The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., April 23, 1908, page 6


     The adjourned meeting of the Apple Growers' Union was held Saturday at the opera house, the principal question being the increasing of the capital stock for the purpose of building a cold storage warehouse. While there was a fair crowd present, yet at roll call it lacked 20 shares of being a quorum, but it was decided that an informal discussion of the question be made, and a couple of hours was devoted to it.
     Secretary Sproat explained the object of the adjourned meeting, calling attention to the circular letter which was sent out to the members previously, and said that he would take up the physical points of the question, leaving the financial part to others of the board. Mr. Sproat said that a warehouse of a capacity of 100,000 boxes of apples should be constructed. It would cost but little more for this size than for a building of half the capacity. The question of location had been discussed by the board and the most feasible one was the ground owned by the Hood River Supply Co., if it could be obtained, and which was just across the road from the present warehouse of the union. Nearly all of the stockholders of the supply company were also stockholders of the union, and as the interests were mutual, he thought there would be no difficulty in merging the two corporations if it was deemed advisable. A two-story building could be made that would put the lower floor on a line with the present warehouse and the upper story would be on the line with Columbia street. They had tried to secure from the O.R. & N. along the right of way, and in line with the present warehouse, but were only able to secure 50 feet directly east of the present building. The O.R. & N. officials said that they would not let any more space go, as they were reserving it were their own business. The Davidson Fruit Co. hold all the land from their warehouse to the water tank.      It is proposed to put up a building 100X100 feet, three stories, or its equivalent in space, depending on the location of the ground. Those with experience in construction of cold storage buildings tell us that a wooden building is preferable to any other. It can be put up with air spaces and will be a better conductor of heat and cold.
     The cost of such a building as we need will be from $12,000 to $15,000. The refrigerator plant will cost about $10,000, outside of the power. Two engines of 15-ton ice capacity will be required. The motor or engine for such power will cost about $500. The power feature in, therefore, not very expensive. An ice producing plant in addition will cost only about $500, and as it would make all the ice required for icing cars, it would be very desirable. We now pay $6 a ton for ice and it could be made for $1 a ton after the machinery was in. All the early apples shipped have to be iced and were so sent out last year. It takes about six tons of ice per car, so there would be a big saving by having our own ice plant.
     We must have a capital of $25,000 to handle a plant of a capacity of 100,000 boxes. The plan of raising the money will be lett to E.H. Shepherd, who will explain this feature of the project, as discussed by the directors of the union.
     Mr. Shepherd said that the directors were presenting the whole matter for consideration only. All were realizing the necessity of the cold storage plant in the valley. In previous years we have not needed it. The crops were small and sold quick. This year it will be different. On account of the panic last fall and resulting dull times in the east, buyers will be cautious and we may be unable to ship promptly. We may be unable to get cars when we want them. If the apples are held too long it will result in a greater loss than the price of the cold storage plant, when we have a half million boxes to ship.
     I saw the affects of this last year at Colfax, Dayton, Grainger, Wenatchee and Yakima. There was a good deal of complaints about apples not keeping. They had no cold storage facilities and could not get cars when they were ready to ship. The result was a loss, cancellation of contracts in some cases and rejection of apples later.
     If each grower should build a cold storage plant it would not take the place of a central plant. A central plant would save cost of acting collectively. We realize the importance of the move, but are here to find out the pleasure of the stockholders in the matter. If we build a plant it will take money. The question is, do we want a plant or not? We would like to see a much larger meeting before we decide. We have 181 shares of stock, and only 70 shares and 50 members are represented here at this meeting. We ought to impress upon the absent ones the importance of attending instead of sending proxies.
     If the union and the supply company are merged, there would be $6,000 of assets of the union to be turned in and about $4,000 for the supply company. It would take $25,000 to build and equip the new plant. This plan would provide for a few years for the future. The building would be so constructed as to build onto it when necessary to increase the capacity. There will be a time when additional plants will be needed in the valley, but the central plant would provide for present needs for a time.
