Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, September 10, 1901, Page 8, Image 8

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Fuel Problem, Columbia River Sen
port and Drjrdoclc, Fair of 1I)03,
Geer on, "Population.
(Continued from First Page.)
with a railroad. There Is hardly a coun
ty In Oregon that cannot show some evi
dence of coal formation. On the Wash
ington side of the Columbia exceptionally
rich prospects are reported from, the Cow
litz River region. The work of opening
mines and providing transportation facil
ities for at least three of the properties In
that section is now under way; and It is
said that a good, cheap coal from those
mines will be in the Portland market be
fore the end of this year. Anthracite coal
the first known on the Pacific Coast is
said to have been discovered in the moun
tains near the head of the Cowlitz River.
Specimens shown certainly look well and
burn well, and, on chemical analysis,
show as high per cent of carbon as the
best Pennsylvania product. But in weight
this coal will not compare with the Penn
sylvania anthracite, and the value of the
measures remains to be proved. Should
they turn out to be all that they are
said to be, and of adequate extent, their
value to Portland, to the entire Pacific
Northwest, -will be incalculable.
Most Pacific Coast coal is lignite. This is
true of all the discoveries yet made In
Oregon and Washington, unless the Upper
Cowlitz measures shall prove to be of
higher grade. It is not bo greatly com
pressed, of course, aa anthracite is, nor
is it ordinarily so rich a fuel as bitumin
ous coal, therefore it is not so desirable
for steamships, on which storage space is
an element of considerable importance.
Some of the coal now mined ranks as
eeml-bltuminous, and several prospects re
cently discovered are of that character,
but how extensive these beds are remains
for the future to determine. It has been
found that in well-developed mines there
is a vast difference in the quality of the
coal obtained from, different seams, or
even from different parts of the same
seam, and the tendency is to regard alt
Pacific Coast coal as Ilgnitic until there
shall be conclusive evidence to change
this belief or theory. There is no occa
sion, however, to find fault with the lig
nltlc character of our coal measures, for
good lignite is a good fuel and would sup
ply certain needs of Portland very well.
The absence of soot makes it a much
cleaner fuel than bituminous coal. But
we want a better lignite than is now in
this market if we can get it. It is certain
that some of the recent discoveries in
Portland's field are of coal better than
any now mined in the Pacific Northwest.
This is the coal we want in the Portland
market, and it must be sold here at a
reasonable price if it is to afford the re
lief that is expected to result from cheap
Xavy Yard Tests.
According to chemical analysis made at
the United States Navy-Yard, Washington,
D. C, the Blue Canyon coal of "Whatcom
X'ounty, Washington, runs 62.74 per cent
iixed carbon, and nearly SO per cent com
bustible gases. Franklin coal, of King
County, varies from 1G.CC to 57.5S per cent
nxed carbon and from 30.3 to 33.8 per cent
combustible gases. In ash the Franklin
coal ranges from 3 to 15 per cent. Roslyn
coal is 50 to 34.5 per cent carbon and 30
to 32 per cent combustible gases. The
Rock Springs, Wyo., coal runs 53 per cent
carbon and 33 per cent combustible gases,
'lhe Pocahontas coal, of Virginia, which
the United States Navy puts far in the
lead for steaming purposes, has 80 per
-cent carbon and 13.5 per cent combustiblo
gases, while the C&nmore coal, of Alberta,
:&nada. is 86 per cent carbon and D.7 per
cent combustible gases. In all these cases
the specimens were taken from -well-developed
mines. Samples from outerop
pmgs or mere prospect holes would not
"be expected to make so favorable a show
ing1 as those picked from the Interior of
a working mine. It should be added that
the navy-yard analyses, "whether because
of more" careful selection of samples or
from some other cause, give higher val
ues than the United States geological sur
vey and higher than most chemists find.
Coos Bay coal, which has been mined
since 1855 and never lacked a market. Is
only 42 per cent fixed carbon and 32.5 per
cent combustible gases. Newcastle coal,
mined near Seattle, is 43.9 per cent fixed
carbon and 46 per. cent volatile matter
There is plenty of coal on the market
that assays less than 50 per cent fixed
carbon, the amount of volatile combustible
matter being an important part of the
richness of the fuel. Sulphur, which is
present to some extent In all mineral coaj,
is objectionable because of its destructlve
ness to gratings. It melts and runs down
on the grate bars,cllnglng to the iron and
-accumulating heat that soon burns out the
grate. This difficulty is experienced,
however, only -when the quantity of sul
phur is sufficient to form clinkers.
"While coal outcropplngs are numerous
in Oregon, in comparatively few instances
lias work enough been done to determine
the value of the seam. In a number of
places, as In Clackamas County, the coal
is of good quality, but the strata are so
thin that it is impracticable to work them.
In other -cases it bas been taken for
granted that the coal -was of inferior qual
ity because the surface outcrop was poor,
and no attempt has been made properly to
test "the discovery. In the Upper John
Day Valley blacksmiths have dug their
own coal for years, but the known seams
are too thin, and transportation lines too
remote to -warrant an attempt to open
coal mines there. Blacksmith's coal will
make good coke. In the southern part
of Morrow and Umatilla Counties and in
the mountains -west of La -Grande Investi
gation of -promising outcropplngs is now
in progress. More Intelligent examination
of coal prospects is under way today than
has been known In Oregon heretofore, and
it is bardly possible that all this will turn
out fruitless.
It was but a ferw weeks ago that coal
was discovered near North Tamlllll,
-which, upon chemical analysis, was found
to bo 49.2 -3er cent :flxed carbon and 2S per
cent combustible volatile matter. The
seam is nearly seven feet thick. This was
an exceedingly good showing- and war
ranted immediate operations to open a
mine and put the coal on the market. A
corporation was -organized and it has
leased 2000 acres or more of land and Is
now at -work on the property, -which is but
a short distance from the Southern "Pacific
Railroad. Good coal at a reasonable price
is promised from this mine -within CO days.
In tlie Nenalem Country.
In the Nehalem. Valley are two distinct
coal ilelds one near the mouth of the
river and the other on the upper course
of the stream, apparently reaching1
through the divide to the Columbia River
on one side and toward the "Willamette
Valley on the other. The Lower Neha
lem coal assays 48 84 per cent fixed car
bon and 39-2S per -oent combustible gases.
Three seams are found there, 27, 33 and 40
inches in thickness, respectively, each in
creasing rapidly in thickness as depth, or
distance from the surface, is attained.
About 58000 have been spent -in prospect
ing that property, and only transporta
tion facilities are now lacking to insure
the opening of mines there. If the Port
land', wehalom & Tillamook Railroad en
terprise shall succed there is no doubt
that the Nehalem coal will be in the
Portland market. The Upper Nehalem
coal field is less thoroughly prospected
than that, of the Lower Nehalem, but
enough has been done there to show the
existence of workable scams as rich as
those at the lower end of the valley. The
large per cent of sulphur in this coal is
rather unfavorable, but It is said fhe pro
portion ef -this mineral diminishes as depth
is attained. Lack of transportation ham
pers development there, as it does in so
many other parts of the state. On the
Willamette side of the divide several out
cropplngs of-coal -have been found, but no
steps have been taken to open mines
there. To the northeast, on the Columbia
side, however, measures have been un
covered in the Scappoose hills, about eight
miles from Warren railroad station, and
the work of opening a mine there is now
in progress. Chemical analysis of this
coal shows it to have 35 per cent fixed
carbon and about the same proportion of
volatile matter. At Warren this coal
would find direct rail or water transporta
tion to market, and steamships would take
their supplies of fuel from bunkers erected
at that point. This seam is six feet
thick, and Is said to give every indica
tion of an extensive mine of merchantable
coal. What is supposed to. be a continua
tion of the same coal field is observed in
outcropplngs near Knappa, in Clatsop
County, where borings to determine the
nature and extent of the seams are now in
progress. Two coal measures have been
found within 90 feet of the surface, but
the owners of this property mean to go
down deep in the earth, perhaps to a depth
of 2000 feet. They believe better coal may'
be found at lower depths, and they will
test their theory in their prospecting op
erations. The Knappa Coal Company, of
which Frank P. Kendall, of Astoria, la
president, is the owner of the coal land
about Knappa, and Is conducting present
operations there. From the mouth of the
prospect hole coal can b'e shunted direct
to bunkers of steamships in the river.
On the north side of the Columbia Is a
particularly promising coal field, and
something of a spirit of rivalry is ob
served In operations now carried on there
to open several properties. The Columbia
Coal Company, successor to the Castle
Rock Coal Company, has more than 1200
feet of tunnel driven on a coal seam that
outcrops about two and one-quarter miles
from the town of Castle Rock, which
is on tho Cowlitz River about 17
miles above its confluence with the Co
lumbia. Steamers ply on the Cowlitz
more than nine months of the year. The
Northern Pacific track lies within one
and one-half miles of this mine, and a
logging railroad Is now in operation to a
point but half a mile distant from the
mouth of the mine. It Is an easy de
scending grade from the mine to the rail
road or the river. The company has 840
acres of land and more than $35,000 have
been spent in development and Improve
ments. A tunnel 700 feet long and a lat
eral gangway 500 feet long are securely
timbered, supplied with ventilating boxes,
laid with rails and equipped with dump
ears. All this development Is in coal 4
to 7 feet in thickness. It is a brown
lignite, assaying 34.6 per cent fixed car
bon and 51.S per cent combustlle gases.
This indicates that it would be a good
coal to produce illuminating gas. It has
been tested in stoves, grates and furnaces
and found to burn with a pale blue flame,
producing a small volume of smoke and
leaving no clinkers whatever. Work has
now been resumed at this mine after the
settlement of legal difficulties that have
kept It closed for a number of years, and
It is promised that its coal will be In the
Portland market before the end of the
Good Conl for Steamers.
Not far from the mine of the Columbia
Coal Company some other Portland men
have another mine that yields coal of
proved value for steaming purposes.
Some 50 tons of this coal were taken out
and tested on O. R & N. steamers, and it
gave excellent results. It is a high-grade
lignite, assaying 46.9 per cent fixed car
bon and 35.6 per cent volatile matter. This
coal has fine luster and deteriorates slowly
after mining. There is said to be a large
body of this coal ready to put In the mar
ket as soon as transportation shall be pro
vided. A year or two ago the Holmes Ice
Company, of Portland, opened a mine near
Castle Rock and shipped several barge
loads of coal to Portland, where It found
a ready market. But navigation of the
Cowlitz River was then too uncertain to
be depended upon, and railroad- charges
were too high to permit shipping that way,
so the operation of the mine was discon
tinued until circumstances should be more
Justhelow the mouth of the Cowlitz,
near a'-riavlgable slough of the Columbia
River, are two valuable coal properties,
one of which belongs to a party of busi
ness men of The Dalles, and the other to
Portland men. The Dalles men are now
prosecuting work on their property and
they already have a large body of ex
cellent coal in sight, coal that runs 46
per cent fixed carbon and about 36 per
cent volatile matter. The Portland men
having the other property have become
Impressed with the notion that oil is the
coming fuel in this region, and they have
stopped "work on the coal mine until the
oil possibilities of the country shall be
ascertained. Both these mines are within
three miles of navigable water on the
Columbia, which means the cheapest pos
sible means of transportation to the Port
land market.
Within the past two years reports of the
discovery of coal of extravagant richness
have come out from the mountains about
the upper courses of the east branch of
the Cowlitz River. Splendid specimens
have b.een exhibited and statements have
been made tliat chemical analysis showed
this coal to be a high-grade anthracite,
running up to 95 per cent or higher in
fixed carbon. Pennsylvania anthracite
seldom yields 95 per cent of carbon.
These prospects are away in the moun
tains far from any present transportation
route, and the investment necessary to
put the coal on the market would be
heavy. It Is understood that examina
tion of those promising measures Is still
in progress, and that if tliey shall be
found to warrant so extensive a develop
ment enterprise as would be required to
open mines and transport the coal to
market, a company will be organized and
an attempt made to enlist capital In the
project. Such coal as this is said to be,
and at a reasonable price, would be a
greater industrial and commercial stimu
lant than this city has yet known. It
would be a complete solution of the fuel
problem as it is now presented here.
The coal field at the mouth of the Grand
Ronde River is extensive; the seam is said
to be as thick as 20 feet In some places,
and the coal is a good quality of lignite.
Undoubtedly a great mass of acceptable
fuel is there to be drawn on at some fu
ture time, but its inaccessibility takes It
out of present consideration. Granite Is
also found in that locality and Iron "and
copper are not far away, and these prod
ucts together with the general business
of the region, may induce the building of
a railroad oeiore many years snail pass.
It Is now possible to float that coal down
the Snake River on rafts, but there is a
limit to this method of transportation, and
no extensive development of coal mines
will be tied to such conditions.
Coal Witliln Ensy Reach.
There is coal in plenty w ithin easy reach
of Portland, and its. quality is such as to
make it acceptable for domestic uses and
for stationary power plants. With care
in firing this coal may be used on steam
ships and locomotives, but it is not all that
could be desired for such purposes. Its
situation Is such that' it ought tp be deliv
ered at low cost In Portland and sold
at a moderate price. But a ton of this
coal can hardly be depended on to do
more work than a cord of oak wood, par
ticularly after allowing for the inevitable
deterioration by storage, and low price
Is Indispensable to the general use of
coal as fuel in this community. Just the
fuel that is needed for ocean steamships
would be supplied by the coal that is said
to have been found in the mountains of
Cowlitz County. That would supplement
the lignites and round out our fuel sup
ply to perfection. Without it we can get
along as well as other parts of the Pacific
Coast do. with it Portland's advantage
would be unapproachable.
It is very desirable that a good coking
coal should be found near Portland. Coke
is a necessity for smelting plants, foun
dries, etc., and it will not do to have too
much sulphur in it. Lignite will not pro
duce coke; Ir5 takes bituminous coal for
that. Expulsion of fhe volatile mat
ter leaves the carbon in a high
degree of purity, so that it pro
duces a Very hot fire without trou
blesome blaze, and is thus suited to melt
ing ores without introducing deleterious
substances. A fair quality of coke Is pro-
1 duced from some of the coal mined near
Puget Sound, and Coos Bay coal will coke
under favorable circumstances, but it Is
not regarded as a successful coking coal.
Some coal recently discovered In the Ne
halem Mountains, less than 60 miles from
Portland, yields an admirable coke, and if
the coal beds there shall prove to be all
fhe prospects indicate, they will be of
very great value to this city. Cheap coke
in Portland will mean a large smelting
plant and the centralizing of extensive
mining interests here. And coal that will
coke satisfactorily is also good fuel for
Industries that do not require coke.
A. R. Strachan, an expert mining man
who has been engaged for some time in
Oregon and Washington, says there is
plenty of good coal within 50 miles of
Portland, but it is down in the earth.
While he admits the value of some of the
numerous outcropplngs discovered in va
rious parts of the state, he says he is
convinced that the best coal Is down 500
to 2000 feet, and that It is of sufficient
merit to warrant going after. His opin
ion is that in those lower beds a good bi
tuminous coal will be found, and perhaps
In some places anthracite.
"My theory," said Mr. Strachan, "is
that there are five or six coal seams
through the Nehalem and Cowlitz regions,
where I have made numerous investiga
tions in the past four or five years. There
is no doubt in my mind that the lower
measures will yield good bituminous coal;
the upper measures are not so valuable,
and the top seam I would ignore alto
gether. I would not bother with surface
outcrops and the seams but a short dis
tance below the surface of the ground. In
the North of England, where I got my
training in coal mining, they go down 3000
to 4000 feet and find coal that Is unsur
passed, passing through seams of legs
value and doing nothing with them save,
perhaps, mining sufficient for fuel for the
mining plants and for domestic cosump
tlon In the homes of the operatives near at
hand. The good coal for shipment is ob
tained from the seams away deep in the
ground, where pressure, confinement and
age have ripened it. The same geological
condition, I believe, exists In Western
Oregon and Western Washington, and 1
am confident that superior coal may be
found here at a depth less than 2000 feet,
probably a good deal less.
"I was out with William Re!d, secretary
of the Portland, Nehalem & Tillamook
Railway Company, last week, and tested
some coal outcropplngs in the Nehalem
Mountains. We were able to get at the
edge of a seam, really the second seam
below the surface, as could be seen by
examining the hillside, and with a hand
pick we took off a chunk of coal from the
lower part of the seam. I put some of
this on an iron, underneath which I had
a good fire, and there In the open air
made as fine a specimen of coke as any
body would care to see. Coal that will
coke under those circumstances, when
there is every opportunity for free circu
lation of air to consume It to ashes, is
certainly good coking coal. With such a
showing at the surface, I am sure pene
tration a reasonable distance under the
surface will bring to light a superior fuel.
This must be done sooner or later.
The Geological Formation.
"The Nehalem coal field has suffered
much from violent washings away back
In the ages. It has not been so much dis
turbed bv volcanic action. For illustra
tion, adjoining hills will be found to be I
built up of strata of tne same Kino, aim m
the same order, tho valley between them
having been washed out by violent action
of water at some remote period. Of course,
there is also evidence of volcanic distur
bance, but that is not so great, and the
general dip of coal measures may be taken
as a guide to their location at consider
able distances from the place where they
outcrop. The strata of the Nehalem coun
try dip In a generally northwestern, direc
tion, passing under the Columbia River,
and extending an indefinite distance in the
State of Washington. Not all toe coal
of this Tegion is alike, some of the seams
in the Nehalem country being very in
ferior But in certain districts good out
crops of the upper veins have been found,
and it is upon these outcrops that I base
my judgment as to' the lower measures.
