The Hood River News-Letter, Hood River, OR., December 22, 1906, page 1


     The county division question from the standpoint of the Cascade county committee of the Hood River Commercial Club.
     In the News-Letter of November 8th, a political economist from Belmont, makes a pathetic plea for the perpetuation of the old order of things. "Old Wasco" is more to him than a mere political convenience. Here for sixteen years he has lived, in possession of competency of this world's goods; here half of his children have married and settled in life, yet are still in touch with the paternal roof by telephone; and we are assured that the deputy assessorship, which was but is not, has no influence on his deliberate judgment on this serious matter.
     It is a beautiful picture of material prosperity and domestic felicity, and the inference is that such happiness, if to be had at all in the new county, which come higher. He, with one or two of our other esteemed citizens, has his face continually turned toward the East; they adore "Old Wasco," and for many years have scrambled like boys for marbles, for the crumbs that fall from "Old Wasco's" table. But our old friend need not despair. We will continue to marry and give in marriage in Cascade county, and the telephone will bring daily reports of the family well-being. Every suggestion of argument in that article is effectively answered in other parts of this article. As to the new county and representation in the legislature, if we should be joined with Wasco in a legislative district we would have the votes enough in Cascade county to insure us a member of the legislature; and we would have a county judge and two commissioners among our own people to look after our own local affairs.
     This is no time and Hood River valley is no place for the standpatter. China has had the reputation of being rather set in her ways for some thousands of years, but even she is waking up. The only place that is the same yesterday, today and forever lies near but shall be nameless here. In the words of our friend, "Everyone work out the result for yourself."
     Another distinguished opponent of county division, who has contributed a series of articles recently to the News-Letter with many figures showing, as he says, that county division is all wrong, has been on both sides of this question. He furnished practically all the facts and figures from the records of Wasco county upon which the fight for Cascade county was made in the legislature two years ago, and until the spring of 1906 he continued strongly in favor of the new county. This fact, and the fact that many of the figures and comparisons he makes in his published articles are apparently meaningless and tend toward no conclusion, suggest, as illustrating his attitude, the following story:
     A famous detective called upon a famous analytical chemist, and after having been ushered through many ante-rooms finally came into the presence of the great man, sitting amid the luxurious furnishings of his private office. The stranger bowed and said, "Is this Prof. _______?" "Yes sir; what can I do for you." The detective thereupon took from his pocket a vial, partly filled with a dark liquid, and said: "This bottle contains a portion of the contents of the stomach of a man who died a few days ago, under very suspicious circumstances, immediately after having dined with a beautiful woman: what will be your charge to analyze this stuff?" The great scientist said nothing, but put out his hand and pulled a string, disclosing a card with a schedule of prices on the opposite wall, on which the visitor read:

"For finding poison and swearing that I did $1000"
"For not finding poison and swearing that I did not 1000"
"For finding poison and swearing that I did not 5000"
"For finding poison and swearing that I did 5000"
"For bringing five other eminent scientists to swear the same way I do, each 1000"
For throwing up so much scientific dust that neither the judge, jury or prosecuting attorney can tell whether I found poison or not, 5000"

     This seems to be a fair illustration of the gentleman's position on county division. Statistics flow from him almost involuntarily, but what did they prove depends on his varying moods.

                                Cost Wasco	 Estimated Cost
				County 1905	 to Cascade Co.
Items						 First Year
County Judge Salary	      $1000.00		 $400.00
     "	Commissioner	        800.81		  300.00
Circuit Court		       4307.92		 1500.00x
Justice Courts		       2347.75		  250.00x
Sheriff Office		       3864.27		 1500.00	
County Clerk office	       3859.92		 1500.00
County Treasurer		799.92		  100.00
Coroner			    	526.45		  100.00x
School Superintendent	       1482.42		  500.00 	
Stock Inspection		800.00
Assessor's Office	       3316.05		  900.00
Tax Rebate			377.81		  900.00	
Books, etc.		       1286.55		  350.00x
Court House expenses	       2818.68		  750.00x
Jail			       1220.07		  300.00x	
County Poor		       3612.60		  250.00	
Insane				 59.70		   15.00	
Election expenses	       1528.00 av. 2 yrs. 500.00	
Health officer			160.22		   50.00
Indigent soldiers'		 58.00
Lewis & Clark Fair	       3497.97
Rebate of Liquor License	201.00
				---------	 --------
1905 assessment		    $37,072.20		 $9359.00

     The expense of operating the proposed new county as above stated, has been estimated at the actual cost, excepting those marked (x) which have been figured on the proportionate basis of population.
     Wasco levy for county purposes in 1906 was 9.1 mills.

