Timeline, 1964

Cheese War

Event DateEventSource (See key below.)
1-27-1964      Cheese & Dairy sought an injunction in federal court that would order County Creamery to stop threatening legal action against dealers who handle Premium Brand cheese. Cheese & Dairy said that County Creamery sent letters to dealers saying that Cheese & Dairy did not have the right to use “Tillamook” in selling its cheese.Oregonian, 1-28-1964  
2-18-1964 to 2-19-1964Ray McMahon, Cheese & Dairy’s ice cream maker, won the sweepstakes trophy at the Oregon dairy convention in Corvallis. Fritz Baumgartner, head cheesemaker, received a gold certificate for fresh and aged cheddar cheese.H-H, 3-1-1964
2-26-1964      Fred Meyer grocery stores promoted Cheese & Dairy’s cheese. For Lent, the grocery chain advertised sale prices on Premium Brand medium sharp cheddar and Premium Brand sharp cheddar.Oregonian, 2-26-1964    
3-16-1964 to 3-20-1964In response to a suit filed by Otto Schild in the fall of 1963 against Cheese & Dairy, Judge Avery Combs ruled that the action would be held in abatement until County Creamery was also named as a defendant.  

Schild, a dairy farmer who often sided with manager Beale Dixon on issues, sought payment for milk he shipped to Cheese & Dairy. In July and August of 1963, Cheese & Diary did not pay its shippers. During that time period, County Creamery did not pay Cheese & Dairy for milk that County Creamery received and sold.  
H-H, 3-22-1964
3-22-1964Under the direction of Basil Tone, Cheese & Dairy will produce a 10,000-pound Premium Brand cheese for a California supermarket.  

The cheese promotion was one result of a marketing push led by Vern Lucas, chairman of the Cheese & Dairy sales committee.  
H-H, 3-22-1964
3-27-1964In federal court, Judge William East issued a preliminary injunction after a two-day hearing. Judge East ruled that Cheese & Dairy is permitted to label its cheese “Premium Brand” and can use “Tillamook” to refer to its corporate name and geographic location.  

Judge East will preside over a trademark trial in May in Portland. In dispute is use of the word “Tillamook” to label cheese produced by Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Association.  

Judge East decreed, “Tillamook County Creamery Association is enjoined and restrained from threatening TC&DA’s brokers, dealers, distributors, customers and potential customers with action for trade-mark infringement of the trade-mark “Tillamook” in connection with the sale of cheese.”  
Oregonian, 3-28-1964   H-H, 3-29-1964    
5-4-1964 to 5-8-1964Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover filed federal antitrust suits against County Creamery. Cheese & Dairy asked for damages of more than $7 million. Red Clover sought damages of more than $660,000.  Oregonian, 5-10-1964
5-8-1964  Chief Federal Judge Gus Solomon called on all parties to dismiss all suits filed and submit to arbitration by a court-appointed attorney.  

Judge Solomon issued his arbitration request on Friday, May 8. The next day, both Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover agreed to arbitration. County Creamery was not able to respond because some of its board members could not be reached.  

Attorneys for the cooperatives will meet with Judge Solomon on Tuesday.   Referring to the trademark case, Judge Solomon said, “The longer this case goes along, the greater the damage will be done to the county and everyone in it.”  
Oregonian, 5-10-1964
5-12-1964On Tuesday morning, an attorney representing Cheese & Dairy told Chief Federal Judge Gus Solomon that Cheese & Dairy’s board members had voted unanimously to accept arbitration.  

Pierre Kolisch, attorney for County Creamery, said the directors of that cooperative had voted unanimously to reject the proposed arbitration.  

The Oregon Journal reported, “Rejection of the proposal brought a flash of anger to Judge Solomon’s face. ‘If you have such a fine record and justice on your side, you shouldn’t have any reluctance to submit to arbitration’,“ he snapped.  

The Portland Reporter said that attorney Kolisch told Judge Solomon that County Creamery directors “are unanimous in their stand and would insist on a court battle ‘to the end’.”  

The chief judge said he would not hear the trademark case because he felt so strongly about the matter. Instead, Judge William East will preside over the May trial.  

Judge Solomon said he had received many letters from cooperatives, councils and farmers supporting arbitration or negotiation. Groups urging arbitration included Oregon State University, Agricultural Cooperative Council of Oregon, and Tillamook Farmers Cooperative.  
Journal, 5-13-1964   Oregonian, 5-13-1964   Portland Reporter, 5-13-1964
5-1964According to the Headlight-Herald, several Tillamook church congregations were asked to help end the court battles in the Tillamook dairy industry.  H-H, 5-17-1964
5-17-1964In a letter to the editor, published more than a week after the no-arbitration vote, John Craven, president of County Creamery, did not mention arbitration.   In his letter, Craven urged rebel farmers to “return to the high road of success where we know that the familiar trail will lead to even greater name and fame for Tillamook County dairy products—and to a mutual prosperity for all.”  H-H, 5-17-1964
5-17-1964Ferd Becker, a farmer loyal to Cheese & Dairy, supported arbitration in his letter to the editor.  

