Page:History of Willamette Railroad.djvu/17

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The Narrow Gauge Railroad

Charles F. Crocker and Timothy Hopkins, controlled the Southern Pacific. This second merging of the two railroads of the Willamette Valley (the first by Villard in 1881), was a disappointment to Oregon citizens, who had hoped for competitive activities.[1]

A corporation, formed by Reid to build the Ray's Landing bridge, called the Oregonian Railway Bridge Company, incorporated at Portland, July 21, 1886, capital, $100,000, but the merging with Southern Pacific interests in 1887 made the bridge project superfluous. This bridge was repeatedly authorized by the Oregon Legislature.[2]

The "seizure" of the public levee at Portland for a terminal by William Reid and his Portland and Willamette Valley Railway, made many vexing episodes in the progress of the extension to that city. This property on the river bank at foot of Jefferson Street had been bestowed upon the city by Stephen Coffin, one of the proprietors of the townsite, for public wharfage purposes. It was situated just where Reid needed his terminal, and Reid proceeded to appropriate it through the Legislature, against protests of Portland. This action had the support of farmers of the Willamette Valley, who desired to afford an outlet for the narrow gauge system. The Legislature made two grants of the levee, the first in 1880,[3] the second in 1885.[4] The first franchise was awarded to the Oregonian Railway Company over Governor Thayer's veto, but the act was defeated in the supreme court of Oregon in March, 1881,[5] but judge M. P. Deady in the United States circuit court allowed temporary use of the levee pending the suit. This franchise lapsed by its own limitations, because the narrow gauge extension was not built before expiration of the time limit for completion, July 1, 1882.

The second award of the levee, this time to the Portland

  1. See The Oregonian, July 8, 1889, for history of control by Southern Pacific On May 5, the Pacific Improvement company acquired for the Southern Pacific, stock control of the Oregonian Railway Company, but not control of the bond ownership until 1889.
  2. See session laws 1887, pp. 339–40; also session laws, 1889.
  3. See session laws, pp. 57–60.
  4. See session laws, pp. 100–06 .
  5. See 9 Oregon 231, Oregonian Railway Company vs. City of Portland.