     There are now about 150 stockholders. If these put up an average of $100, or $15,000, the balance of the money could be raised by mortgage on the plant. If the whole amount could be raised it would be much better. We feel that every man who endorses the plan will contribute to its support. Those who cannot pay cash can give their notes, and these can be used at the banks the same as cash. There would be no difficulty in raising $15,000. If we can raise this amount we can go ahead and build this plant, if it is the wish of the union.
     The question of the few finally getting control of the project and running it to suit themselves was a question that has had consideration, and the directors decided that it could be avoided by limiting the amount of stock which could be sold to any one member, and that this amount should be placed at $500. It was suggested that the amount of stock each should take be based on his acreage of orchard. For instance one who had ten acres or less, take $100 worth of stock; 20 acres, $200; 30 acres, $300, and so on up to $500. If the amount was limited to $500 that the each man might hold, it would be impossible for a few to control to the detriment of the rest.
     There is another point: it might be necessary to sell a few shares of stock to businessmen of the town to raise the required amount, with the understanding that the stock would be sold to growers when they were able to take it up. It would then be necessary to make the stock bear interest, but not have the interest large enough to make it an object for anyone to try and accumulate large blocks of it. The plant would produce revenue by charging a storage fee of so much per box.
     AC. Staten said he thought the proposition was a good one and that he endorsed it. When the larger growers of the valley are interested in building a plant for the benefit of the smaller growers it was showing a feeling of fraternalism that was commendable. The time would soon come when the smaller growers need not fear the combination of the big growers. He was willing to trust to the guidance of the directors in the proposition.
     J.I. Miller said he was in favor of the project.
     Thos. Avery said that he had nothing particular to say except that he was willing to invest $100.
     A.I. Mason said that he thought there was no diversity of opinion as to the advisability of building a cold storage warehouse, but there was a question of the method to pursue. Was it practical or possible to limit the sale of stock? We cannot limit the sale of stock to one another. It will enhance in value. The building will also cost more than we figure on it, as is always the case in new enterprises. Mr. Mason thought it ought to be controlled through a cooperative association.
     E.L. Smith said that while he was not now a grower he was interested in the valley as much as ever. He said that no provision was being made for the future large crops of the valley, and it must be done. It would be necessary to provide cold storage for the early apples and Spitzenbergs, but he thought the Yellow Newtons could be taken care of all right in good apples houses. He thought that the matter of control of stock could be handled by the union making a ruling that all stock which owners desire to sell must be first offered to the union, and if it was going into undesirable hands it could be taken up by the union and put back into the treasury.
     Murray Kay said that the meeting was getting away from the real question. The matter of detail was an after consideration and must be worked out with a good deal of study. The main point was to know the sentiment of the growers and he moved that a rising vote be taken on the question whether or not the union could build a cold storage warehouse. John Gleason seconded the motion and said that he endorsed the proposition and that the directors of the union deserves credit for proposing the plan.
     A.I. Mason wanted the motion made broad enough to make the plan a co-operative one, so that the schemers could be weeded out and the stock could not be controlled by a few.
     A.C. Staten offered a substitute motion that we are in favor of the erection of a warehouse and ice plant. The motion was carried.
     J.H. Shoemaker thought that the union should go ahead anyway, on the best plan that could be devised.
     C.H. Sproat said that the directors felt that it was impossible to satisfy everyone. They expected that some would disagree. The question was whether it would be a benefit. If the majority will subscribe $15,000 worth of stock it can be put through. If they cannot unite on the present plan some other plan will be considered.
     J.L. Carter said he had confidence that growers can get together. He would not want anyone to control the stock and did not believe there was any disposition to do so. The directors had submitted a plan and he was ready to adopt it. He believed in harmony.
     Mr. Sproat said that if anyone had a good plan to offer, which was a legal one, they would adopt it.
     Mr. Shepherd said that he never saw any disposition on the part of anyone to buy shares to control the association. He again urged upon those present to bring in members at the next meeting.
     Mr. Smith said that he had drawn up the articles of incorporation of both unions and believed in co-operation on those unions. Differences of opinion disturb the harmony of these meetings and should not come up. Harmony was essential to the well being of the valley.
     The meeting was adjourned to next Saturday at 2 p.m..

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer