Medford in 1922

Medford, Ore.--Alt. 1,399. Pop. 5,756. To Portland 329 miles. To San Francisco 442 miles. Here the valley is twelve miles wide. Medford is the fruit shipping center of southern Oregon. Its prize apples and pears have long brought record prices in eastern and foreign markets. Medford is an attractive and modern city, with substantial business houses and public buildings, good hotels and handsome residences and is the northern entrance to Crater Lake National Park, which is reached by auto stages.
Southern Pacific Company, Wayside Notes Along Shasta Route, January 30, 1922

    Medford is the paradise of carpetbaggers. In recent years most of our officials have been newcomers or those whose residence was of short duration before induction into office. Formerly local office holders were chosen from well-known men who had by sufficient domicile and square dealing commended themselves for positions of public trust. In those days officials sometimes made mistakes, but were never accused, and rarely even suspected, of grafting.
    The reign of the plunderbund began with the advent of George Putnam and the Mail Tribune in Medford. Editor Putnam was a rank stranger when he assumed community leadership. He was discovered and induced to come to this city by Dr. J. F. Reddy, himself a recent accession from Spokane.
    Reddy was immediately elected mayor and may be said to have inaugurated "the boom." Several of the councilmen had been in the town scarcely long enough to  acquire citizenship, and the city attorney, Holbrook Withington, was of Portland origin, recently naturalized in the Hub City.
    The Mail Tribune nominated and elected whomsoever it pleased. As successor to Reddy it cast the mantle of mayor upon W. H. Canon, a late emigrant from Wisconsin, of whom it has been said, "He began running for office before he got his breeches off in Medford and has been holding office ever since." As his city attorney Porter J. Neff of Duluth was appointed before he was here hardly long enough to qualify. "And Neff and Canon paved the town."
    Since then the Canon regime and its successors and assigns have by close communion kept municipal affairs so completely covered up that the citizens are grossly ignorant of the real financial conditions. Some time ago we were informed that the city exchequer was in bad shape, which fact, of course, every thinking person knew. Fearing the local attorneys might get wise to some of the stunts of financing, past and present, the city council imported another carpetbagger, Colonel Hansen, to "finance" the city.
    Just how well Hansen financed it no one seems to know, nor to what extent he and his associates were "financed" for the service rendered. The city records have never been checked over by an expert accountant since long before that time. The people know in a general way that Medford has a bonded debt of more than a million dollars, drawing six percent interest. The accrued interest has, no doubt, been liquidated, but the present council has run the town further into debt, just how much is unknown. From figures obtainable The Clarion has approximated this increase at fifty-odd thousand dollars. It may be more; not likely it is less.
    Everyone knows that the water system has brought into the city treasury an immense sum--hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the correct amount is not known, and the use made of the money is only surmised. Up to 1916 proceeds from the water fund were diverted to other funds. It is known that the water works have been allowed to deteriorate and the supply to become less by many millions of gallons during each season. It is also known that the money income to the city has largely increased especially since the water rent was increased to consumers.
    But facts and figures have never been supplied to the public. It is not known how many lots John Carkin has sold nor how much the city received for them. The people would like to know how many houses and lots Mr. Carkin's wife purchased from the city and what she paid for them, whether less than other persons offered.
    In fact the people of Medford are entitled to know somewhat of this close corporation they have been keeping up by assessments and taxes that may very correctly be called robbery.
    But will they be informed? It seems not. Apparently the plunderbund have picked out as the future successor and assign one B. F. Lindas, another carpetbagger, as mayor. Lindas blew into this city a few months ago, and seems well qualified as heir apparent to the throne of King Ganon. He is alleged to be a preacher-lawyer-journalist-boxing director. When business gets slack in these lines he engages in politics. When politics lull he keeps in the limelight by filing libel suits in his own behalf. Lindas may be a corn on the toe of providence, a wart on the nose of time, but he will make a good mayor of Medford--for the gang.
Medford Clarion, August 25, 1922, page 8

Last revised December 28, 2021