Millers Demands Joint Rate
Moritz Thomsen Explains to Railroad commission Injury to Puget Sound Industry by Refusal to Revise Tariff
Validity of Acts Under Which Body is Working Questions by Defendants-New Stations Are Demanded
Seattle Daily Times June 21, 1907
The Times Special Service.
OL.YMPIA, Friday, June 21—The joint wheat hearing began before the Railroad Commission at 11 o’clock to day. The first witness called on behalf of the complainant.- was Moritz Thomsen of the Centennial Mills at Seattle. ,
Thomson testified that the refusal of the railroads to make a join rate on wheat was injurious to the millers on Puget Sound for the reason that a particular grade of bluestem wheat which is grown particularly in the Oregon Railroad & Navigation territory In Eastern Washington cannot be delivered to the flouring mills on Puget Sound because of the lack of a joint rate. He testified that this particular grade of wheat is necessary for blending purposes in the manufacture of certain grades of flour, but the present sum of the two local rates which the railroad would collect for transporting it makes the price prohibitory for use on Puget Sound. Thomson had not concluded his testimony at noon recess.
Validity of Commission Attacked
When the hearing began this morning all of the railroads represented filed objections to the hearing and attacked the validity of the railroad commission as constituted by the laws of 1906 and 1907. The objections were overruled by the commission and the hearing ordered to proceed. The answer was then filed by the railroads. The roads represented at the hearing are the Great Northern by Judge M. J. Gordon of Spokane, the Northern Pacific by Judge B. F. Grosscup of Tacoma, the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company by Judge Snow and J. Q. Wilson and the Spokane & Inland by Senator Will Graves.
All of the railroads object in their answers to the establishment of a joint rate except the Spokane & Inland Electric Interurban line, which indicates in its answer that it is will to accept the joint rate order with exception if its line into Spokane, where it has no competition with the Northern I Pacific. There are several millers here from the Puget Sound as well as farmers and wheat growers from Eastern Washington whose testimony will be taken today and tomorrow.
The railroad commission yesterday conducted a formal hearing on the complaints filed some weeks ago demanding that suitable freight and passenger stations be constructed at Mesa, in Franklin County, and Yelm, In Thurston County both on the line of the Northern Pacific Railway Company.
Judeo Grosscup appeared on behalf of the railway company, and before the taking of testimony had begun confessed to the justice of the complaint regarding the lack of a proper station, and promised for his company that a station would be built there within a reasonable time. The commission announced that an order would be entered in this case requiring the railroad to build the Mesa station within ninety days.
The railroad company contested the Yelm complaint, on the ground, first, of lack of business, and second, because one of the mills located about a mile and a half from Yelm proposes to establish a townsite at its plant, and this would probably take away considerable of the present business of Yelm.
Agent Witness Against the Road
Four -witnesses from Yelm gave evidence in behalf of the complainants and they made a strong showing- One of them is the present agent of the railroad, it being a flag station, and it was shown that sufficient business is done there to practically pay the wages of a competent agent and operator. It is also claimed that if the new townsite is opened as predicted, its business will nearly all be carried on through Yelm.
It is believed that the strong showing made by the complainants will result in an order being issued by the commission requiring a new station building be constructed at Yelm, and an agent and operator installed there.