"I should think capitalists of Portland
would rather put some of their money
Ipto developing good coal mines where
the prospects are so promising than t'o be
continually putting it into buildings, that
bring but an indifferent return on the in
vestment. AVlrh an adequate coal supply,
new industries would spring up, Portland
would become a smelting center, and peo
ple would gather here and make these
buildings yield better returns. I estimato
that it will require an investment of be
tween $100,000 and $200,000 to open a coal
mine properly to a depth of, say, 2000
feet. Of course, merely a boring will de
termine whether coal is present, and to
show its quality may be made for a few
hundred dollars, not counting the first
cost of the drill.
"I do not placo much rellanco on chem
ical analyses. Practical tests are the
things. If a test shows that a coal will
coke, that settles It, and we know what
It will do, and one who Is experienced in
the business can tell the value of coke.
If, upon practical test, a coal proves to
be a sood fuel to produce steam without
excessive labor on the part of t'he stoker,
we know its value for that purpose. Chem
ical analysis will not determine these
matters fully, and it does us no good to
know what per cent of carbon or of vol
atile matfer or of moisture or sulphur a
certain specimen may bear. The test in
practical opeialions. not the chemist's fig
ures, determines the value of a fuel.
"What would do Portland moro good
than almost anything else just now would
be good bituminous coal at a low price.
It would do anything that any fuel could
do. It would be valuable in its natural
condition, and it would yield coke, which
has its special uses. Coke Is necessary
for smelting base oTes, and for foundries.
It may also be used to advantage for fuel
on steamships, for domestic purposes, and
even for producing steam for manufactur
ing plants and locomotives. It Is much
used on locomotives In England," where it
is mixed with coal for that purpose. Good
bituminous coal is the fuel Portland needs
most, and I am sure It may be had If
people will go about getting It In a proper
"manner. But they must go down Into the
earth for it."
On the whole It must be concluded
that t'he prospect of getting a supply of
coal accessible to Portland is very good.
This should now be the leading object of
fffort here. No other want is comparable
In Importance with this; no other under
taking Is so necessary to the growfh of
Portland and to the development of the
country of which Portland Is the business
and trade center. Coal will make Port
land the Industrial and shipping center
also; but without coal the handicap will
be heavy, and its weight will increase. In
any summing up of the prime needs of
Portland coal must have the first place
always coal. Distance of 50 or 100 miles,
or even a greater distance, is a small
mattei. To the coal the railroad jwill go.
In these times nothing budges without
Sentiments of Governor Geer
grnrdiiif? a Need of Oregon.
President Connell read the following let
ter accounting for the absence of Gover
nor Geer and outlining the Governor's
views regarding the desirability of in
creasing the wealth and glory of the state
by increasing its population:
Having been requested to attend a mass
meeting In Portland to consider questions
as, to how best to promote Immigration to
Oregon, to be held on the 11th inst., I
arranged my dates in conformity there
with, so that the change of the date to
the evening of the 9th Inst makes it
impossible for me to attend. I' beg to
assure you, however, that I recognize to
the fullest extent the importance of the
movement which this meeting Is Intended
to promote. For years I have in the
public press and elsewhere, repeatedly de
clared this to be the most Important lo
cal question that could engage our atten
tion. There is no state In the Union which
offers so many and varied Inducements to
those wanting to "grow up with a coun
try" as does Oregon, and certainty no
other state has such a promising future
before . it which is halting between a
primitive and a developed state solely for
a lack of enough people to make business
as has ourb. The day Is past when a
man can languidly say: "Oh, we've got
enough people," and get a respectful hear
ing. There is nothing makes a state but peo
ple, and, other things being equal, the
greater the number of the people, the
greater the state. There can be named
scarcely a great Industry that Is success
fully carried on in any one of the states
north of Mason and Dixon's line that
cannot in time be a prominent and paying
business In Oregon. It will have no ten
dency, whatever, to deceive any man liv
ing elsewhere to say that Oregon has a
greater variety of undeveloped resources
than any other state in the Union. In
other words, "If put to it," this state could
probably support a larger population with
out the importation of a single article of
human consumption, with a less degree
of inconvenience, than any other which
might be named.
People alone constitute the difference
between a wilderness and a prosperous
state. So far as we know, Oregon had
not changed perceptibly in a thousand
years Immediately preceding the advent
of white men, a few decades ago. The
man tybo travels through New York or
Ohio or Illinois will readily see, by the
difference between the business aspects of
those states, as compared with ours, the
needs of Oregon. People alone make busi
ness, and people alone make markets for
the products of farm and factory. It
should not be necessary to discuss so
plain a proposition.
As the principal business center of the
state, Portland should take the initiative
In the matter of advertising our needs
and our promises. Indeed, Portland should
not for a single year ever have lagged tn
this matter. The growth of Portland
means a corresponding benefit to every
portion of the state, since the cities fur
efr. .,
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9. There can be no doubt but what the
sterling worth of Oregon timber is recognized the world over. This
fact Is unmistakably attested by a recent report to the State Depart
ment from Consul-General J. G. Stowe, of Cape Town, South Africa.
He saS's that the lumber trade of South Africa for the past year has
,been highly gratifying, and that the United States has had the bulk.
