check and confirm this statement.
"It has been said that we should not have brought the election at this time. Other speakers on the program will go into this phase of the program."
City Able, Says Meeker"Let your conscience be your guide. Think it over and vote accordingly," said Clarence A. Meeker, vice mayor and chairman of the council finance committee, in concluding his address, which was mainly devoted to the financial ability of the Medford public to well withstand voting the bond issue.
"Two things are necessary for the health and happiness of a city--pure water and good sanitation, We have long had the pure water; now a modern sewage disposal system is absolutely necessary. We have passed bond issues before in Medford's history for purposes that we could possibly have done without. I say this without any intention of criticism, but a new sewage disposal system is not in the class I refer to. It is a municipal necessity, that we can no longer do without. It means safety for the lives of a large proportion of our citizens."
Mr. Meeker stressed the fact that Medford's general taxation record is good, and that the city's taxation is low compared with other Southern Oregon cities. He said that Medford has the lowest general taxation of any municipality in Jackson County.
Scheffel Invites Investigation"Come to our office and we will be pleased to explain plans on the proposed new sewage disposal system and give figures and costs on the plans," said City Engineer Fred Scheffel, at the conclusion of his remarks.
Mr. Scheffel explained the present inadequate situation, dilated on the plans for the new sewage disposal system and trunk sewer in connection, told of the various types of septic tank processes in use in other cities. The present plans provide for expansions as needed in the future, and for the complete separation of the sanitary and storm sewage at some future time when the city can afford the enormous cost that would be entailed in effecting such a separation.
"Medford is known throughout Oregon as having the best water, and the filthiest sewerage," said Dr. D. L. Inskeep, city health officer, in opening his address.
In pointing out the necessity for the building of the new sewage system--septic tank and trunk sewer for which tomorrow's bond issue is up to the vote of the people--Dr. Inskeep stated that a complete and comprehensive survey has been made of the city and its environs by competent sanitary engineers, and the city administration.
The proposed system will care for storm and sanitary purposes for 15,000 people without house meters, or for 24,000 people with meters, he said. He related that the proposed system will abolish four septic tanks, and sewer cleanup nuisances.
He declared the proposed system is designed to provide for future expansion, as the city grows, so that if at any future time any immediate adjoining communities, like Berrydale, should be annexed to the city the added communities could be easily connected up with the city's fine sewer system, if the bond issue passes, and enjoy the benefits of that system.
In dwelling on the deplorable unsanitary conditions along Bear Creek, caused by the antiquated and inadequate main septic tank, Dr. Inskeep said:
"Do not take my word for it. Go out and look over the situation for yourself. You will quickly realize the necessity for a new sewage disposal system, and vote the bonds for it."
State Engineer WarnsImperative reasons for the passage of the new bond issue were given by Carl E. Green of Portland, state sanitary engineer, in his remarks which plainly show that Medford's reputation is at stake, and that it the city does not voluntarily remedy its present sewage disposal situation steps will be taken by the state on health grounds to compel remedial measures. His remarks follow in part:
"The state board of health has general oversight of water supplies and sewerage systems of the state. State law requires that all plans of the construction of water and sewer systems must be submitted to, and be approved, by that board before construction may begin.
"It also says that no sewage may be discharged into any body of water used for a public water supply unless it is first passed through some known system of purification approved by the state board of health.
"The present city septic tank is not approved by our office for the following reasons: The Rogue River below Medford is used by the cities of Gold Hill and Grants Pass for drinking water purposes. A nuisance exists along Bear Creek caused by Medford sewage.
"The creek water is used for the irrigation and washing of vegetables, which are sold in the city of Medford. This is a dangerous practice and no doubt has resulted of cases of dysentery and typhoid fever. The organic matter of the sewage so depletes the oxygen of the creek that fish life is destroyed.
"The Medford city officially were advised last January to proceed immediately with the design of a modern sewage disposal plant providing for adequate treatment. Our office will not approve of any plans which do not provide for complete treatment.
No Makeshifts"Extensions to or modification of the present septic tank will nut be approved.
"The term 'septic tank' has been improperly used in connection with the proposed new sewage treatment plant. Septic tanks are considered by competent sanitary engineers to be obsolete and inadequate for cities of any size. Septic tanks still are the most practical of all treatment plants for private homes and small institutions, especially where the tank effluent may be disposed of underground by subirrigation.
"The effluent from a septic tank is not harmless, as so many have been led to believe. Its bacterial content may equal that of the incoming raw sewage. Though it is often said that one may safely drink the tank overflow, only the foolhardy will risk
the danger involved.
"During the last ten or twenty years much has been learned about the treatment of sewage. Tried and proved modern methods of sewer treatment are at our command, and there is no reason why the older, inadequate methods should now be used. Though there are different processes used to accomplish the required results, they all provide for different units, which have different functions and accomplish the same results. These functions are sedimentation, digestion and oxidation.
"Their processes are carried on separately and not in intimate contact. Herein lies the chief difference between the old septic tank and the modern methods of treatment.
Cost Reasonable"The estimated cost of the proposed sewage disposal plant for Medford is reasonable. The city of La Grande in Eastern Oregon has at present the most complete treatment plant in the state. The effluent is practically always 100 percent stable, that is, incapable of producing conditions of putrefaction in the stream to which it is allowed to flow. This plant was designed for about 10,000 population and cost $106,000. It should be borne in mind that this cost does not include trunk sewer, but is for the plant alone. The cost is proportionately the same as Medford's cost, the added amount being necessary to provide a trunk sewer which is needed here.