Becker wrote, “To begin with, the whole feud began when the Tillamook Cheese & Dairy board of directors, which represent the large cheese and Grade A operation north of Tillamook, discharged Mr. Dixon from any further services for them, and then moved to have him discharged as secretary-manager of the Tillamook County Creamery Association but failed to get sufficient votes. The reasons were brought out at producers meetings and are on record for inspection.  

“Then at the annual meeting of the producers of Tillamook Cheese & Dairy in February 1963, two directors who had supported Mr. Dixon were defeated for re-election. Sensing the ultimate result, a meeting was held by the directors of the six smaller factories with Mr. Dixon and Mr. McMinimee in attendance as was testified to in the court trial of May 1963. It was planned and passed at the next Tillamook County Creamery Association board meeting to change the by-laws which caused the Tillamook Cheese & Dairy to lose four director representatives on the county board. By this maneuver, the six outlying factory (sic) voted to retain the manager and the four remaining directors from Tillamook and the Red Clover director voted to discharge. These two factories having had 62% of the total cheese milk production. TC&DA and Red Clover then gave notice of withdrawal from the county association and their memberships were then cancelled by the TCCA, and so began arranging for their own selling agency.  

“The attorneys for both groups began negotiations to settle by exchange or otherwise the various properties in dispute. During this time the new Premium Brand cheese by Tillamook Cheese & Dairy appeared on the market and all negotiations ceased, and let me state here that the negotiations were NOT cut off by Tillamook Cheese & Dairy.  

“Following this, Tillamook Cheese & Dairy cheese buyers and handlers were threatened with lawsuits if they handled or sold the Premium Brand cheese if they used the word ‘Tillamook,’ and even attempted to discourage the financing of their cheese. How can any person justify such action as to try to prevent Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Association from selling their own cheese produced in Tillamook by Tillamook people when, at the same time Tillamook County Creamery Association is buying out of state cheese by the carload. What do they intend to do with this cheese? It won’t be sold as hamburger, surely.  

“I challenge Mr. Dixon or any of his directors any time to all the facts involved in this sad issue, and when the people demand and can get all the facts without individuals being threatened and demand the trouble be arbitrated, only then will the issue be settled.”  
H-H, 5-17-1964
5-21-1964On the first day of a multi-day trademark trial in federal court, Judge William East ruled that the Premium Brand label in use on Cheese & Dairy’s cheese was not a trademark infringement.  

During the trial, initiated by County Creamery to limit the use of “Tillamook” to its cheese exclusively, Beale Dixon testified that County Creamery had received about 800,000 pounds of cheese from Minnesota. Dixon said he had not decided if the Minnesota cheese would be marketed as Tillamook cheese.  
Oregonian, 5-22-1964   Journal , 5-22-1964  
5-24-1964  In a letter to the editor, Del Mayer, Cheese & Dairy board member, reviewed the issues that caused Cheese & Dairy to dismiss Beale Dixon and later separate from County Creamery.  

Mayer wrote, “We disagreed with the TCCA manager’s policy of making newspaper statements advocating lower grade A milk prices, without authorization from the TCCA board of directors or from TC&DA whose members produce all of Tillamook’s grade A milk.  

Mayer said that Cheese & Dairy halted the loan program that Beale Dixon conducted—loans of $200,000 for every 20,000 pounds of milk sold to Alpenrose in Portland. Alpenrose loaned the funds to stores, but Alpenrose was not required to pay back the loans if stores defaulted.  

Rebel farmers backed efforts by Oregon dairymen to create a voluntary milk marketing program. Beale Dixon was opposed.  

County Creamery reported an increase in product losses, including a loss of more than 225,000 pounds in fiscal year 1962-63.  

“When TC&DA directors attempted to find and eliminate the cause of these increased losses and attempted to determine how they were being charged to the factories, they met opposition from TCCA officials and to date it appears that TCCA still has done nothing to determine the cause of these abrupt increases in product loss,” wrote Mayer.  

Cheese & Dairy found out by chance that Granny Goose Company was marketing a Tillamook cheese spread in pressurized cans, and then learned that Granny Goose had been given the exclusive right to use “Tillamook” on its product—without the knowledge or authorization of Cheese & Dairy directors or County Creamery directors. (Beale Dixon must have authorized Granny Goose to put “Tillamook” on its cans of pressurized cheese.)  

County Creamery imported about 400 tons of Minnesota cheese. “Every resident of this county should be gravely concerned about the cheapening of the Tillamook reputation which has undoubtedly occurred as a result,” wrote Mayer.  

Unanswered questions about the financial relationship between Cheese & Dairy and its marketing agent, County Creamery, Mayer wrote, “are the oldest and by far the most serious of the issues which divide us. It was TCCA’s unwillingness to supply TC&DA with the information they requested or to consider TC&DA complaints about TCCA financial policies which they felt were unfair, that finally led to the Declaratory Judgment suit in June 1963.”  