"The lumber Is principally Oregon pine," he adds. At the date of his
report, July 13, 12 American sailing vessels were awaiting discharge
at the Cape Town wharves. His only regret is that most of the
American lumber shipped to South Africa has to be carried in foreign
The remarkable showing of the American lumber trade is all the
more pleasing, he says, in view of the fact that trade with the United
States, on the whole, shows a decided falling off for the past year.
nlsh the principal markets for produce,
and the greater the number of large cities
and the larger the cities, the greater the
home consumption. It must be a revela
tion to travelers through our state to see
within a mile of the corporate limits of
the City of Portland the beginning of
thousands of acres of the most productive
lands in the United States yet covered
with brush that can be cheaply and quick
ly cleared for the uses of the husband
man. And this state of facts is not con
fined to the vicinity of Portland. Lands
that can bo cheaply cleared are to be
found all the way down the Columbia,
and from Astoria to Gold Beach, and
which are so far beyond the average lands
In the Mississippi Valley In the matter of
productiveness and certainty of crops that
they should not be mentioned in the same
breath. To reclaim them, however, will
require work, and the man who expects
such homes handed out to him ready
made, should look elsewhere.
The state should maintain a board of
immigration, amply provided with an ap
propriation, to be used in the matter of
making our resources known among peo
nip whn would hp. likelv to look for homes
In the West. We have such a. board, but
without a dollar to accomplish the work
it was created to do. We are falling be
hind other states in this matter, simply
because we show less enterprise in the
matter of advertising. We save a dollar
In the matter of appropriations when com
pared with them in this respect, and lose
10 in the matter of immigration. It is to
be hoped that the next Legislature will
he awake to the necessity of looking after
this important matter. There are many
small appropriations made which are of
no earthly benefit to the state, which
would, in the aggregate, supply the needs
of an Immigration board., 10 times over.
In the meantime, Portland should adopt
measures looking to the development of
the state's resources wherever possible.
Her business men can be of Immeasura
ble assistance In furthering the realization
of the opening of the Columbia River at
The Dalles and Celllo, which would be a
boon of never-ceasing benefit, not only
to all of Eastern Oregon, but to Its own
Interests as well. There is not a county
In the state but has homes for thou
sands of people yet to come, provided
they are industrious and economical, and
whose conditions. If coming from any part
of the country east of the Rocky Moun
tains, and a great many portions west of
them, would not be materially Improved.
The State of Oregon has kept Its light
under a massive bushel much too long
Assuring you that I deeply regret my
Inability to be present at your meeting,
and that I am ready to co-operate at any
time in the promotion of the object for
which it is called, whether officially or
otherwise. I am,
Advantages of Location and Need for
' Further Improvement.
Ellis G. Hughes, president of the Port
of Portland Commission, spoke as follows
of the Columbia River and the proposed
Among the facts, established by an ex
perience coextensive with authentic his
tory, is the one that the great stream of
commerce flows east and .west. Why this
is the case has never yet been explained
to my satisfaction, and I shall not at
tempt to explain that which I do not
understand. Suffice it to say that It is an
established fact.
Taking this as a fact, the Importance
of the part which the Columbia River
must play, not alone in the trade and
commerce of the Pacific Northwest, but
also In the great eastward and westward
stream flowing across tho United States
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and also
into the Interior from the Pacific, Is al
most self-evident.
On the Western coast of the United
States, stretching from Its northern to
Its southern boundary. Is a great chain
of mountains. Through engineering skill,
seeking distance for possible grades by
winding in and out in valleys which pen
etrate on either side, here and there
piercing a dividing ridge by a long tun
nel, at an Immense cost In time and car
rying capacity, this mountain chain has
been crossed by railroads at several
points. At one point, and at one point
only, there is a broad and free passage,
flirpnt anil short in distance and at a
descending grade, at the point where
he Columbia River flows through this
chain of mountains on Its way to the
Tho time mav come when that nart of
the world's traffic, now carried by land,
possibly also that carried by sea, may
be carried through the air, when ques
tions of grades and shortest lines will
be a thing of the past. Rut at the pres
ent time traffic by land and sea Is con
fined to the surface of the earth. So far
as It is by land the railroad is the cheap
est and' best, means of transportation
now known. To the railroad grade and
distance are all-important elements In
determining cost, which determines profit,
which in its turn determines not alone
the existence, but also the amount of
the trade. It is probable that great lm-
provements will yet be made. In our rail
roads, increasing capacity and decreasing
cost. But so long as the attraction of
gravitation exists, it Is not likely that
grade and distance will be less Important
factors in the operation of railroads than
they now are.
Capital Can't Overcome Nature.
Whof mai- ho nnflslhle to caDltal I Will
f not pretend to say. This Is, however, evi
dent, that that which requires tne ex
penditure of a large amount of capital
cannot compete with that which is pro
vided by nature without cost, for capital
must have a return as an Inducement for
Its Investment, while nature demands
none. No tunnel and no ascending and
descending grade, nothing short of a di
rect cut through this chain of moun
tains, deep enough to reach the general
level of the country east and west can
equal In grade and distance the gorge
of the Columbia. The cost of such a
cut is practically prohibitory. As a con
sequence it is not likely that any other
line of railroad can ever compete. In
grade and distance, with one finding its
way through this chain of mountains by
way of this gorge, which is but to say
that this la the route provided by nature
for the great stream of eastward and
westward commerce between the Atlantic
and the Pacific.
The advantage offered to rail trans
portation by the descending grade of the
Columbia Is generally conceded, for It Is
too apparent to be denied. But two
questions are raised which directly con
cern us:
1. As to the position of the Columbia
River as a seaport.
2. As to the location of this city being
such as to maintain its position as the
seaport of the Columbia, even conceding
that the harbor afforded by the river is
second to none
In so far as the safety of the entrance
Is concerned, all objection Is to be an
swered by the .record of tho commerce
-fr----"0-- o
of the three ports of the Pacific, San
Francisco, the Columbia and Puget Sound,
the record showing the proportion of loss
at the entrance to be less for the Colum
bia than for either of the other ports.