"The people of Medford should vote the bond issue to eliminate the gross nuisance and public health hazard. The task of supplying a city with water does not stop when the used water enters the sewer. The used water, which is sewage, must be disposed of so as to not be a menace to the health and comfort of the city."
Mayor Urges Safe Driving
I heartily endorse every step that can be taken tending to the improvement of driving conditions and safety of the motoring public. The appalling increase in automobile accidents and the resultant loss of life and property calls for immediate action in educating the public in safe driving and eliminating the many causes of accidents.
In fairness to those who ride with him as well as the public, the man who drives a car should be absolutely sure that his car's brakes are safe, the lights properly adjusted and his tires dependable and well inflated. These precautions, plus a thorough understanding of traffic regulations and a generous measure of common sense, will do much to reduce the mounting toll from motor accidents.
As mayor of Medford, I wish to urge every citizen to cooperate with city police and traffic officials in an unceasing campaign for safe driving. Let us make Medford a safe place in which to drive through 1935.
GEORGE PORTER,Medford Mail Tribune, January 13, 1935, page 5
Mayor of Medford.
FISCAL CONDITION OF CITY IS GOOD,
Mayor Porter's Survey of 1935 Shows Maintenance
of Cash Basis--Street Repair Study Is Asked
Mayor George W. Porter, in his comprehensive annual report presented to the city council Tuesday night, recommended that the councilmen give consideration during 1936 to Medford highways "with the idea of developing and presenting some plan for the rehabilitation of paved streets," particularly those in the residential districts.
The mayor took cognizance of the dilapidated condition in which many of the streets now are. He said:
"During the year 1935 every effort was made to maintain our present streets and roads with the best use of the limited funds available for such purpose.
"In view of the fact that many of our streets were paved at a time when the use of heavy vehicles was unknown, the city has in years past been unable to expend monies necessary for reconstruction, and many of these streets are sadly in need of attention beyond which the city can give by ordinary measures."
Levy Is ReducedIn reviewing fiscal affairs the mayor said:
"Notwithstanding the extra burdens carried by the city during the year1935 for unemployment relief, it is my pleasure to report to you that we closed the year 1935 with money available to pay all outstanding warrants and leave a substantial surplus and that all interest requirements and bond payments maturing January 1 have been paid.
"By reason of the policies of the council and budget committee the city of Medford has during the period of depression maintained itself in a cash position. In addition thereto, during the year 1935 the council took advantage of the existing bond market to refund bonds in the approximate amount of $225,000, reducing the interest rate thereon from 5½ and 6 percent to 3¼ and 3½ percent, resulting in substantial future annual saving to the city.
"As a result of the policies of the council and budget committee, the council was enabled to reduce the levy for the year 1936 by substantially 3½ mills."
Cites Relief AidMayor Porter recommended that the council continue its present financial policies and practice of appointing a budget committee at the beginning of the fiscal year so that members would be thoroughly familiar with all phases of city administration at the time of fixing the 1937 budget.
The mayor reviewed the part the city played in 1935 in providing funds or unemployment relief and in obtaining federal grants for projects providing work for the jobless. He said the policy of caring for the unemployed would be carried out as far as possible in 1936, pointing to an application now pending for $366,000 of WPA funds for improvements and additions to the Medford airport, a project designed to provide employment as well as bring the plant up to first-class standards.
Urges Airport ExpansionReceipts from use of airport facilities in 1935 were sufficient to cover operating costs, Mayor Porter reported, declaring that "the Medford airport is rapidly becoming one of the major activities" of the city. He told of the services now stationed at the airport and recommended that the council continue its efforts to procure additional government funds and services. He urged that the airport be made of the major plants on the west coast.
While averring that foreclosures became necessary in 1935, Mayor Porter reemphasized that it has been the council's policy to give property owners every opportunity to pay back assessments and recommended that such practice continue. He declared that foreclosures will be resorted to only when the owner shows no willingness to protect his property.
Additional help employed during the year to assist in the collection of overdue assessments and to work with property owners in reaching some plan of payment brought in more than $25,000, the mayor stated, advising that the plan be continued.
Extra Patrolmen HiredLittle crime was committed in Medford in 1935, the mayor's report said, though a flurry of petty thefts and burglaries occurred near the year end. Pointing out that the police department was reduced from a personnel of eight to seven in 1932, that cities of comparable size have a much larger force and that an extra policeman was employed at the year end to help combat the petty crime flurry, the mayor recommended that the new policeman be retained, and the council concurred.
The milk inspection service in 1935 reached its peak efficiency, the industry cooperating better than ever before, the mayor reported.
Parks and the children's playground were maintained and improved without additional expense to the city, the mayor said, and advised continuance of the system as far as possible with available funds.
The water commission functioned efficiently and according to its schedule, the mayor's report said, collections being on a 100 percent basis.
Advises Close ScrutinyThe mayor pointed to actual cash savings to the city by virtue of its membership in the League of Oregon Cities, and he recommended continued membership and active participation in the league.
Mayor Porter advised the council to continue its present policy of scrutinizing carefully every requested improvement. "It is my opinion," he stated, "that while progress should be made, nevertheless conditions are not such yet as will warrant an extensive improvement program."
In conclusion the mayor expressed appreciation on behalf of himself and the council for the cooperation and assistance of the various city committees, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and its president, Ben E. Harder, local financial institutions and citizens who from time to time offered advice and counsel. He pleaded for the continued cooperation of all citizens during 1936.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 9, 1936, page 7
Office of Mayor No Bed of Roses, Women Informed
The mayor's office is no bed of roses, according to Mayor Diamond L. Flynn, who spoke Monday at the luncheon meeting of the Medford chapter of the Oregon Council of Republican Women.
Much of the trouble, Mayor Flynn said, comes from the city wanting something, and then not having money to pay for it.
The new city park [Hawthorne] and swimming pool, he pointed out, is a case at point. The park and swimming pool will be an outstanding addition to the city, but Mayor Flynn said the city simply doesn't have the money to finish the job. The Medford library is another case just like it. A bond issue was recently voted for additions to the library, but it wasn't for enough money, and now the library board is wrestling with the problem.
"Medford's airport is another headache," Mayor Flynn said. "It is big business, and costly, and the city is faced with the necessity now of building longer runways so the larger planes can land, and the administration building has been condemned and must be rebuilt. We will have to do these things if the airport is to be used as we want it used. Even revenue from gasoline concessions and restaurant concessions at the airport have to go into the city general fund, and cannot be used directly on the airport," Mayor Flynn said.
Regarding the airport, Mayor Flynn said that some consideration was being given to a plan whereby an airport committee could be named, to operate the airport much as the water board operates the city water department. A committee has been named, he said, to study such a plan.
"The office also poses personal problems," Mayor Flynn said. "The city has no funds for hiring a stenographer for the mayor, and the mayor's expense account has been used up, so right now the job is costing me about $100 a month."
Medford's mayor receives no salary, and only recently did the budget committee include any money for expenses for the mayor.
Mayor Flynn, during questioning, said that he approved a plan of city government whereby a qualified executive could be hired to operate the city, but under the direction of the council. He said that study is now being given to such a plan.
Medford News, March 25, 1949, page 1
Diamond L. Flynn Reviews Six Years in Office of Mayor(Editor's note: Diamond L. Flynn, who has been mayor of Medford for more than six years, relinquished that office to Earl Miller yesterday. In a final report, addressed to the city council and to the people of Medford, Flynn reviewed the accomplishments of his administration and pointed out problems which are still facing the city. He delivered the report at the year-end council meeting Friday, and will also give highlights of it at a Chamber of Commerce Round Table session at noon at the Jackson Hotel tomorrow. Slightly edited, the report follows:)
By DIAMOND L. FLYNN
Retiring Mayor of Medford
I feel that I should refresh our minds of some of the projects and incidents that have taken place during the last six years.
1. Completed Hawthorne swimming pool and park. (Bond issue of $125,000 to do this.)
2. Installed modern radio equipment for police and fire departments.
3. Capt. Leo Weidner of the Portland Fire Department hired in expansion of the fire department. New equipment purchased and put in use, including substation in West Medford and temporary station on the east side of Keeneway.
4. Twelve additional traffic signal lights and modern lighting on Sixth, Main, Central and Bartlett sts., through the cooperation of the State Highway Commission and lighting by the California Oregon Power Company were installed. A modern police-fire telephone alarm system has also been installed throughout the city.
5. Acquired sewage treatment plant from the government (War Assets Administration) and the installation of approximately eight miles of 36-inch concrete trunk main from the city to the plant. Shortly after this, treatment of sewage was made available to Central Point, also acquired approximately 1,000 acres of Camp White for garbage disposal and industrial use.
6. Construction of the Jackson Street bridge, which cost approximately $40,000. The estimates of cost were near $140,000 on this project. Construction also took place on a new annex to the public library at a cost of approximately $102,000.
7. Reorganized city superintendent's office and modernized the bookkeeping system in recorder's office. The office of public works director was created which greatly improved our Department of Safety and our street and sewer construction. Under this arrangement all departments are under the superintendent's office with the exception of the city attorney, treasurer, recorder and city police judge.
Street Paving Completed
8. To get the residents of the city out of the mud and dust, approximately 11½ miles of paved streets were constructed. An extensive program of storm and sanitary sewers was inaugurated with approximately 5.9 miles of storm sewers and 18.7 miles of sanitary sewers installed during this period. Most of the storm sewers were installed in West Medford due to a more serious drainage problem.
9. The police department was reorganized. More manpower was added. Modern equipment was installed throughout this department. It was through the help of the Berkeley Police Department and Sgt. Beall that this was accomplished.
10. We have annexed a number of additions to the city limits of Medford, among them being Verde Hills, West Side Heights additions, Eastwood subdivisions and the fairgrounds property south of town. A total of 178 acres has been added to the city through these annexations.
11. The city hall has been remodeled to some degree and is a much better office building for the needs of Medford. Much more should be done to keep it in good repair. The heating system needs some improvement. Most of the outside windows and doors should be replaced. These repairs would save a lot in heating costs. Floor covering is needed in most of the building. Many of the plumbing fixtures should be replaced.
12. A modern airport terminal building has been constructed and many improvements to apron taxiways and runway, etc.
13. New franchises were negotiated with the California Oregon Power Company, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company and the City Sanitary Service. (This required a great deal of study and time.)
14. Decontrolled rent--a very controversial wartime measure in this area. Many meetings were held, and I believe, looking back on this act by the city, decontrol promoted a greater expansion of home and apartment building by the citizens.
New Water Project Completed
15. A new pipeline and Willow Springs dam were constructed by the Water Commission, which more than doubled the city water supply. (There is no question that everyone in Medford is proud of its water supply, and the Water Commission should be congratulated.)
16. New street signs were installed on all streets in the city. East Main and Dakota aves. were widened. Improved all-night parking was permitted under a new traffic ordinance in some areas. A revised zoning ordinance and building ordinance was approved by the council.
17. Student Government Day was inaugurated. It has been a great help in bringing students and parents closer to their city and county governments. Much credit goes to Mrs. Justin Smith and the B.P.O.E. for making this possible.
18. Quarterly meetings of city officials of Jackson and Josephine counties have done much to help solve city problems in this area and to create better understanding of our mutual problems.
19. The office of city manager was approved by the voters on Nov. 2 this year.
20. Through the cooperation of the armory committee, Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County officials preliminary development of a new armory was accomplished.
21. The installation of water facilities for industrial and warehouse use north of Medford has been started through the cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce and the Water Commission.
Still Face Several Problems
The following projects are some of the things we must face:
1. The first is to install the office of city manager. Under the charter change, this should be done immediately. Under this provision, the management has the power to appoint the different department heads, such as police chief, fire chief, engineer, public works director and others. I hope that he doesn't disrupt the present personnel to any great extent, for the men and women that have served the city have had years of experience and are a valuable asset to the city. I feel the office of recorder and treasurer should be consolidated as soon as possible and that one department [to] be known as the department of finance be set in operation.
2. A very urgent requirement is consideration of annexation. The longer we wait the more costly it will be to the city. A study should be made at once and action [taken] as soon as possible. Sanitation and water is badly needed for these areas. Duff's report of Aug. 16, 1954 is excellent to follow. This will not only increase acreage but the population, and we will continue to hold leadership as fourth city in the state.
3. We are faced with a major street program. As the Origin and Destination Highway Commission shows, a growing need for more through streets plus a bypass route exists. I feel that under the multi-billion-dollar program as outlined by the President and Governor, we should expect action by the government and state before too long.
4. The matter of off-street parking is one that has to be considered if the downtown area is to continue to hold its own. This is a problem that the administration must assist the property owners with. How it can be financed is one problem to be studied. I feel that the property owners and the council should obtain the services of a competent person from some bonding company or other agency to advise on financing and also an expert to help on consultation as to the real need.
5. We have a real problem on sanitary and drainage sewers. Some of the areas in West Medford, on Fir, West Second, Jackson sts., and in the Laurelhurst section have real problems when a heavy rain occurs.
Most of the drainage sewers have been installed in West Medford, but we have the same problems in East Medford as well, and as more homes and streets are constructed, the problem increases. We are also facing a sanitary problem in Southeast Medford. Due to the fast development of this area, such as Verde Hills and other annexations and the fringe areas east of the country club, the ground will not continue to handle septic tanks properly. I feel that as time goes on, health could be endangered by the lack of sanitary sewers in these other areas.
6. Consideration should be given to working conditions of city employees to be able to keep good people on these jobs. We should be competitive on hours and some insurance benefits. I also think the council should reconsider the salary for the mayor. I know from my experience it has cost me a lot of money in six years to serve the city. The salary should be large enough at least to pay the expenses that one is required to spend to hold this office.
I also feel that Council should be compensated accordingly.
Every effort should be made to hold down taxes on the local level, but [as] I have already said, much-needed improvements are required and for that reason new mediums of taxation will have to be considered in our state, and the sooner the people of Oregon consider some method, such as is used in Washington and California and many other states, the sooner we will be able to get our fair share of the money to run our local government.
I wish to thank the new mayor, city council and citizens of Medford for the splendid cooperation I have had from all of you.
The job would have been impossible if it hadn't been for the wonderful cooperation of Superintendent Bob Duff, and his fine associates. Thanks to the fine men and women for helping to make the job possible.
Through the fine cooperation of the Mail Tribune, KYJC, KMED and KBES-TV, you, the citizens, have been informed of the news and happenings in the city.
If it hadn't been for our efficient secretary to the mayor and council and Mr. Duff's office, the report and much work she has relieved us of would not have been possible. To her a real "thank you" for a swell job.
In closing let me say thanks again, and always feel free to call on me at any time to help if I can be of service to Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1955, page 1
Mayor Miller 'Shocked,' 'Disappointed'
In Outcome of Two Elections Last Week
Following is the text of a statement issued Saturday by Mayor Earl Miller, addressed to members of the city council, the people of Medford, and the residents of the South Medford area.
"I am very much disappointed in the outcome of the election to annex the east, south and west suburban districts to the city of Medford. As the canvass of this vote will show, our invitation for these people to join with the city was turned down by approximately a 5 to 1 majority.
"In my opinion these people have rejected in a democratic way the very thing that many of them have requested from Medford to help them solve, namely water and sewer facilities of city standards, but by their own choice have chosen to remain in their present condition. Some of these sections from a health standpoint are a menace to themselves as well as to the city of Medford.
"I do not want anyone to believe that the City of Medford or any of its officials was promoting the annexation for any personal or political ambitions. But Medford is a growing city and will expand into these areas whether we like it or not. The evidence is already there, and the problems of need of water, sanitation facilities, proper planning and proper financing are very evident and will continue to grow worse and far more expensive when the problems become more acute.
Not Too Large
"There are those in our city who claim we entered into the project of annexation on too large an area, and without ample time and factual study. To this I will disagree, for in my opinion it would be a great deal cheaper for both Medford and the residents of the area to program and develop this area on a single annexation than by piecemeal sections, which will not conform with one another.
"The cost borne by the city of Medford in calling this election has not been wasted, and I believe certain facts obtained by the City of Medford have been worth the expenditure.
