Portland Railway, Light and Power Company
The Portland Railway, Light and Power Company was a railway company and electric power utility in Portland, Oregon, United States, from 1906 until 1924. A series of mergers of various transportation companies in 1905–1906 culminating in the merger of the Portland Railway Company; Oregon Water, Power and Railway Company; and the Portland General Electric Company on June 28, 1906 established the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company (PRL&P). Nearly 200 miles of track and 375 urban and interurban streetcars were thereupon consolidated under a single company. Upon its formation, PRL&P became the only company to operate streetcars within Portland city limits; it also continued to sell electric power. The name, Portland General Electric (PGE), remained in use as a division of PRL&P and, after subsequent reorganizations in 1930 and 1940 eventually PGE became once again fully independent as a power utility company, making PGE in some ways both an ancestor and a descendant of PRL&P.
By 1910, PRL&P was a $15 million holding company, having received 43 franchises from the city of Portland, mostly in the form of land grants. It was a monopoly, and "liable to anti-trust action under the Sherman Act." The company only installed safety devices (such as pedestrian bumpers) on its streetcars after "extreme public pressure." While PRL&P installed many public streetlights, the city council complained about the power rates charged to the city.
PRL&P was reorganized as the Portland Electric Power Company (PEPCO) on April 26, 1924.
One former PRL&P streetcar building, the company's Sellwood Division Carbarn Office and Clubhouse, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. The company's 1911 hydroelectric facility in Estacada, Oregon, the River Mill Hydroelectric Project, is also listed on the NRHP.
- Thompson, Richard H. (2006). Portland's Streetcars, pp. 57 and 99. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3115-4.
- Labbe, John T. (1980). Fares Please! Those Portland Trolley Years, pp. 118–123. Caldwell, ID (US): Caxton. ISBN 0-87004-287-4.
- Tucker, Kathy (2003). "Portland Railway Company Car (photo)". Oregon Historical Society.
- MacColl, E. Kimbark (November 1976). The Shaping of a City: Business and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1885 to 1915. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press Company. p. 10. OCLC 2645815.
- Cited in MacColl as "American Banker", May 28, 1910
- Dodds, Linda; Dodds, Gordon (June 1, 2001). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Portland Railway, Light and Power Sellwood Division Carbarn Office and Clubhouse (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
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