The advantage which the m Columbia of
fers as a fresh water harbor Is also ap
parent from the record, the Portland
fleet showing each year shorter time
for the run to European ports than either
of the others. Our one present disadvan
tage Is the depth of water at the en
trance, a disadvantage which in fact now
exists. But we are not without proof
that this disadvantage need be but tem
porary, for the work done by the jetty,
heretofore constructed, fully demonstrates
that the depth of water Is nothing more
nor less than a question of narrowing
the channel. As the Government has al
ready approved of the work of extending
the jetty, and made one small appropria
tion for the purpose, we may confidently
look for an early completion of the work,
and an ample depth of water at the mouth
of the river. With this obstruction re
moved the Columbia will be as far su
perior to all Its competitors as a harbor
as It now is as a line of easy grade and
short distance for railroads, and the
great future seaport of the Pacific Coast
will be on the Columbia. At what point
on the Columbia this great seaport will
be located depends, as I believe, entirely
on the City of Portland, which brings us
to the question of the proper location
for the great port of the Columbia.
I have called your attention to the
well-established fact that the flow of the
great stream of commerce Is east and
west. Another fact as to trade and com
merce, fully proven by the records of
the past, as well as by the existing state
of things, is that, when the sea forms
the whole or a part of the line of trans
portation, the point at which tho land
and the sea meet Is not as near the sea
as it is possible for the land line to reach,
but as far inland as it is possible for the
sea line to penetrate. While no man has
yet been able to more than guess at the
cause for the eastward and westward
flow of the great stream of commerce,
the cause for this rule In the location of
seaports lies on the surface, and may be
readily understood by all, for It is a re
sult of that mainspring of all commerce,
profit and loss.
Object of Commerce.
The object of commerce Is profit. Tho
products of different parts of the world
are not exchanged on the basis of phllan
throphy, but gain. Ships are not sent to
sea, railroads are not constructed and
operated on land to confer a benefit on
mankind at large, but that their owners
may make a profit. Consequently ships,
railroads and all other means of trans
portation are operated on thebasis of profit
and In the field of transportation that
which cannot be made to pay In the end
ceases to exist, either that, its owner,
discovering his mistake, abandons it for
what does, or that, falling to do so, it is
but a ques'tlon of time when his means ot
operation become exhausted.
Following the law of profit as our
guide, the cause of the inland location
of seaports is not far to seek, for It Ilea
solely and only In profit. Thus far the
cheapest known means of land transpor
tation has been, and now Is, the rail
road. On a comparison of this means
of transportation with the segolng ves
sel, taking as a standard of comparison
heavy trains on low grades as for the
railroad, and a seagoing steamer, having a
freight capacity about 10 times that of
the train, which is a by no means large
ocean carrier, and we have the actual co3t
of transportation standing at more than
six for the railroad to one for the steam
er, In both time and actual outlay or
cost to the operator. As the case with
which we are most familiar, let us take
as an illustration the case of Portland
and the mouth of the Columbia.
It is evident that, in a- comparison of
this kind, the basis must be the unit In
each case, that is, for the railroad the
largest train of freight cars which it is
practical to use. For the sea we will take
a steamer, such as is now used in our
Asiatic trade, not with its largest possi
ble cargo of 9C00 or 10,000 tons, but with
a dun traae cargo oi say ouw ions.
I ask you to bear in mind that the
question of loading and unloading and all
else but that of the time required and
the actual cost of transportation from one
point to the other, being common to both
places as ports, does not enter Into the
In the case of the railroad it would
be unfair to draw a . comparison, using
our local road, from Portland to the
mouth of the river, with Its limited traf
fic, and consequent higher cost per ton
per mile, as against the seagoing vessel,
operating here under conditions common
to all seaports. So we will use for tho
railroad the figures given as to actual
cost for the larger carriers with easy
Trninload vs. Shipload.
According to the best authorities, the
limit of the freight train is about 500 tons
of freight, the average being consider
ably below this figure, and as for the
heavier carriers of the United States, the
actual cost of transportation to the com-
pany not less than one-hair ot a cent
per ton per mile. In round numbers it Is
110 miles from Portland to the harbor
at the mouth of the river nearest the
sea. To transport 5000 tons of freight
from Portland to this harbor would,
therefore, require ten trips of a freight
train carrying 500 tons, and at one-half of
a cent per ton per mile would cost $2750.
As to the general average of time re
quired to move freight by train, I am not
fully advised, but believe I am making
a very liberal allowance In favor of the
railroad when I fix the time required
for the moving of a freight train of 25
cars, carrying 20 tons each, between Port
land and the mouth of the river, at seven
hours, and the time actually employed
by a train In moving 5000 tons of freight
between these points at 70 hours.
The actual cost to the steamer is the
proportion of Its daily cost of operation
which equals the portion of a day used
in transit. The exact figures as to th s
are not at my disposal, but I am Informed
that all cost. Chat Is, the charter paid
for the steamer. Including pay of crew
and all cost of operation. Is within $700
per day, or less than $30 per hour. With
ample depth of water and width of chan
nel so that they might be operated at
tul speed, and without waiting for t'de
at any point, any one of our China steam
ers would make the run from Portland to
the mouth of the Columbia, in from nine
to ten hours. As we wish to give the
railroad a fair chance, we will call the
time 11 hours, and the rate per hour $35
(or $S40 per day), which would make the
entire cost to the steamer $3S5, or about
one-eighth the cost by rail on a cargo of
SOW tons: that is to suy, assume a dull
time cargo for the steamer of 5000 tons,
and the steamer will transport It between
Portland and the mouth of the river in
about one-sixth the time, at about one
eighth the actual cost Were we to as
sume the almost Impossible case for the
steamer, of a cargo of 1000 tons, we would
still have the advantage on the side of
the steamer, for what would take the
railroad train 14 hours would take the
steamers but 11. and what would cost the
railroad $500 would cost the steamer but
$3S5, while If we assume a nearly full
carco for the steamer of SOCO tons, the
contrast becomes more marked, the time
and cost for the steamer remains the
same, while that for the railroad would
be Increased to 112 hours of time and $40C0
of cost, a difference of more t"han 10 for
the railroad to one for the steamer in
both cost and time.
