The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, October 08, 1911, SECTION SIX, Page 2, Image 64

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    ColnmhiaElver Traffic
Analysis'bf VastTChanges in Prospect
'.Result'of Opening of Columbia Rh
and Panama Canal -
The;Huge 'Undertaking at Celilo Effect
Improved Waterway
TRK pvopl of th North wt r
usually crlltd with torlht
and SMacltr. But It -mar b
qautloo4 whathar mora than a small
fraction hara jrst formd snjr adequata
conception of tha vast chana Im
pandlnr throacb tha Tananm Canal
and tba Inauguration of waar traffic
batwsan tha two sldas of tha tontlnant.
Tha poaalbllltlas of commarrlal da
valopmant In air parts of tfea raclflc
Coast ara untold, but In soma rcapacts
thosa of tha Columbia Rlrtr rocion ara
for most.
To ons writing from tha rlawpolnt
of an Inhabitant of tha Inland Rroplra
tha opanlns; of tha Columbia Klrar car-
rlaa an Almost oqual auccestlvcnsas
with that of tha Panama Canal Itself.
Tha combination of the two canals
conrars a surcvsUon of commercial
chances equal to those of tha first
transcontinental railways.
The fact la. we. of tha Northweet.
re on the threshbold of a new epoch.
Whether we fain or lose Individually
by this new epoch depends on the do.
jrree of IntelUcenc with which we ad
lust ourselves to It; but there can be
no question that there Is a new pass
luat turning; la the momentous records
ef Padflo Coast history.
It Is not my purpoae to discuss, ex
rpt Incidentally, the Panama CanaL
Rather I ak the reader's attention to
preeent and forthcoming- conditions of
water trafde by the Columbia Hirer
to the vast Interior regions of Ore goo.
vtasaington and Idaho.
Katraae of tha teaaibaat.
It was a great step In tha history
ef this country whan. In the 'fts. the
Q. ft. X. Co. Instituted water transpor
tation from Portland to Lewiatoa and
other points on the Snaks and Colum
bia rivers. That was the age of" gold;
a dealing period of adventure, enter
prise and rapid fortunes. The steam
boat provided the only means of en
trance and the proverbial pilot ef those
day could run on a heavy dew. .The
captains sever thought of low water,
but plunged right Into the teetfe of
rapids and reefs, daring elL And It was
werth the daring.
It Is reported that the Tenlno, leav
ing Celllo for Lewtaton April 1J. 1st,
bad a passenger list of fares amount
ing to tie.tsi. n a subsequent trip
bar receipts for freight, passengers,
meals and berths footed up 1 1 LOW.
The O. 8. V. Co, wss capitalised on
Ioceabar 1. lit, for 1171100. Tet
from Its proceede It eipended nearly oe u betterments, paid to Its
stockholders over IJ.O0.C0 in divi
dends and sld out to the Vtllard Syn
dicate la If for fi.0oe.00C
la lit! freight from Portland to
Wallula was par too; to Lew
iatoa 110; while passenger fares were
tit aad fit. That was a great age.
out It paaaed on and aa age of rail
way development, farming, frultrals
Ing, city building, "booming." suc
ceeded. So the glory departed from
the rtver aad the steamer was rele
gated to the bonerard.
Ia 111ft tha canal at the Cascades
was tompleted and the Columbia
region aa fsr'aa The Italics became
open to the sea.
Tkls effected large and beneficent
results, but tha region Immediately
reached was but a small part of the
vast Inland Empire and hence the
benefits were limited, fame concep
tion of the results on freight rates
'may bo gained from the fact that the
rate on augar from Portland to The
Ialles fell from 130 per ton to f 1.20
per ton. as soon as tha Cascades canal
was finished.
During all tha time following com
pletion of the canal at the Cascades
It has been apparent to observing men
that results of untold benefit to the
Inland Empire would follow tha com
pletion ef a canal at Celllo Falls and
tha Grand Dalles. For such a can si
would overcome the only serious ob
struction between Portland and Priest
Kapide oa the Columbia, lit miles and
Iwtston en the Snake, about ITS miles
from Portland. It would Institute an
era of water trs asportation, for the
logis of such water rates Is to reduce
rail rates to tha water level. Statis
tics show that the average rail rate
la the United States Is I t mills per
tea anile, whereas on the Oraat Lakes
It Is only .7f mills per ton mile, and
on the Ohio Rtver. If estimates of en
gineers are correct. It will become.
wllA completed laiproveaiaats, as low i
Effect on Inland Empire
of Rat
ss half a mill per ton mile. A little
flmirlng would easily show that the
annual savings to the Inland Empire
would amount to millions, enough. In
fact to pay for the Celllo Canal within
two years or less.
