The following historical editorial originally appeared in The Bend Bulletin on July 10, 1903.
There is enough state pride in Central Oregon to make it prefer railroad connection with Portland. But this is a raw country and it has not the capital necessary to build railroads or other large development agencies. The money must come from the centers of commerce and capital. In this case, if Portland is to have access to the Central Oregon country it must bestir itself to establish adequate lines of communication.
The sentiment of the matter will not weigh when it comes down to a question of cold business calculation. We need a railroad. If Portland will not throw out this lifeline — quite as much for Portland as for Central Oregon — we will accept the railroad from any direction it may come. The railroad is more important than is the direction of the approach. For many reasons we would prefer the extension of the Columbia Southern. Next in preference would be the Corvallis and Eastern. But if we cannot get either of those let a line come in from Ontario or Reno or any other old place.
Evidence of the fact that Portland is about past the stage of mumbling polite phrases to Mr. Harriman and is approaching the stage of action is supplied by the following gratifying paragraph in Monday’s Oregonian:
“If Harriman’s idea is to connect Central Oregon by rail from the south or east, then it is incumbent upon Portland to build without delay either from the Dalles south or else across the Cascades somewhere in the Santiam country connecting with the Southern Pacific. It is time to find out what his purpose is and then it will be time to act. Every capitalist should subscribe his thousands, every clerk his twenty. Protection of Portland’s railroad connections is as important to the city’s future as the Lewis and Clark fair.”
That’s the spirit that will get a railroad into Central Oregon and knit the commonwealth together in commercial and social, as well as political bonds. There is, of course, no question as to the substantial profit of the enterprise. If Portland will build the railroad, Central Oregon will do the rest.