In this calculation we have given the
railroad all the odds; that Is, the benefit
of iit least possible cost, the largest
practicable unit, the shortest practicable
and profitablo time, while wo havo taken
for the steamship a figure which is in
excess of both the actual cost and the
actfuai time required.
This Is the reason why, as against ob
stacles and disadvantages, which, to those
unacquainted with the true state of the
case, appear prohibitive, the ocean-going
vessel penetrates as far inland as possible,
and why all great seaports of the world
are sltuattd at the head of ship naviga
tion, when the line of penetration is In
the Hue of the flow of the stream of com
merce, which finds an ouftet through the
Situation of Portland.
This Is the situation of Portland, at
tho head of navigation for the sea-going
vessel, of one of the largest rivers of
the world, tho natural advantages of
which should make it t'he principal seaport
of tho Pacific Coast. But we must not
forger that the law which governs the
location and maintenance of seaports la
founded on tho possibility of the vessel
reaching t'he port, and that this, in it3
turn, depends on the size of tho vessel
used, u condition which may change with
time, and more especially with the growth
and Increased demands of commerce.
If we consider the lily, how it grows,
we find that it grows without rolling or
spinning, but that if man toils and spins
for It, that is, cultivates it, it grows much
bettJer, and makes a more perfect flower
than If left to Nature alone. If we turn
to that form of life endowed with the
power of locomotion, we And that Nature
does nofhlng more than provide it with
the means of subsistence, which It may
obtain by sufficient effort on its part; but
does not find or nourish It without effort
being made by It. In other words, when
tho power of self-help has been provided,
God helps those who help themselves.
and none others. Which Is again only.
another way of saying that while Nature
provides man with means, she In no case
provides them In that completed and per
fect statfo necessary for his full and com
plete enjoyment of them, but in all cases
leaves something to be done by him.
If we turn our attention to seaports we
find t'hem no exception to this general
rule. As Nature left them they have been
found sufficient for the infancy of their
commerce: but not to its full-grown man
hood, and to fit them for t'he commerce
of the world, as It now exists, much labor
and tho expenditure of large sums of
money have been required In each case.
Take the harbors of the Pacific Coast
and we find they are no exception to t'ne
general rule.
The three principal harbors of the Pa
cific Coast are San Francisco, Portland
and Puget Sound. I shall not enter Into
the auestlon of what man has tfhus far
done for either or all these harbors. The
question with us Is, what we should do
for our own, which depends. In great part
at least, on what Nature has done for U3
toward placing us in a position to com
pete with the other two, providing we do
our part.
San Francisco and Puget Sound are
salt-water harbors, having ample depth
for sea-going vessels of all classes, noth
ing more being necessary than that the
proper facilities for carrying on the busi
ness ot the transfer of freight be estab
lished when the depth exists. But they
are separated from tho country at large
by a chain of high and rugged mountains,
and all traflic. not arls'ng In the country
which lies between theso mountains and
the sea, must pay high tolls, to the heavy
grades necessary, to cross t'hese moun
tains, in order to reach the ship at the
wharves of either port.
No Grades Here.
Portland is without these grades, and
land traffic may reach It at the lowest
possible cost. Up to this time the depth
of water in the harbor and the channel
to the sea have met llie requirements of
the commerce which has existed, and it
finds Itself one of the largest shippers of
tho products of the country Immediately
tributary to it among the ports of the
United States. But the commerce ot the
Pacific is growing, the days of Its Infancy
aro past. Through traffic is increasing,
and we are passing from tho state of
local to that of general commerce. This
demands larger vessels, which means ves
sels drawing more water, and Portland
finds herself confronted with the necesslty
of meeting future requirements In the
way ofN increased depth in harbor and
channel, If she would profit from t'he ad
vantage oi descending grades, and not
alonrt maintain the position which she now
occupies, but advance to that to which
this advantage, from the land side, en
titles her. The disadvantage In grade to
San Francisco and Puget Sound cannot be
removed; it Is a constant quantity, af
fecting the commerce of these ports by
exacting from that' commerce a toll equal
to the cost of lifting the traffic over the
mountains. On the land side the advan
tage Is with Portland: what disadvantage
she has lies between her and the sea.
Tnat this may be readily overcome Is
clearly proven by what has already been
As you all know the rivers which connect
this city with the sea are not small
streams. The Willamette Is a consider
able river over 30 feet In depth for a
very considerable part of our harbor,
and having a channel over 25 feet In depth
for the greater part of the distance be
tween the harbor and the Columbia. The
Columbia is one of the largest rivers of
the United States, having for the greater
part of the distance between the mouth
of the Willamette and Its own mouth, a
good wide channel of over 30 feet In depth.
No obstructions of a permanent character
have been found, and It appears to bo
nothing" more than a question, of narrow
ing the river, or cutting out a few mites
of sand-bar to provide a depth sufficient
to permit of vessel, that can enter
any other port in the world coming to
To the question of whether It Is worth
our while to do this there car- be but
one answer. I have, at times, listened
to very able arguments against our do
ing so. based on the cost to Portland
of each ship. An argument which loses
In force, as the number of ships Increases,
for the cost per ship decreases with the
number. However, these arguments are
simply theory, and the finest of theory
Is worth nothing, as against actual ex
perience and proof by results, and all
arguments are to be answered by the
faot that wealth and growth have always
followed commerce. As commerce has
increased, the city that was its seat has
Increased In. population and wealth. Pal
myra In the desert was once the seat
of an Immense commerce, and a mighty
city. Its commerce was diverted to other
channels, and It Is a desert waste. Later
Venice ruled the great commerce of the
world, and grew with Its growth In com
merce In wealth and population. Its com
merce departed and It sank to decay. 'It
is their commerce that makes London
and New York what they are. The ship
penetrates as far inland as possible In
the line of Its commerce, but It does not
provide the means of penetration.; tho
railroad follows the ship. We can pro
vide the channel sufficient for the shlpa
of all classes to reach our wharves with
out obstruction and without delay, and
become the great seaport of the Pacific
Coast, giving to our property 10 times lt3
present value, or we can allow our com
merce to depart, by falling to provide
for Its needs, and use our town lots ier
potato patches.