"It is my intention to call for a meeting in the very near future of the Medford Water Commission, the Medford Planning Commission and the Medford City Council that we might coordinate our thinking and formulate an agreeable policy for the future on the problem of water districts, sewer districts and annexation that we might avoid making again the mistakes which I believe have been made in the past. It will be my recommendation to these three groups that no water districts or sanitary districts be considered for approval in any section that is contiguous to the city without first careful consideration of annexation of the section into the city.
Interested in Needs
"I would never wish it to be said that I am not interested in progress or in other people's needs. I am not here as mayor of the city of Medford for publicity or personal gain, but I am trying to fulfill these duties for the betterment of Medford and keep faith with those citizens who elected me.
"To the people of Medford: I am very much disturbed and shocked at the result of the election to exceed the 6 percent limitation of the City of Medford general fund budget by $66,510. This election was defeated by about 3 to 1 majority.
"The shocking part of this is not the defeat, but what it is going to mean to the citizens of Medford. Some 636 'no' votes out of approximately 9,000 registered voters in our city are controlling the operation of our city for the next fiscal year, which is not the majority expression of the people in my opinion. The $66,510 represents about 7.75 percent of the total year's expenditures for general fund purposes, which means the budget is now being revised to delete services and personnel of this growing city of ours. It is a patriotic duty to vote, and this proves to me what a disastrous thing can happen when good citizens don't vote. For I believe had the people exercised their American heritage this small increase would have passed by a large majority.
"As a result, the city of Medford must retard its progress. I believe this would be unnecessary had the voters exercised this voting privilege.
"I am accepting this defeat in somewhat of a personal way, and having served on the council for about seven years, I believed the people of Medford to be a progressive people. But when you understand what this has done to your city I think you will agree with me that we have made a great mistake in allowing this election to fail.
"As an example, we had a major fire Friday night in our downtown section, a fire which was a catastrophe in itself but could have been much worse if we failed to have the equipment and trained personnel to handle the situation. A lot of praise should be given Chief Barker and his men for a job well done. However, it took very nearly the entire force to handle the situation. Also we lost considerable equipment, which must be replaced in the immediate future. This department will have to be cut, along with the other departments, to pick up the necessary revenue to balance our budget. This should be a lesson to us, that we should be building up the departments instead of tearing them down. Think it over, my fellow citizens, and I believe you will agree with me.
Police Department Cut
"Your police department will [omission].
"Your airport is also going to be affected, and with the discontinuance of passenger train service the airport becomes more valuable to the citizens.
"Your cultural life will be affected also, for library funds for the purchase of new books will be curtailed.
"The street lighting program is to be brought to a standstill.
"Proposed traffic lights will have to be suspended.
"This is not the way a growing city can survive, and provide the necessary services that go to make Medford the town it is today. Let's stop and reconsider the facts and not let this happen again, and don't complain too loud if these departments can't give the services expected during the next fiscal year, for you will have the opportunity then perhaps to vote again.
"I would like to remind the people of Medford that as mayor and a citizen I am just as tax-conscious as anyone else and am interested in making a tax dollar go as far as possible. I believe that your city is just as well or better managed and better serviced for every tax dollar spent than any other city in the Pacific Northwest of comparable size.
"I would like to add that our tax dollars have to be divided up with different local bodies, namely schools, county and city. In my opinion there should be an equalization board set up to determine the fair share of each in order that we might have a balanced situation. I believe if this board could be created the public would be better informed as to the needs and expenditures of each body. Therefore, they would have better control and keep a better balance without becoming competitive for the tax dollar."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1955, page 3
Medford in 1970
No one really knows what Medford will be like ten years from now.
But we heard one educated guess the other night, when Mayor John Snider, half humorously and half in dead earnest, made his own forecast for Medford in the year 1970.
Mayor Snider, in our view, has been an unusual chief executive. He has combined vision with practicality, a determination to forge ahead with an amazing ability to get along with people, and a personal reticence with a talent, almost a genius, for quite leadership.
His forecast was made during the first annual "Living Report" of the city administration and departments.
The meeting, which was attended by 65 city officials, members of unpaid boards, committees and commissions, and others interested in the city, provided probably the best overlook of what the city is and does than has ever before been presented here.
We wish the audience could have been 100 times as large. And thought is being given to make this annual event a larger affair next year, in larger accommodations, and inviting all citizens of the city who wish to hear and see the people who have been elected and appointed to serve them.
It was an impressive and reassuring meeting.
Anyway, here are the major portions of the mayor's 10-year look ahead:
"As elected and appointed city officials, we have a responsibility to furnish services at a minimum cost to taxpayers. During the next 10 years, urban growth will be staggering, and the demands for service will be without precedent.
"Let's look at what is expected of us and forecast a few of the things to be accomplished:
1970--40,850 (a city the size of Salem).
"In order to keep pace and provide the services demanded, the city's employees will increase in some proportion to the growth. Where we now have 189 employees, including water department, we will probably count 292 people--40 policemen now, 62 in 1970; 37 firemen now, 58 then. These numbers could be drastically increased by reduction in hours and shifts.
"The 10-year through street program will have been completed in 1967, and a new program will be inaugurated to implement the city's master plan for development. Underpasses or overpasses will be constructed at 10th Street and the Southern Pacific tracks, and possibly at Jackson Street.
"All the city streets will be paved (including East Main).
"Runways at the Medford Municipal Airport will be extended to provide for jet plane service, keeping Medford an important part of the nation's skyways.
