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Mail Tribune 100

Nov. 17, 1915

Editorial: What is the Matter?

What is the matter with the Rogue River valley? Lack of development.

How can it be remedied?

By securing development enterprises that create increased production, furnish payrolls and consume local products.

Production must be increased and a market created for the output.

Irrigation will increase production and give us diversified and intensive agriculture.

The beet sugar factory will supply a fixed market for the product, furnish a payroll, stimulate stock-raising by furnishing cheap feed.

Everyone likes to live in the Rogue River valley — but families are daily leaving because they cannot find work and make a living. There is no sale for property, because it is too unproductive to render a justifiable return on prices asked.

In pioneer days, with large donation homesteads and sparse population, the valley easily supported its people.

Conditions have changed. The methods that supported 3,500 people will not support 35,000. The valley must meet the changed conditions or gradually lose the population it has gained.

An irrigation system is within reach for a large portion of the valley — and they refuse to reach for it.

A beet sugar factory is within grasp — and the most vitally affected will not co-operate to secure it.

A large percentage of the population are apparently willing to see land values continue to slump, the balance of trade continue on the wrong side of the ledger, unwilling to aid in securing industries that spell prosperity.

Times have changed. It is no longer possible to eke out a shabby existence by scratching a few acres, raising a few hogs at neighbor's expense, violating game laws and gaffing sore-back salmon. The surface-scratched land has become exhausted, the neighbors have fenced their holdings, and game wardens guard the spawning riffles. The idyllic existence of the "good old times" has gone forever.

Land values are created by population. As the population increases or diminishes, so does the value of land. Property in Medford with 10,000 population is not worth a third of what it will be worth with 50,000 population. A farm in the valley with 35,000 population is not worth near as much as with a 100,000 population to furnish market for products and buyers for land. To support the increased population, development of resources is essential.