Plans at CelUa.
By reason of the heavy railroad tar
iff under which the Inland Empire
has rested, tha construction of the Ce
lllo Cans! and other Improvements on
the river, such as would Insure a
seven-foot channel at all seasons to
Priest Rapids and at least a four-foot
channel to Lewlaton. has been one of
the special demands of our section
upon Congress. Various propositions
hsve bean broached by engineers. At
one time a ship railway was favorably
considered. Then the plan of two ca
nals, one around the Celllo Falls and
one around the Grand Dalles, thus
utilising about five miles of good river
between was decided upon.
Further reports of engineers led to
the decision to make a continuous
canal from the head of Celllo Falls to
the Big Kddy.
That plan ass accordingly adopted
In March. 190&. and has beeii pursued
since. The work dragged somewhat
at first, as Government Jobs are wont
to. But In 110. through the Influence
of the general public awakening, de
veloped by the National Klvera and
Harbors Congress snd through ths
constant efforts of the Northwest dele
gations In Congress, as well as ths ef
forts of various private cltlsens, an ap
propriation of f J.C00 000 was secured
o be paid In six annual Installments.
The total estimated expense Is fl.flt,
000. and ths existing appropriation Is
considered enough to complete the
A recent visit wss msde by the
writer for the purpose of ascertaining
the conditions and prospects of this
great work. Major J. J. Morrow, of
the rnlted States ErTglneer's office at
Portland, hat general charge. with
Lieutenant IL H. Robert, aa local man
It Is apparent that the work is in
good hanUn. and Major Morrow and
IJeatenant Robert offer every courtesy
and assistance to those desiring In f or
Inspection of the work shows that It
la In excellent progress. Two larare
contracts for csnal construction were
made, one of MO feet, now completed,
and one of 14.000 feet completed, except
the cement facing. The present work
Is being conducted directly by Govern
ment and with highly satisfactory re
sults. Major Morrow estimates that
about one-third of the work haa been
done. More wa accomplished during
the past year than In any three years
before. Seven hundred jnen have been
employed, and the number, may be In
creased. It funds JuKtify.
I found the work la progress at
various points simultaneously, the aim
being to get the cuts snd fills outlined
the entire distance and thus work ths
largest force) to the beat advantage.
Tha heavy rock work Is at the middle
and the two ends, a considers We part
of the Intervening spaces constating
of concrete embankments tnrougn trte
sand. There will be used about 100.
OuO .gallona cf concrete In this part
ef the work. The finest kind of steam
hovels ara In use. At one polsit I
saw a Vulcan with an arm (0 feet long
by which the huge scoops of the
shovel can be deposited so far from the
edge of the excavation as to more than
double the working capacity over on
of ordinary slie.
Aa Isasseaae) Waterway.
Aa now outlined the canal will b
atght and a halt miles long. S feet
wide at the bottom, eight feet deep, and
with several basins for passag ways.
10 feet or more In width.
Five locks are provided, though only
three will be used in ordinary water.
At It lower end, opening into Big
Eddy, from which there is an unoh-
structed passage way to the ocean, ZOO
miles distant, are the tandem locks.
by which boats may be lifted 78 feet.
At Five Mile Rapids, about two miles
above. Is the next lock, with a lift of
11 feet. In any except extreme high
water, this lock will place a boat at
the upper level, and It can then pro
ceed through the remaining six miles
directly Into the Upper River. For use
In very high water, two more locks will
be made, one at Ten Mile Rapids, and
one at Celllo Fall.
It Is a beautiful piece of engineering
and to all appearance the work Is or the
best character. Major Morrow aays
that with an appropriation of 11,000.000
a year the canal could be open within
three yean; or with tl. 600.000. within
two. This situation evidently offers
great Inducement to u In the Inland
Kmplre to bring every pressure pos
sible to bear on Congress to add to the
appropriations. The gain will be worth
the eiiort.
Do all of us appreciate what this slg
nifles? Consider for a moment what
such a reduction of freight rates would
mean to the Inland Empire. Probably
within five years there may be 10.000.
000 bushels of grain for export. A re
ductlon of S cents a bushel on an aver
age might reasonably be expected.
There would be nearly a third of the
total cost of the canal saved In that
one Item. Com to consider the saving
on up-freight (In which the saving
will be much greater per unit than In
the outgoing grain), and It can readily
be seen that a single year's saving will
nearly pay for the canaL
Then there Is another Item of the ut
most moment: electric power. Th
canal will offer a drop of. It feet In
two miles. There Is nothing to are
vent the constant utilisation of power
from all the water that can be ad
ml tied. In faot tha whole force of th
Columbia River can ultimately be em
ployed at this point for th creation of
It la likely that 100. 000 horsepower
could be developed herewith but a
fraction of the force of the river, and
that amount of power, rented at f if per
horsepower, (half the rate now pre
vailing at Walla Walla), would amount
to t2.S00.0O0 a year. That will not be
realised at once, of course, but It Is
one of the future possibilities.