"A new city hall will be constructed alongside of the (new) federal building in the proposed civic center adjacent to the Library Park.
"A new public safety building will be added. A new fire station will be constructed in the northern part of the city.
"Air pollution will be solved, and all days will be bright.
"Bear Creek will be clean again, and many parks will grace its banks.
"Garbage disposal will all be done by sanitary landfill method, building up waste land as the process continues.
"An industrial park development will be made and several light industries satisfactorily located.
"White City will continue to expand by heavy industrial development.
"The wisdom of the city's master plan for development for the city and the metropolitan area will become manifest.
"A portion of the central city will be converted into a pedestrian mall. This will be landscaped, and it will become a focal point for shoppers. Vehicular traffic will be prohibited in the area. Adequate Park & Shop lots on the perimeter will provide adequate parking.
Parks and Playgrounds
"A system of parks and playgrounds will be provided around the schools in each neighborhood.
"A well-rounded recreation program will fill the leisure time of youths and adults alike.
"The Street Tree Committee's vision of beautiful streets will become a reality.
"Advertising signs will become more subdued and smaller.
"Will it happen this way?
"You bet it can, if we MAKE it happen this way.
"We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to pass on to them a bright, modern city, reasonably free of debt.
"We close . . . with sincere thanks that we live in a community so endowed with bright, enthusiastic, dedicated people such as yourselves."
We like the mayor's forecast. May it come true.--E.A. [Eric Allen, Jr.]
Medford Mail Tribune, February 14, 1960, page 4
Ex-Medford Mayor Believes Prospects Bright for FutureEarl C. Gaddis, the dean of Medford mayors, believes that Medford's prospects for the future are bright--as long as the city keeps from overdoing any one thing.
By GREG NOKES
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
Gaddis, still spry and alert at 81, speaks from experience. He was a mayor and city councilman here during the worst financial crisis in the city's history. The crisis started in 1912 when the bottom fell out of an orchard speculation-inspired boom.
Gaddis was elected to the city council in 1919, and to the mayoralty post four years later. It was during this period that the city was scheduled to pungle up nearly $1½ million to repay bonds that had been floated by the city during the boom years.
It was over-speculation in the fruit industry that caused that financial collapse, and Gaddis fears a recurrence [of] the crisis should the city and valley ever overextend themselves in one particular facet of their economy.
Gaddis, the oldest living ex-mayor of Medford, is now retired and lives alone at 815 East Jackson St. He was asked to relate several highlights of his term of office as a part of the Mail Tribune's recognition of the city's completion last Thursday of 75 years as an incorporated city.
Gaddis is one of four past mayors who are still living. The others are George Porter (mayor 1934-37), H. S. Deuel (mayor 1941-43) and Earl Miller (mayor 1955-57). Miller is now Jackson County judge.
All in One Building
When Gaddis was mayor, the city hall, fire station and police department were all located in a two-story building at Sixth and Front sts.
Gaddis recalls that in his first year on the city council, it met more than 100 times to try and work out some solution to the city's financial problems. (The city council now meets only 24 times a year.)
Much of the blame for the financial collapse, according to Gaddis, rested with the promoters of the Rogue Valley in those days.
He explained that these promoters would send advertisements all over the country and hold special exhibitions in the East, which led to the false impression that money could be made overnight in the orchard business.
Flock to City
Easterners flocked to the city and purchased thousands of acres of orchard property. Many bought sight unseen. In a period of about three years, from 1909 to 1911, the city's population jumped from slightly over 2,000 to nearly 12,000. [In 1905 the Medford Mail estimated the population at 2500; the official Census count for 1910 was 8,840, which boosters disputed as too low.] It was during this time that the city floated nearly $1½ million in bonds to finance extensive street, sewer and water improvements.
But when the speculators in orchard property discovered that they would have to wait at least seven years before they could make any money on their crops, they left. It wasn't long before the city's population dropped to [fewer] than 6,000 people.
By the time Gaddis joined the city administration in 1919, things were so bad that the city had to borrow $40,000 just to pay its own back taxes on property it owned.
Regarding the bonded indebtedness, Gaddis said the city elected to consolidate its debts and then refinance them with a certain amount to be paid off each year. It was the only answer at the time, he said.
As a result of the financial trouble caused by bonds prior to and during his administration, Gaddis said a charter amendment was adopted by the people requiring that all bonds be serial bonds. In other words, a certain amount had to be paid off each year. This amendment is still in effect.
But finances were not the only problem facing the city during those days. There was also a need for a new water supply, Gaddis recalls.
It was in 1923, during Gaddis' first year as mayor, that a move was started to get Big Butte Springs water into Medford. Eventually funds were voted for the first gravity water line from the springs and construction started in 1925, with the line being completed two years later.
It was during this same period that Medford City Manager Robert A. Duff first came to the city to work as a draftsman in the city water department.
Under Gaddis, the city's first board of water commissioners and first planning commission were established. Gaddis appointed the first members to both.
These two things--the getting into shape of the city's finances, and the beginnings of the Big Butte Springs water system--are regarded by Gaddis to be the "crowning features" of his term of office with the city. Gaddis does not pretend to take full credit for these, however, and points out that they were realized only after a lot of hard work by a lot of people.
Gaddis' service with the city did not end in 1925 when he retired as mayor. (He did not seek reelection.) The next mayor appointed Gaddis to the water commission and he served there until 1930. Since then, as a private citizen, he has made it a point to know what is going on and why it is going on.
