Pamplin Media Group – 100 years ago


75 Years Ago – Kah-Nee-Tah Operators Launch First Hidden Valley Boy Camp


June 29, 1922

The Pioneer reprints herewith for its readers a letter which appeared Monday this week in the Portland Journal under the signature of WJ Stebbins, a well-known farmer of Jefferson County northeast of Madras. Titled “A Landowners Protest”, the letter reads as follows:

Madras, June 21. – To the Editor of the Journal – In the Madras Pioneer of recent date, I see that G. Ed Ross, CPA, of Salem has finished auditing the books and records of the Jefferson County Conservancy district, better known as the North Unit. It reports that there has been expended and obligated by the district, as of the date of commencement of this report May 12, 1922, a total of $110,821.22. This document further states that “the detailed figures are of such volume and such difficulty in displaying correctly that it was deemed inadvisable to publish them”. For this reason they have not published them but rather offer to allow us to examine them at their office under the supervision of the district secretary.

What do you think, Mr taxpayer? Suppose county officials refuse to release a detailed statement of their expenditures for the above reasons. Would that satisfy you? Of course not. People have an inherent right to know how their money is being spent and only demand their fair contribution when they ask. They should have the opportunity to study the report at their leisure and in privacy. It has been rightly said that publicity is the safeguard of all free governments. In fact, it is the club that the people hold over all public officials to keep them on the straight and narrow. If I may allow myself to use this term “Americanism” which is much abused, I will say that publicly, in public affairs, it is essentially American.

Here we have the northern unit irrigation district, in which I am unfortunately a landowner, spending money profusely to force us into a contract, but thanks to the remarkable integrity of some of our officials and the high sense of fairness shown by some of the great papers of the State, this contract was withheld, blocked.

Given these facts, is it any wonder that we taxpayers demand that district accounts be made public?

WJ Stebbins

Mr. Stebbins is and has been identified with the citizens of the Jefferson Water Conservancy District, colloquially known as the “drys”, who in the past have fought from every angle. We have accepted their every move as a fight against the ultimate irrigation of these lands and we have fought them relentlessly, neither giving nor asking for quarter.

Today, we are more in favor of the irrigation of the “Northern Unit” than we have ever been. We are just as ready as usual to fight the “dry” down to the last drop of the hat.

We believe, however, that Mr. Stebbins has here proposed the surest and most effective methods of furthering the interests of the Jefferson Water Conservancy District and defeating those which his party of drys proposes which have never been offered.

In the past, as all available records reveal, the landowners of the proposed Irrigation District of over one hundred thousand acres have blindly supported the Board of Trustees in every decision they have made, at every election of the District of irrigation that took place and in every transaction that was made.

The irrigation district is no longer a new proposition with only a few qualified people with the knowledge to run the affairs of the corporation. Over the years, every landowner has become a more or less proficient student of irrigation. He studied the matter, talked about it, and read it through the columns. Each of them knows at least enough about the irrigation game until they are more interested than ever in board dealings.

By waging the long and arduous struggle that the district has been through and by compiling the necessary statistics and getting the important groundwork done that needs to be done, the board has come to realize that it is their duty to spend a considerable amount of money.

This money was raised by the District Landowners Tax. Some of them claim they haven’t had enough publicity about how this money is being spent. The time was when the district was young that it could not reasonably feel compelled to spend the money necessary for this publication.

The district is now a large corporation, handling large amounts of the people’s money, and it is the opinion of many ratepayers, in which this paper agrees, that proper publicity should be given to the expenses and district transactions.

With all concerned knowing these matters freely and fully, it would only be a matter of a short time before harmony existed universally and those against irrigation found themselves so solidly outnumbered in opinion public that they would realize the desperation of their fight. .

Not only the landowners in the district, but virtually every ratepayer in the county is vital and personally interested in the success of the project. Every man, woman and child, with a few notable “dry” exceptions, wants to help the board in any way they can to lend their assistance and prestige. Many of them have poured their time and money into one goal, to help the Board, whenever called upon and wherever they have the opportunity.

The Jefferson Water Conservancy District is a good thing and should succeed. Three hundred or more enlightened and intelligent ratepayers familiar with the dealings of the constituency constitute an incalculable force whose power would be far reaching.

Publicity dispels doubt, offers friends the opportunity to help, clears the air of public opinion, and cements and strengthens the organization.

We believe this change in policy on the part of the council would be far reaching for the success of the district.


June 27, 1946

Dr. FB Freeland, a Portland physician who, with Mrs. Freeland, operates a recreation and health resort, Kah-Nee-Tah Hot Springs, on the Warm Springs River, near the center of the Indian Reservation of that name just west of here announced while here earlier this week that the Hidden Valley Boys camp has been set up there this year. Thirty boys, from Portland and neighboring points, have already arrived. They range in age from seven to 15, says Dr Freeland. Another contingent of 20 people is expected to arrive next Monday.

Swimming, fishing, horseback riding, pageantry and other activities will be offered at the camp, Dr Freeland said. Paul Dalgeish of Portland is the camp director.

Dr. Freeland, while here, exhibited bricks, just pressed from clay and sand found near the hot springs. Analysis of the materials, it was said, reveals them to be ideal for making bricks and tiles. Due to the scarcity of other building materials, Dr. and Mrs. Freeland plan to make a quantity of bricks and tiles to expand their resort property. They say they can manufacture the building materials in sufficient quantities to supply builders in Madras and other nearby central Oregon points.

You rely on us to stay informed and we rely on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.


Comments are closed.