Treaaead Flow ef Water,
The scene cf this great canal work
Is a strange place on the Columbia.
The whole enormous flow of the great
river, which ranges from 100.000 second-feet
at low water to 1,000,000 or
more at high water, is compressed Into
a channel at Five Mile Rapids of but
ICS feet wide at low water. It has
never been satisfactorily sounded, but
It le believed to be deeper than It Is
wide, probably too or 400 feet. Prob
ably the walls overhang.
At the Big Eddy, where there 1
greater width, the depth ranges from
U)0 to ltO feet. One object of special
Interest at Celllo Is the Great Northern
bridge, 'leading; to th Deschutes
branch. It la partially -oompleted ahJ
will be one of the greatest bridges in
the country. It crosses th river Just
below Celllo Falls.
One thing of peculiar Interest Is th
effect of the completion of the canal,
and specially the united effect of its
simultaneous completion with the Pan
ama Canal, on railroad. Some affect
to thing that the canals will be detri
mental to railway and that railway
managers must necessarily oppose canal
construction. Some railroad men have.
In fact, shown an unfriendly spirit, but
the larger and more statesman-like of
them realise that the ultimate Interests
of railroads run parallel to those of the
public, and that added business and
wider opportunities for feeder line will
result from the general diminution of
rates. In the end they will gain more
then they will lose.
JBut tier is another series of con-,
dltfons equally Important, and that Is
the present navigation of tbo river, and
Its significance a leading up to future
traffic when both Columbia River and
Panama are open to continuous naviga
It is generally known that the Open
River Transportation Company has
been operating boats on the Snake and
Columbia Rivers for several years, but
few, I Judge, have weighed the mo
mentous results to commercial Interests
which will logically follow.
This company was the off-spring of
the Open River propaganda of a few
years ago, which secured also the con
struction of the Oregon Ports ire R, R.
from Celllo to The Dalles. The com
pany has had many misfortunes and
unforeseen obstacles, but has persisted,
and Is now making a triumphant suc
cess Several years ago. Senator Bur
ton, then chairman of the House rivers
and harbor committee, gave J. N. Teal
and others to understand plainly that
he would not favor appropriations for
our rivers unless we could demonstrate
that they would be used. If lmmroved.
As a consequence, Mr. Teal and others
courageously set to work to make th
demonstration. Suffering some losses
as pioneers of this second era of steam
boats, they have steadily widened and
strengthened the scope of their, opera.
tlons, until It haa become obvious to
shippers and to railway managers and
to students or commerce that here has
been unobstruslvely growing tip a fao-
tor In traffic which Is the herald of a
new day in the life of th Columbia
River country. Under the Influence of
the ability and Indefatigable energy, of
Captain W. 8. Buchanan, the super
intendent, and W. S. Small wood, the
general manager, tb Open River boats
have this year done a larger amount of
business than ever before, and have
offered such rates and service to
shippers sa to produce a new trend In
river traffic.
Work of Ore River Boats.
Thy are now running the J. N. Teal
from Portland to The Dalles, making
three round trips a week. They are
almost constantly obliged to reject
freight, while passenger crowd th
From The Dalles to Celllo the traf
fic Is carried around th Una of tha
canal by th Portage Railroad. It will
urprla those not familiar with condl
tlons to knew that the Portage Rail
road handled In ltOt 15.481 tons of
freight, valued at fl.013.lfS no mean
Above Celllo the steamer Inland Em
pire runs to Pasco and Kennewlck and
intermediate points, and usually one
a week to Priest Kaptd and other
points above Pasco. The distance from
Celllo to Priest Rapids Is about 110
miles. Boat service on this run Is
maintained substantially throughout
the year. The Twin. .Cities runs from
Celllo to Lewttton 2t&. miles, from
February ts August, the Water during
low stages not being sufficient...
-Although tnese posts are primarily
deelgned as frelghtboats and though
tha scenery from Pasco or Lewlston to
The Dslles hardly compares with those
forver-new scnes of grandeur and
beauty seen from the decks of th Teal,
yet that trip on the Upper. River is on
of rare attractiveness.