He said the city could never have made it through those years of crisis as well as it did, had it not been for the "100 percent all the way" backing of the people of the city. When those hard times were past, he said, the people "were ready and eager to go on to bigger and better things."
Medford Mail Tribune, February 28, 1961, page 4B
Medford Will Continue to Be Progressive Community--Snider
"I would like to predict that Medford will continue to be a happy, healthy, progressive community in which to live, play and raise a family," Mayor John Snider declared yesterday after giving Kiwanis Club members a forward look into 1962.
Snider outlined a long list of projects the city administration hopes to accomplish during the coming year. The mayor and Don McNeil, secretary-manager of [the] Medford Chamber of Commerce, addressed the noon luncheon of Kiwanis at the Rogue Valley Country Club.
McNeil spoke on the "image" of Medford, the community "as others see us." He stressed the need for the businessman to talk with confidence in his community and to "talk facts with pride."
Mayor Snider said that under the master plan development, the administration hopes to adopt a land use plan, modernize the zoning ordinance, complete the central business district study, complete the public buildings study and adopt a park plan. He remarked that some, or many, of the projected objectives "will be of direct interest to you, your family and your business."
Other objectives under the master plan are to participate with the county and other cities of the Bear Creek basin in a major street plan, consider a community renewal program and consider establishment of a planning department for the city.
Accomplishments under the federal assistance program at the airport, the mayor stated, are installation of a wind tee to replace the outdated tetrahedron, extend the ramp to accommodate additional gate positions for airlines and aircraft parking, taxiway development, general cleanup and additional lighting on automobile parking areas. He indicated that the administration would proceed with steps necessary toward extension of runways to handle jet traffic, but pointed out that jet takeoffs of the future may be straight up rather than straight ahead.
Under general administration, Mayor Snider said that goals are adoption of a modern charter and an administrative code.
Parks and Recreation
Included in 1962 parks and recreation planning, Snider reported, are completion of the basic developments at Jackson School park, development of plans for redevelopment of Hawthorne Park, completion of Earhart Park, development of plans for Jefferson School park (a Junior Chamber of Commerce project), expanded recreational programming, landscaping projects and completion of a plan pointing to current and future needs.
Intended public works projects, the mayor pointed out, include a number of proposed street construction objectives. They are extension of Barnett Rd. from Riverside Ave. to Holly St., widening of South Riverside from Ninth to Boyd sts., a possible cooperative plan for rebuilding gutters in the central business district, rebuilding and widening of Jackson St. to 44 feet from Crater Lake Ave. to Marie St., extension of Siskiyou Blvd. from Tenth to Willamette sts., extension of Highland Dr., and paving by assessment of Monroe St. from Grape to Holly St., Plum St. from Winchester St. to an undesignated point and Corona Ave. from Grandview Ave. to Morrow Rd.
Sanitary sewer objectives are development of a comprehensive sewer plan, Rogue Valley Estates work, a Bear Creek lateral, Springbrook Rd. and Delta Waters Rd. work and possible projects in the southwest area.
Storm sewer projects include ones on Morrow Rd. and Woodland and Highland drs., from Welch to Clark sts., in the alleys of the central business district and on Jackson St. from Central Ave. to Bear Creek.
Among general projects are proposed parking under the freeway and Bear Creek bank protections between Cottage and Jackson sts.
The mayor reported that the latest information indicates that the Seven Oaks to Barnett Rd. section of the freeway will be completed and opened by next fall, making freeway travel possible all the way from Medford to Portland. Completion of the Barnett to Ashland section is targeted for 1963.
Look at Ourselves
McNeil said that "we ought to take a new look at our community." He advocated stepping "outside ourselves" to take this look. The chamber manager remarked that if a businessman can answer in the affirmative as to whether he made the right move in location here, "you've joined the club."
When talking the facts, McNeil advised, admit problems, but point out that they are being worked out. He spoke of the need to have an "enemy," for instance some other city, to develop competition.
McNeil pointed out that the tremendous highway development, the new retirement home, the new television station, the new hospital wing, the park and shop plan, "the best school system in the state," the livable quality of the area and the closeness of recreational opportunities contribute to the Medford image that people from outside the area see. He mentioned the Mail Tribune as an effective means of presenting this community's image.
Not One-Industry Town
The chamber manager challenged the idea that this is a one-industry town. He said that people who look closely see diversification and that the community is diversifying more rapidly than is realized.
Discussing what the chamber of commerce is doing to "brighten the image," McNeil pointed to the fine array of factual data which has been prepared for and by the chamber. He said that the chamber this year mailed out 40,000 pieces of literature to answer inquiries. He brought out that several pieces of this literature were often necessary to answer one query. McNeil told of the joint program with Josephine County, and he noted a survey which indicated that 50 to 60 percent of the persons who wrote for information wound up in the Rogue Valley and spent an average of five vacation days.
The chamber man spoke also of a Welcome Wagon count of 166 new families who took up permanent residence in Medford and vicinity in September, October and November.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 28, 1961, page 3
Medford's Mayor Reflects on 12 Years of City Service
By BOB LICHTI
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
"I think one of the accomplishments which felt most gratifying was retaining the service of United Air Lines at the local airport," retiring Medford mayor James J. Dunlevy said in an interview recently, still recuperating from a bout with the flu which turned into double pneumonia.
Dunlevy was reflecting on his 12 years of service to the city of Medford, six of those being spent on the city council and six as Medford's mayor.
He added that he alone was not responsible for keeping UAL in the valley, but that it was a cooperative effort among various organizations and agencies.
Discussing other satisfying accomplishments of city government during his tenure in office, Dunlevy said one was "entering into agreement with the county for joint management of the Medford-Jackson County Airport." He also cited the arterial street program and the expansion of the fire department.
Reflecting on arterial street development, Dunlevy was especially pleased with the Barnett Road and Tenth Street projects.
Crusaded for Road"I made Barnett Road a crusade after working at KYJC and driving in and out of there all the time. And then when a high school boy was killed on that road, whose family I knew personally, it spotlighted for me the importance of immediate action," he explained.
When asked to think of endeavors upon which he would have liked to have seen more accomplished or completed during the years spent as a city official, the retiring mayor replied wistfully as he stared out at the golf course, "I would have liked to have seen more rapid development of this Bear Creek Park system."
"Shortly after being elected to the city council, we faced one of the most controversial votes I can remember," Dunlevy said, when asked to cite some of his most outstanding memories concerning local government action.
"The issue was the route of Interstate 5 through Medford. One suggestion was to follow Bear Creek and the other was to go through the western foothills of the valley. The vote from the councilmen was 4-4, and Mayor Snider had to break the tie."
Tie-Breaking VotesUpon mentioning tie-breaking votes, Dunlevy began to discuss some of the "pitfalls of the mayor's position in breaking tie votes. When people got mad at me for the way I voted in breaking a tie vote, all they could do was drop out of the country club. But businessmen could lose accounts when they voted their conscience."
He added that he was not only thinking of the mayor voting in case of a tie, but of reaction to the councilmen's votes as well.
And one could not help but notice the sadness in his voice as he spoke of losing "good friends" during his years of public service because of voting or making decisions as his conscience dictated.
"One of my most difficult assignments," he recalled, "was working with the selection committee to replace city manager Robert Duff at his retirement. This required a screening of 63 qualified applicants."
Seek AdviceDiscussing the role of the city manager in formulating policy, Dunlevy emphasized, "When it comes to policy-making, the average elected official is required to seek advice and counsel from the professional staff members. You definitely need the advice of people who are trained in city administration."
Dunlevy said passage of the bond issue for construction of the new city hall was a surprise to him.
"It was intended to be more of a trial balloon, but it went over because of the well-organized campaign conducted by the committee which worked on the project."
Referring to his role as mayor, Dunlevy indicated that basically his "background was public relations and promotion."
"And any endeavors in this line were in the best interests of the community rather than individual or specific business interest," he added.
"Crackpot Letters"Asked to relate a humorous event which happened during his tenure, the retiring mayor chuckled and immediately responded, "crackpot letters."
"I have received several letters and phone calls from some fellow who thinks there is oil and valuable minerals here beneath the valley floor. He says he is accumulating millions of dollars for exploration purposes.
"He calls me on the average of about once a month from somewhere in California," Dunlevy recalled.
"Perhaps the most gratifying experience of the 12 years has been the opportunity of meeting and working with the city employees and the many dedicated citizens who have served on the various committees and commissions. I extend grateful appreciation to all who have helped me in the past 12 years," he concluded.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 6, 1969, page 11
December 16, 1986
Since the December 18 council meeting will be my last official duty as Mayor, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the cooperation and support given to me. Thanks are also in order for all the other council members that I have served with over the past ten years.
In recent years the council has worked together in a spirit of cooperation to provide direction to our staff to keep expenses as low as possible while still providing necessary services and upgrading the city as a place to live.
I am very encouraged by the results of our working together over the past several years and express thanks to our fine staff headed by City Manager John Thomson. Together, Mayor, council and staff, we have been a good team, and I am proud to have been a part of it.
It seems appropriate to recall a few of the actions that helped bring us to our present high level of management and expense control.
Ten years ago we were undermanned in both fire and police. One fire station was closed three days per week, and the police force was well below standard for our population. This situation has been corrected in both departments.
Budget controls and audit reports included several pages of exceptions. Those of you who worked with budgets several years ago will remember how difficult, or impossible, it was to know how money was being spent, and therefore difficult to provide proper policy guidelines. Today the budget document provides good information and is very helpful in guiding policy decisions.
Audit reports are excellent, and our fiscal reports have won national awards.
After several years of uncertainty and discussion, we have a new regional sewer agreement that permitted us to proceed with the expansion of our water quality control plant, which will provide adequate capacity for several years and handle a considerable amount of commercial and industrial expansion.
The new McAndrews Street overpass is now in use and was completed four months ahead of schedule and within budget estimate.
By participating in a federal government experiment with a traffic control system, we have received a million dollars worth of equipment to replace our old equipment at a cost to the City of $75,000. If not for this project, the City would have had to replace all the old equipment at local tax expense.
Last year we celebrated our 100th anniversary with a year-long activity that involved several hundred volunteers and [was] enjoyed by thousands. It was entirely self-supporting and did not use any tax dollars.
This has taken place while the City has grown from a population of less than 35,000 to nearly 43,000. Street miles have increased by 39 percent, sanitary sewer miles by 23 percent, storm drains by 49 percent and developed park areas by 65 percent. Since [the] 1980-81 fiscal year we have actually decreased our staff.
It is for these and other examples that give me reason to believe that we have succeeded in providing necessary services at low cost through strong management and budget controls.
This has truly been a team success, and I leave the team with the hope that you will continue the high level of cooperation and mutual support.
Thanks and best wishes to all of you on the council and staff.
Last revised June 28, 2023