FINANCIAL HISTORY OF OREGON 107 cational funds during the preceding eight years is particularly severe : "It is the opinion of the committee that the school fund, as it appears in the report of the board is not worth fifty cents on the dollar. "That this magnificent educational fund has been depleted about one-half by criminal carelessness and wilful neglect of duty, within the past eight years, is beyond question. While the members of the board may not be subject to a criminal prosecution, yet, in righteous indignation an outraged people should remember it against them." 1 The insolvency developed by the hard times of the nineties might be expected to exhibit itself in connection with the school fund loans. The governor's message for 1897 in speak- ing of the "loans of the school fund" has the following : "In connection with the state lands, it needs to be men- tioned that loans of the school funds, in many instances, owing to the hard times and over-valuation of the land, have proven bad investments and entailed losses upon the school fund. In many of these loans the borrowers have defaulted in payment of interest, arid the state has been compelled to take the se- curity and to pay the cost of foreclosure. These judgments represent, in addition to the principal loaned and the costs of suit, a large accumulation of interest. . . . Another source of loss and annoyance is the sale of land for taxes two or three years overdue, without notice to the board, thus entailing fur- ther expenses in redeeming them." 2 Experience like this last exhibits a strange lack of co-ordination of effort among some of Oregon's public servants. The governor's message of 1903 reports 162 farms on hand on January first, 1901, acquired through foreclosure of mort- gages given to secure school fund loans. Thirty-eight were acquired during the biennium and eighty-one sold, leaving seventy-three owned by the state at the time of the report. In i Report of the Committee of Investigation, 1878, pp. 26-7. sGovernor's message, 1897, P- 18.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/115
This page needs to be proofread.