Nor Is th trip .so slow as might be
expected. Down th river they mak
nearly railroad time, or would If th
large amounts of wool snd other freight
did not cause stops. But to a student
of traffic these stops are among th
most Interesting experiences of the
But now th point or greatest value
In regard to the Open River boats 1
their freight rates, tb affect of them
on railroad rates, aad the foreshadow
ing of the new era.
Although the necessity or transport
ing everything around Th Dalles on
the portage railroad causes delay and
expense, the present freight tariff on
the Open River boats is only about 70
per cent, on an average, of the railroad
tariff to Pasco, Kennewlck, Lewlston
and other points. This is a general
statement. Some specific examples will
be of interest.
Some comparative rates by rail and
by boat from Portland to Lewlston are
as follows, as Indicated by the tabulat
ed statement:
OunparlaoB of Rates.
A. Leas than carload lots. Classes
Ter vL 1 2 S 4
Rail 1.S5 fl.20 J0.0S $0.80 fO.JJ
Boata 90 .81) .70 .63 .88
8av. by boat 10 48 80.40 fO.JS t0.1T
Sav. per ton 89.50 88.00 85.00 3.40
Average savings per ton, 83.88.
In carload lots the boats give the
added advantage that they allow a
smaller minimum than the railroads,
being 20.000 pounds, aa against 80,000
to 40.000 sounds on rail.
On the following commodities the
comparative rates per hundred are as
follows, with 10.000 pounds minimum:
R. Carloads
Per cwL Sucar.
Pav. par ewt. 10.20 80.0
Sav. per ton. 84.00 81-20
On down freight, the rail rate on
wheat is now 17 cents per hundred
weight the boat rate 18 cents, rrora
Lewlston to Portland. Th rail rate
was 10 cents last year, but was forced
down by the boat rate. Perhaps the
most remarkable figures on down
freights are on wooL Th bulk of tha
wool amounting to millions of -pounds
and deatlned to New York and Boston,
goes now by the Open River boats to
Portland, thence by the Amerlcan-na-walan
steamships to Tehuaatepec,
where It. Is transferred and reshlpped
on the Atlantic to destination.
From Lewlston to New ork and Bos
ton the rate on unsooured wool in
sacks Is as follows, per hundredweight:
Open rtver beats . -J
Wharfare at Portland 0125
Steamihlps to New York
New York to Boston 18
Total to Boston 1 1-4423
Total to New York 81.2625
By all rail from Lewlston 82-1
Saving to Boston t .6ST5
Saving to New York 88T5
One cannot but pause to ask If such
a saving, about f 15 a ton, can now be
made on wool, what will it be when
both canals are completed? May we
not reasonably expect that freight
rates will be cut to half or less of the
present rail rates to the great manu
facturing cities? What will that sig
nify to general prosperity?
There Is yet another feature ot toe
comparative rates, and that Is the rates
by combination of boat and ran .o
points not Immediately on th xirers.
This is the most important-aspect of It
all;--4os-.JX-4aa iates to such points
could not be lowered, the general ag
arreeate benefit would not be great.
since the towns directly on the rivers
are few In comparison.
1 Combination RaUea Leas.
But It appears from an inspection of
the schedules that the combination
rates by boat and rati are less in the
great majority of places within from
80 to 100 miles of the shipping points
than the straight rail rates to or from
A. Portland to points oa Desennte Bau-
ar. vl Celllo, per ewt
Orchard, distance from Celllo, 18 mile
Classes 1 3 3
Comb, rata 80-48 80.41 80.83 fO-Zw -23
All rail 54 .40 .88 .32 .37
At Garfield, 88 miles from Lewlston,
tha combination rate Is lower on first
and second class, but higher on the
other classes, and from that point on
the all-rail rates are lower.
Figures clearly demonstrate the fact
that within a somewhat irregular
sphere of about 80 miles from the chief
shipping points on the river reached by
rail, the boat rate, combined with the
local rail rate in what I have styled
the combination rate, is lower than
the all-rail rate. Main line points on
the railroads are more likely to offer
lower rates than on branches. But
however analyzed, rate figures are ln
finitely suggestive as to the traffic
possibilities of the near future. The
Open River Transportation people are
doing a limitless service to the inland
Empire in acting as the forerunner of
the time when both the Panama ana
Celllo canals are open, and traffic shall
hare learned its new route to the great
centers of population In the East and
in Europe.
Railroad trafflo must adjust Itself to
the new order, but as already urged,
this Is no menace to the railways. What
they lose in one way they will more
than gain In others through increase in
population and production. - And the
general body of people will be the bet
ter oft in ths same ratio as traffic is
cheaper and more free.
There la one final consideration which
I find to b greatly . exercising the
minds of far-sighted business men and
students of commerce in Portland.