This levy on the assessed valuation in the proposed new 
	county for 1906, would raise $14,729.90, 
	which exceeds the necessary expense of the 
	new county by 					     $5370.90
In addition to this are the earnings of Clerk's office 4000.00
And liquor license 800.00 ---------- Total surplus on Wasco Co. levy $10,170.20 With a 9.4 mil levy to make a total levy of 18.5 mils, we would have in addition to the above. 15,215.49

Out of which we would have to pay the following:

$6.00 per capita on 1836 school children…	    	  $11,016.00
State tax of 2.5 mills					    4,046.67
Library fund .1 mills					      161.87
Road levy of 3 per cent					    4,856.01
Transcribing, and books for records.			    2,000.00	22,080.55
							  ----------	---------
Of surplus of 							        $ 3305.54

     In addition to having a substantial interest in the court house building and other property of the county, we would be entitled to our proportionate interest in over $18,000 cash in the hands of the county treasurer, belonging to the general county fund.

		      Assesses Val.	County		Area in		Exp.
Counties	      1905		Exp.		Tps.		Levy
Columbia	      4,199,785		 19,907.11	18		4.8  mils
Multnomah	    143,860,258		279,991.40	4 1-2		1.9    "
Sherman		      3,068,125		 18,480.80	21 1-2		6      "
Polk		      4,035,750		 21,805.72	20		5.43   "
Wheeler		      1,305,385		 18,958.68	52 1-2		10 1-2 "
Benton		      4,744,805		 19,154.30	18		4      "
Clatsop		      4,721,873		 40,621.50	22		8.6    "
Proposed Cascade Co.  1,681,670		  9,359.00	12 1-2		5.16   "

     The above shows conclusively that the counties with small areas like Multnomah, Colombia, Benton, Polk, Sherman and proposed Cascade county, property valuation considered, cost much less proportionately than do counties of large area as Multnomah's levy, with 14½ townships, to cover county expenses, is 1.9 mills, while that of Wheeler county, with 52½ townships of area is 10.5 mills. The levy of Sherman county with 21½ townships of area is 6 mills, while the levy necessary to cover county expenses of the proposed new county with 12½ townships of area will be 5.16 mills, or .84 mills, less than Sherman county. Multnomah is the only county having a any of its territory in the forest reserve, and operates at the low cost of 1.9 mills, while the proposed Cascade county has 6¾ in the reserve and its cost should be correspondingly low. The secret of low cost in small counties, or counties with the population and assessed property confined to a small area, lies in the saving on mileage in attending the county and court business, saying nothing of the saving to individuals in being able to drive their own teams to and from the county seat the same day, without expense to themselves.

Counties		Population	Cost Per Capita.
Multnomah		230,000		$1.22
Sherman		          4,047		 4.56
Proposed Cascade Co.	  5,256		 1.77

     The above figures show that the proportionate cost per capita of densely populated counties is far less than that of sparsely populated communities, as Multnomah, with a population of 230,000 costs but $1.22 per capita, while Sherman county, with a population of 4,047, costs $4.56 per capita. By applying Mr. Evans' theory of the cost of operating counties in proportion to population, using Sherman county as a basis of the $4.56 per capita, and applying it to Multnomah county it would cost Multnomah county $1,048,800, while it actually costs only about one fourth of this amount. This application of his basis of figuring, shows his system to be very faulty and must convince the most skeptical that his system could not apply to the proposed Cascade county any more than to Multnomah county. The proposed new county, with a population of 5,256, would cost $1.77 per capita. The population of the proposed Cascade county covers less territory than any of the counties above mentioned; consequently, it should be operated at a proportionately low cost.
     To the many who have voluntarily circulated the petitions and secured so large a percentage of the residents and voters in favor of the new county, and to the many other friends and supporters of the movement, the Cascade County committee wishes to express through the columns of the News-Letter their earnest thanks, and urge you to continue to press the matter to final victory, which we believe will be our reward.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer