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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  H.L. Bowlby


Ashland Tidings
September 15, 1913



State Official Talks at Length on Pacific Highway and Action of Jackson County in Voting the Bonds.

Oregonian: At the request of the Jackson county court, the state highway commission will take complete charge of the road construction work for which $500,000 in bonds were voted in Jackson county on Tuesday. The work will be supervised in person by Major H. L. Bowlby, state highway engineer.

Major Bowlby, who was in Portland yesterday, was pleased with the action of the Jackson county voters. He explained the purpose of the bonds and outlined his plans in the road work, which will be taken up at once.

"The $500,000 is to be spent for a modern, first-class highway, 24 feet wide, with a hard surface 16 feet wide," said Major Bowlby. "The entire bond issue is for the construction of one main trunk road, an extension of the Pacific Highway north through Jackson county from the California line to the Josephine county line. The distance is about 50 miles.

"The state highway commission already has a party in the field surveying the new road from the California line, where it joints the new California state highway, thence north over the Siskiyou mountains to Ashland. This stretch of 13 1/2 miles will be of new construction. The grading alone for this piece of road will cost $135,000 ad the hard surfacing as much more.

Much of Grading is Easy.

"There is little grading to do over the rest of the route. We shall let the contract for the grading as soon as possible on this section-sometime in October, probably-so that it can be completed and have time to settle through the winter. Then we can start hard-surfacing in the spring.

"The voting of these bonds is a big thing for Oregon. Jackson county is the first county in the state to take advantage of the county bonding act passed by the last legislature authorizing counties to issue road bonds up to 2 per cent of their assessed valuation. Jackson county's energetic action sets an example for other counties to follow.

"The present road over the Siskiyou mountains, known as the 'Dollar Hide toll road,' is bad. It is impassable at times and has grades as high as 20 to 30 per cent. The maximum grade on the new road will be 6 per cent. We expect to have the entire 50 miles of the highway in Jackson county hard-surfaced and completed by the end of next year, so that it will be open to travel in 1915, the San Francisco fair year.

Road Will Bring Tourists.

"Jackson county people are expecting this road to bring many 1915 tourists into the county, and it will. The county will get more back from the tourists coming through by automobiles than the entire road will cost them. The highway passes through Ashland, Medford, Central Point, Gold Hill and Rogue River.

"The building of this road, particularly the stretch over the Sisykiyou mountains, will not remove every difficulty for autoists between Portland and the California line, but it will remove one bad obstacle. There still will be a bad stretch through Douglas county. The people of that county, however, are already talking of a bond issue to improve this section of the highway."

Among the good roads workers of Jackson county, whose efforts resulted in the voting of the $500,000 bond issue are: George Putnam, of the Medford Mail Tribune; F. L. Tou Velle, county judge; W. H. Gore, W. M. Colvig, A. E. Reames and J. A. Perry, vice-president of the Pacific Highway Association for Jackson county

Other Counties May Follow.

"As one deeply interested in good roads I am especially pleased with the public spirit displayed by Jackson county," said Julius L. Meier, president of the Columbia Highway Association, yesterday.

"Now that Jackson county has pointed the way, I expect a rush on the part of other counties to vote good roads bonds. All that was needed was for one county to act first, and Jackson county has been especially liberal.

"It is only a question of a few years until every county in the state will have good roads within its boundaries, with fine trunk highways traversing the state. The benefit to the counties and to the state as a whole from these good roads will be enormous. No phase of the state's development is more important."

"Jackson county has shown a wonderfully progressive spirit in voting such a large bond issue," said Frank B. Riley, vice-president for Oregon of the Pacific Highway Association. "As soon as this road has been built and the great benefits it will bring have been demonstrated, as they soon will be, the other counties will be clamoring for roads as good. The start has been made by Jackson county and its peopple deserve much credit."

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