Real Progress Made By Bend, Miller Notes

Future Is Uncertain

Director of Bend Public Service Company Concerned Over Power Source Problem Presented by Irrigation Development.

Gratification at the substantial progress made by Bend, satisfaction with the showing made by his company through changing war and post-war conditions, and concern over what he looks on as an eventual complete undermining of the company’s investment in Bend through the various irrigation development programs now under consideration, was expressed Wednesday by Kempster B. Miller, director of the Bend Water, Light & Power Co. In a statement made to The Bulletin shortly before leaving Bend after a week’s visit in the city from head quarters in Chicago, ho expressed a desire to cooperate in reaching a fair solution of the problem.

In his statement, Mr. Miller said: ”I have spent the last ten days looking over the general conditions in Bend and examining the affairs of the Bend Water, Light & Power company. I think the people of Bend have reason for gratification at the progress the city, has made during recent years. While there has been no great Increase in population, signs of substantial, improvement are everywhere apparent. The fact that mills and other industries are. Turning full time, and that there is work for all who want it are Impressive to one familiar with business conditions in the east.”

 

Rate Stays Low

“I am satisfied with the showing the Bend Water, Light & Power company has made, considering the turmoil and general upsetting of business conditions during and following the war. When we under took the operation of this property about ten years ago, Mr. Brown, Mr. Foley and I set for ourselves as a standard, the best possible service at the lowest possible rates. It is gratifying to us to realize that we were not compelled to ask for an increase of rates during or since the war; although prices went up by leaps and bounds all over the United States. Our rates are probably as low as any in the United States, with few if any exceptions. This is in part due to the fact that we develop our power in the city of Bend; our power plant is in the center of our distribution system.”

“I am satisfied with the showing the Bend Water, Light & Power company has made, considering the turmoil and general upsetting of business conditions during and following the war. When we under took the operation of this property about ten years ago, Mr. Brown, Mr. Foley and I set for ourselves as a standard, the best possible service at the lowest possible rates. It is gratifying to us to realize that we were not compelled to ask for an increase of rates during or since the war; although prices went up by leaps and bounds all over the United States. Our rates are probably as low as any in the United States, with few if any exceptions. This is in part due to the fact that we develop our power in the city of Bend; our power plant is in the center of our distribution system.”

“I am of course somewhat concerned about the situation regarding our future power supply. I find that the Water board has granted water permits tor irrigation that will in effect destroy our power plant by taking away practically all its water. It seems to permit the taking away of our property piece meal, by the various irrigation interests.”

Many Projects Starting

“The North Canal company is about to start impounding water at Crane Prairie; the Tumalo district is planning storage at Crescent lake; as soon as its financing arrangements are made the North Unit will, begin work on the Benham Falls reservoir. Each one of those activities will take a part of the river flow necessary to the operation of our plant. While we desire to cooperate in every way possible with the state and the irrigationists in the final utilization of the waters of the Deschutes for the greatest public benefit, we cannot of course submit to any — such undermining of our investment. Until the matter is straightened out by making definite provision for repaying us for the property which It is proposed to destroy it will be impossible for us to secure additional money tor the construction of a new plant.”

“The destruction of this power plant and the proper provision for its replacement is a matter in which the citizens of Bend, no less than the power company, are vitally concerned. The location of the plant within the city limits and the substantial character of its construction are important factors in the very low rates for power and light and in the uninterrupted service which the city enjoys.”

Recompense Expected

“In conclusion, I have no fault to find with the taking away of our water for irrigation purposes if the best interests of the community demand such action. In fact I feel sure that I am speaking for my associates well as myself in saying that we shall do all we can to cooperate in reaching a fair solution of this difficult problem. On the other hand it is to the interests of both Bend are the company to see to it that money invested in good faith in a public service enterprise shall not be wiped out until definite and adequate recompense is provided.”

Source: Bend Bulletin