Downtown Pomeroy Washington, 1908

News from the

East Washingtonian newspaper logotype

August, 1919

Page 1 and Page 4


We the undersigned merchants of Pomeroy, realizing the serious condition of the sugar situation, have decided to protect the public as far as possible, and in order to do this we are going to ask the public to help us by using as little sugar as possible.

We have been notified that it is possible that we will not be able to get any more sugar until after January 1st, and in order to make what sugar we have go as far as possible we have decided to sell to each family $2 worth of sugar at a time, and when you have used that amount; come back and get another $2 worth. We are not making any iron clad rules but we are willing to put this matter up to the Honor of the public, for we could sell every sack of sugar in Pomeroy within a week, but this would leave a lot of people out of sugar, and we feel that the public will appreciate our stand in the matter, and will give their best efforts to help conserve what sugar we have.

Don't buy sugar from one merchant and then go and try to buy sugar from another merchant, for if you do you have not been honest with your neighbor.

There may be exceptions to the above rules, where there are large crews of men working, and in cases like that it will be up to the merchants to use their best judgement as to how much sugar they should have.

This is an honor proposition, and we feel that the public will back us up in this matter.

Dated this 27th day of August, 1919.






The remainder of this story appeared in the editorial section of the E-W:

The following, which appeared in the Daily Oregonian of August 26, shows the cause of the unexpected depletion of the sugar supply for the Pacific coast:

"Diversion of 200,000 sacks of western sugar into eastern states to relieve the shortage that has been acute there for weeks was announced in messages received by wholesale grocers in Portland yesterday. Refiners of California, Washington, Utah, Idaho and California have been instructed by the sugar equalization board to place their product at the disposal of people who for some time have not been able to make purchases in more than two-pound allotments.

"As a result people of the Pacific coast will be required to curb their appetites for sweets. With present raw stocks at the refineries sufficient only to care for orders already filed, and with orders somewhat behind, the refiners are not taking an optimistic view of the situation. New beet sugar had been expected on the western market about September 15, but the diversion of 200,000 bags to relieve the eastern conditions upsets all calculations as to future supply, dealers say. It is estimated that raw material will not be available for this section until some time in January.

First attention is to be given packers and canners who are processing the fruit crop of the northwest, according to wholesale men, in order that there may be no loss of products. This, it is said, will make household economy in the use of sugar an imperative necessity, and even then the available stocks may not be adequate.

Card System Unlikely

"A situation akin to war days is expected to exist in the west as it has in the east for some time, but the card system will probably not be brought into vogue, for the reason, as one dealer expressed it, "that there will be no use for a card system if there is no sugar."

Announcement of the critical condition of the sugar market came as a clap of thunder from a clear, sky to refiners and wholesalers, who had no intimation of the impending diversion of stocks. They had made no preparations for the emergency they now are called upon to meet, dealers say, and are looking to consumers to practice the most rigid economy in the use of sugar in order to prolong the supply.

Stocks Not Plentiful

"That the sugar stocks in Portland are far from the high-water mark was the statement made yesterday by a representative of the wholesalers. And with the expected stocks of new beet sugar unavailable on September 15, as expected, the prediction was made that housewives of Oregon probably would feel the pinch, even as their sisters of eastern states have for some weeks past. The announcement comes in the midst of the fruit-canning season, when the domestic demand is at its height. A sudden slump in the call for fruit for canning, it is feared, will follow."