The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, November 25, 1906, Section Four, Page 40, Image 40

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THE SUNDAY OREGONIAJf, FORTXAXD, NOVEMBER 25, 1906.
A GREAT MONOPOLY
1 MVvVf . B 7 P. H VI-
A LITTLE HISTORY THAT TAXPAYERS SHOULD READ
THROUGHOUT AS IT CONCERNS THEIR POCKETS
SOME- FACT
S
..Js either a pavement as a Trhole nor any ingredient thereof is j;ood or "bad be
cause of any particular name given to such pavement or ingredient by the maker
or user thereof. . .
2
Thebeneficiary of a paving monopoly will charge all the public will stand.
Hoiaest-competition' in street paving means lower prices and better work.
. ' 4 v : - .'. .'
The , word'" Bitulithic" was. coined and is used. by the Warren Company to
distinguish its pavement of a certain kind from other pavements of the same
kind; and "Puritan Brand" is the name adopted and used by the same company
to designate. its ' particular brand of paving cement.
s
These-words "Bitiilithic" and "Puritan Brand" are the Warren Company's
trade-marks, and have been copyrighted and registered by it as such, and are its
exclusive property.
q ; - .'
On November 5, 1904, by ordinance 14253, the late Council wrote into this
city's laws the specifications which had been previously prepared by the Warren
Company for its trade-marked "Bitulithic" pavement, and such pavement was of
ficially adopted by this city, and it was declared, without indicating how or of
what the same was composed, that "Warren's Puritan Brand" of paving cement
must be used in making such "Bitulithic" pavement,
7 .
Xo trade-marked names or brands were then or have since Keeutised in the
specifications for any other pavement laid in Portland.
.. .". : ' 8 " ' ..
""Warren's Puritan Brand" of paving cement is, under the same name, made
of different, materials in different places, depending upon relative local cost and
availability. In the East it is a coal-tar product. In Portland it has been made
of California asphalt. It may be made of anything, for whatever Warren chooses
to call "Puritan Brand" becomes such; and under the "Bitulithic Monopoly Ordi
nance" the City Engineer has no righfc to know of what it has been made.
Any person can procure and adopt the' materials and methods used in making
"Warren's Puritan Brand" of paving cement and "Bitulithic" pavement, but
only the Warren Company can use such materials and methods under those trade
marked names. ' ...
10 .
When 'the "Bitulithic Monopoly Ordinance" was adopted, and at any time
-ince then, specifications for the same pavement as that so-called "Bitulithic"
could be easily prepared, which .would state, with particularity and certainty and
without the use of ' trade-marked names' and brands or any other device or subter
fuge intended to prevent competition' and create a monopoly, just how and of what
materials the pavement should be made. -
.11 V ;
Under the specifications of this "Bitulithic Monopoly Ordinance," the laying
of the same identical pavement under any other name than "Bitulithic," or the
use therein of any other materials than those branded "Puritan," is forbidden,
competitive bidding is impossible, and the Warren Company is given an absolute
monopoly.
. 12 v
. : ' The' monopoly thus created is not confined to the pavement proper, but in
cludes excavating, .grading, sidewalks, curbing, stone blocks, and all other items
comprised in a street improvement; for the contractor who cannot furnish War
ren's "Puritan Brand" of materials cannot bid at all, and the company who con
trols that brand .can change what it pleases for such other items, 'as-well as for its
monopolistic pavement.
13 .
Street-paving contracts have ever been a fruitful source of municipal graft
and corruption.
14
Under the "Bitulithic Monopoly. Ordinance" the Warren Company can safely
promise compensation to an energetie and supposedly influential and' apparently
disinterested property-owner for circulating a petition for or boosting "Bitulith
ic" by agreeing to rebate secretly part or all of his assessment; for "Bitulithic"
means that that company gets the job without competition.
15 .
Secret rebating, which can be so safely and easily practiced under the "Bithu
lithic Monopoly Ordinance," may mean that the honest property-owner pays the
price stated in the contract with the city, while his shrewd neighbor pays much
less for the same pavement.
16
Any person, who is sure of securing work at his own price when it is ordered
under a name which is his private trade-mark, can afford to offer libei'al induce
ments to hesitating Councilmen to so order it, but, 'with open competitive specifi
cations, the danger, of honest Councilmen being insulted or weak Councilmen being
. tempted or dishonest Councilmen being bribed by any such offers is much less.
: 17
The opportunities for favoritism by and corruption of ; public officials under
any system where they can prevent competition are so great that no real or pre
tended superiority of one person's work in. laying pavements or doing anything
else justifies anything other than open and honest competition in public contracts.
is ; '
Since the "Bitulithic Monopoly. Ordinance" was adopted more hard-surface
pavements have been ordered by the Council than during all of Portland's previ
ous existence, and every square yard laid has been "Bitulithic," aixl has been laid
by the Warren Company, and the price charged therefor to those who get no se
. cret rebate has been $2.00 per square yard.
19
This $2.00 per square yard paid by the unwise property-owner is only for the
bare pavement. The excavating and tile drains and all other items which are not
strictly part of the pavement proper are charged for by the Warren Company as
extras at its own prices. -
20
During all this time the undersigned company has been able and willing and
offering to lay, under any other name or without any name, the same identical
pavement that the Warren Company lays under the name "Bitulithic," and to lay
the same under open specifications prepared by the City Engineer or any other im
partial expert, and to bid therefor in honest competition with any and all other
persons not more than $1.65 per square yard.
. 21 ;..
On May 22, 1906, a majority of the present Council voted for an ordinance
which had been prepared by the City Attorney, City Auditor and City Engineer,
and which provided for the laying under open and competitive specifications of
'bituminous macadam pavement" that being the same as "Bitulithic" except in
name, and said ordinance was approved by Mayor Lane.
Under .this ordinance "bituminous macadam pavements" have been petitioned
for by many property-owners notably those on Hawthorne avenue, who, after
full and fair consideration of the subject in a public meeting, declared for the
competitive "bituminous macadam'" in preference to the monopolistic "Bitulith
ic"; but the Warren Company, striving to retain its monopoly at any cost and by
any means, has, through misrepresentations to property-owners and obstructive and
dilatory tactics and collusive bids by fictitious or unknown persons and injunctions
and threats of litigation, and all other kinds of tricks and devices, succeeded in
thus far preventing the laying .of any "bituminous macadam pavements", in this
citv.
23
In Seattle and' Tacoma hard-surface pavements on concrete foundations,
which are better in construction and character than .the "Bitulithic" that is being
laid in Portland, are being laid under competitive specifications at $1.70 per
square yard and less.
24
In Portland the Warren Company is today, laying and offering to lay, under
private contract, where the property-owners can and do get the full benefit of com
petition, its "BituHthic" pavement for much less than $2.00 per square yard.
A FEW QUERIES
. t
1. Why should Portland's property owners pay fifteen per cent more for a monopolistic pavement than is being charged for
a better and inherently more expensive pavement in other cities of the Northwest where competition prevails?
2. Why should Portland property owners pay such an excessive profit as tribute to the "Bitulithic Monopoly"?
3. Was anyone imposed upon in connection with the adoption of the "Bitulithic Monopoly Ordinance" by a former Council?
4. Have any property owners who warmly advocated "Bitulithic" been the recipients of secret rebates?
5. . Should not the "Bitulithic Monopoly Ordinance"' be repealed?
6. How long will the people of Portland stand it? Respectfully submitted,
THE BARBER ASPHALT PAVING COMPANY
OSKAR HUBER, Manager