Can't Wait for Government.
It may be said that the Government
should do here as It has done elsewhere
and provide this channel for us. This 13
true. But. unfortunately, the action of
the Government Is. in this respect at
least, largely" regulated by political pull,
and we are yet a small community, strong
In natural position, but weak In political
Influence. We should get all possible aid
from the Government, but a channel In.
excess of 30 feet In depth, broad and easy
of navigation, must be provided. It must
be done as economically as possible, but
It must be done. Whatever else we may
dispense with we cannot dispense with
this and live as a great seaport. It
Is to us what dally bread Is to the Indi
vidual, a necessary of life. Nor can we
wait for It. The great commerce of tho
Pacific Is Just beginning, the next five
years will decide for us our future. We
must have It and have It Just as quickly
as it can be made, advancing to It with
each year as the size of the vessels en
gaged In tho growing trade Increases. It
cannot be made in a day or a montn.
We must enter on the work at once, and
not leave It until It Is completed. If we
wait on the Government our commerce
will have departed before It acts, and we
will then be met with the objection, that
we have not the commerce to warrant tho
outlay. We can only compel this action
by increasing our commerce, and we can
only do this bv opening up our channel.
A word on the subject of a drydock
and I have finished. The reason why we
must provide a drydock Is the same as
that for our providing a channel to the
sea. Traffic on the Pacific Is a matter
of thousands of miles at sea. with all the
attendant Incidents of storms and acci
dents, such as have been common to this
character of traffic, since first men went
down to sea In. ships. This renders a
means of repair at the end of the Mne
necessary, for If the disabled ship reaches
this land at all. she cannot again go to
sea. traveling other thousands of miles.
In search of means necessary to enable
her to go to sea with safety at all. As
a means to the repair of ships. In moat
cases the drydock Is a necessity.
The freight carrier on which the great
body of commerce by sea depends. Is an
Individual, seeking its profit where It may
find It. and going from port to port. That
It should provide Us own means of rjjalr,
is. for It. practically Impossible. Conse
quently It will seek those ports where
these means are not provided, only at the
advance In cost, necssary to cover Its
risk, and the port will be the loser to
the extent that this advance in rate In
creases the charges on or decreases the
amount of Its shipping, and if we would
compete with the other harbors of the
Pacific Coast for the great commerce
which Is now beginning to grow we must
provide for the ship the necessary means
of repair, equally with the means of
Teaching our wharves. Whether thla
means pays directly and from the amount
paid for Its use. Is a matter of secondary
Importance, it will pay a large profit as
a means of fostering and Increasing our
commerce. In brief: For Portland, the
providing a channel to the sea and a dry
dock Is a simple matter of business
and it would be just as sensible for the
merchant to refuse to provide the goods
demanded by his trade, as for Portland to
refuse to provide that which Is as nec
essary to her trade as salable goods are
to that of the merchant.
Would Turn Attention of "World to
Tliii Route to the Orient.
City Attorney J. M. Long, who has from
the beginning taken an active Interest in
the Lewis and Clark fair for 1903, first
told the story of Leavenworth and Kan
sas City, showing how the town In the
more difficult situation by superior enter
prise outstripped the town on the level
plain, which was possessed of the notion
that commerce must go to It. and that
no encouragement need be offered. He
continued as follows:
In order to make a more lasting- im
pression on your minds that we are letting
great opportunities for advancing the ma
terial commercial wealth of this country
pass us by. I desire to call your attention
to a few statistics that I have prepared
In reference to our trade relations wttn,
the Oriental countries.
Total Imports for the year ending in
June, 1900, $175,000,000. Via Portland and the
Puget Sound. $S,000,COO. Barley 5 per
Total exports for the year ending in
June. 19C0 $108,000,000. Via Portland and
Puget Sound, $26,000,000. Percentage golngf
via the Northwest, 2t per cent.
Total Imports and exports for the year
ending June. 1S99, $212,000,000. Percentage
via the Northwest 15 per cent.
Total Imports and exports for the year
ending June 1900. $282,000,000. Total via the
Northwest, $35,000,000. Only 12 per cent.
With a trade volume of $250,000,000 pass
ing between the United States and the
Orient, only 12 per cent passes by way of
the Northwest, the natural channel and
gateway. Something like 75 per cent of
the exports and 95 per cent of the imports
passing around and leaving the North
vest out In the commercial cold. The
great bulk of It going by way of the At
lantic ports; Chicago, St. Louis, the Mis
sissippi Valley and the Northwestern
states as far as the Rocky Mountains
sending their hardware and provisions to
the Orient In exchange for their teas,
silks, sugar and spices by way of the Suez
Canal and around the Horn and thla
country getting only a fraction of its
natural trade.
According to the statistics published, by
the Oregonlan January 1. 1900, the Colum
bia River exports for 16 years amount to
$107,000,000, and Its Imports to $16,000,000.
Puget Sound, for the same period, exports
$98,000,000 and imports $32,000,000. making a
total of $253,000,000 while San Francisco
for the same period exported $544,000,000
and Imported $664,000,000.
Our Oriental Trade.
The foreign commerce of the Columbia
River for the year ending December 1.
1899, to China, Hawaii, Japan the Philip
pines and Russia amounted to $363,000; her
total imports were $1,648,000. Her exports
and imports to the same countries were
$1,347,000. Her total imports and exports
being $7,500,000 for the same period.
In order to make these figures more
startling, the total Imports of the United
States from these Oriental countries were
during the same period $174,000,000. By
way of Oregon ports they were one-third