This is the readjustment which must
follow the short-and-long-haul contro
versy as expounded by 'the Interstate
Commerce Commission In the Spokane
and Reno cases. It seems to be con
sidered in Portland that the decision
was at least largely a Spokane victory,
though with an Important reservation.
But now by a kind of common consent
Portland people are adopting the con
clusion that they will be thrown back
to rely upon their natural water-rout
advantages rather than upon any arti
ficial advantages of railway discrimi
nation. In adopting this principle
Portland has made the greatest step in
her recent history. For no power can
rofi her of the benefits of the Panama
Canal and the open Columbia. Portland
is shaking herself mightily in prepara
tion for the new era of the canals.
Effect of Canals Era.
It will be well for those'.of th In
land Empire If they, too can realize
the grand significance of this new era.
The doctrine of the Interstate Com
merce decision and th new era of ca
nals will have a twd-fold effect. First,
It will make cities in general depend
rather uDon natural than artificial ad
vantages, rather upon the great honest
basio movements of commerce than
upon sharp Jobbery in securing dis
criminatory .Yates and the manipula
tions of secret lobbies. Second, it will
create a greater harmony and mutual
helpfulness between all parts of our
great Northwest.
Each section has its ioii ta
supplements the others. properly
speaking, the seaport city and the in
land city are not competitive; they are
The fear entertained by som tn Spo
kane that the open river will build up
a great rival strikes me as chimerical.
The new era will undoubtedly be of
Immense benefit to Portland, and As
toria, and Vancouver. It will make fine
cities, perhaps great cities, of Pasco,
Kennewlck and Lewlston. And when
the Prelst Rapids canal is open, also
of Wenatchee. But while the benefits
may not be quite so marked for Spo
kane, Walla Walla, Takima and Mos
cow, they will exist Just the same.
What will benefit one will In the gen
eral course benefit all. It would be as
foolish for the mouth to stop all the
food and allow none to go to the stom-
ach as for Portland to stop the nour
ishment of commerce from passing on
'to Spokane. It would be as foolish for
the hands to hold the food and refuse
to convey it to the mouth as for Spo
kane to , withhold trafflo from Port
land, i '
One thing Is sure, that the interior
cannot present the development of the
river towns by any means short of
stopping' to produce and grow and
thereby commit commercial suicide. In
the new era that is hard at hand, whose
changes "may be many and great, the
river towns are bound to grow. We
shall play the part of wise men if we
adjust ourselves to the laws of com
mercial: gravitation rather than ngnt
them. The -man or the community that
bucks the law of gravity usually suf
fers more than the law does. With
the spirit of intelligent oo-operation
and mutual helpfulness, all parts of
our great Northwest can meet a new
age of commerce, the age of water
traffic; with industrious hands, clear
eyes and honest hearts and realize a
development of which we have not even
A Peruvian Olty That Was.
' Hartford Times.
On the plateau adjoining Lake Tlti
cacsi In Peru, the largest lake In South
America, are found the ruins of a city
as large as Boston. The stone walls of
the principal buildings are of excellent
workmanship and the gateways are
elaborately carved. Some of the sin
gle stemes weigh over ISO tons. There
la some evidence that the Inhabitants
were th original discoverers of corn
Land potatoes. At all events they -were
skillful masons ana haa attained an or
ganized civilization. The origin of these
ruins was as much a mystery 900 years
ago, as is shown by the earliest rec
ords of the Incas, as it is now. At
present the region in which they are
situated Is oold and arid and entirely
Incapable of ripening cereals. It la
inhabited by a few hardy mountaineers.
It Is evident that the climate Is en
tirely different from what it was when
the plateau was the center of a large
population. This change must be due
to th elevation of the mountains on
the east, and perhaps of the entire
According- to Schedule.
New York Tribune. .
William T. Lewis, automobllist. was
talking in Racine about the 26,000-
mile automobile trip he had Just made
In Europe.
"One sees Europe In an automobile,"
be said. "One really sees It. Some
tourists don't, you know.
"Once in Florence I was standing on
the bridge over the Arno drinking In
the beauty of the old Italian city when
a half dozen of my compatriots drew
near at a quick walk.
"They hurried by me, every now and
then consulting their watches, and as
they passed I overheard this conversa
tion: . -
" -Well, Florence la all right, sure!"
" Tlorencer
"Why, yes! This la Florence, ain't
" "Of course not. This is Vanlc.'
Oh, go on! It's Monday, anyhow,
and Monday's Florence; Wednesday's
Venice.' "
In Net Tork.
Mr. Black My husband la always
astounded at the amount of money J
Mrs. White Well, call It a budget,
and nothing will surprise him.