Mayer said an examination was needed of the joint-use facilities account and the intercompany account. “During 1962 in excess of $5,000,000 was charged to TC&DA through this account by various cash expenditures, depreciation charges, and other charges. Since TCCA auditors have treated this account as ‘a management tool,’ the accuracy and fairness of the charges and credits therein has never been examined,“ Mayer wrote.  
H-H, 5-24-1964    
6-24-1964  In deciding the trademark case, Judge William East ruled that the defendant, Tillamook Cheese & Dairy, owns the Tillamook trademark, but County Creamery is permitted to use Tillamook to label its cheese. Judge East found that Cheese & Dairy inherited the trademark from Tillamook Creamery which had common law rights to the Tillamook trademark.  

“The side in the Tillamook Cheese dispute that had been willing to submit to arbitration emerged as the winner over its rival,” reported the Oregon Journal.  
Oregonian, 6-26-1964   Journal, 6-26-1964  
6-24-1964In the final paragraph of Judge East’s ruling, he urged the rival cooperatives to settle on one marketing agent for Tillamook cheese.  

Judge East wrote, “Whatever may be the ultimate result of having two marketing agents for the Grade A fluid milk products of Tillamook County, I can make no prognosis, but I do know that the favorable and heretofore nationwide premium market for cheese marketed under the brand “Tillamook” cannot survive under two competing marketing agencies. When the servant takes over the role of the master, the house becomes divided and there is but one inevitable result. The 20-day delay in the entry of final judgment is for the hopeful purpose that the parties can settle upon a single marketing agent to market the cheese produced in Tillamook County under the famous brand of “Tillamook.”  
H-H, 6-28-1964
6-27-1964 to 7-3-1964Responding to the judge’s instruction, Cheese & Dairy sent a letter to County Creamery that outlined an offer to serve as the sole marketing agent and grading agent for all Tillamook cheese.  Oregonian, 7-5-1964  
7-5-1964 to 7-9-1964      County Creamery rejected Cheese & Dairy’s offer to serve as the single marketing and grading agent for cheese produced in Tillamook County.   County Creamery invited Cheese & Dairy to return as a member co-op, with County Creamery to serve as the single marketing agent.  Oregonian, 7-9-1964  
7-5-1964 to 7-11-1964  County Creamery offered to buy Cheese & Dairy’s cheese.  

In response, Cheese & Dairy sent a letter that touched on its willingness to allow a third party to serve as sole agent for marketing and grading Tillamook’s cheese production.  
H-H, 7-12-1964  
7-15-1964  Cheese & Dairy filed a motion in connection with its antitrust suit asking the federal court to enjoin County Creamery from buying and selling Minnesota cheese.  

George Milne and Hans Leuthold, Cheese & Dairy producers, said in affidavits that they believe that County Creamery is labeling and selling Minnesota cheese as Tillamook cheese. Leuthold said that County Creamery has received 13 box cars of Minnesota cheese, a total of 750,000 to 1.04 million pounds.  
Journal, 7-16-1964  
8-7-1964  Judge William East ruled that the antitrust suits brought against County Creamery were conditionally dismissed. He said that Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover were permitted to amend and re-file their complaints after including parties outside County Creamery members and employees.  Oregonian, 8-8-1964  
8-6-1964  Judge William East signed a judgment that reflected the ruling he made in June in the federal trademark case.  

County Creamery said it would appeal Judge East’s decision that Cheese and Dairy owns the trademark “Tillamook” for cheese.  
H-H, 7-9-1964  
8-14-1964Cheese & Dairy amended its federal antitrust complaint, adding two names: Warren McMinimee, Tillamook attorney who had represented County Creamery, and Carl Cadenau, manager of Alpenrose Dairy in Portland.  

In the complaint, Cheese & Dairy stated that it sustained damages of $2,582,654 and seeks triple damages of $7,747,964.  

Cheese & Dairy’s antitrust complaint listed a series of actions by County Creamery and individuals that damaged Cheese & Dairy, restrained interstate commerce, and attempted to monopolize a segment of the dairy industry. These actions included the following:  

Restrained interstate commerce in the marketing of cheese, milk, and milk products.  
Conspired as individuals and with Carl Cadenau of Alpenrose Dairy to monopolize part of the dairy industry.  
Prevented Cheese & Dairy from marketing its products.  
Denied Cheese & Dairy its full representation on the County Creamery board.  
Refused to pay over to Cheese & Dairy the credit balance of Cheese & Dairy’s Grade A milk account held by County Creamery, a sum of about $771,000.  
Refused to pay over to Cheese & Dairy the credit balance of Cheese & Dairy’s cheese account, a sum of about $711,000.  
Refused to pay over to Cheese & Dairy the credit balance of Cheese & Dairy’s feed department account, a sum of about $300,000.  
Credit balances arbitrarily withheld by County Creamery totaled more than $2.5 million. Triple damages equal more than $7.7 million.  
Attempted to intimidate a major creditor to destroy Cheese & Dairy’s line of credit.  
Attempted to intimidate Cheese & Dairy’s suppliers or patrons.  
Threatened legal action against Cheese & Dairy’s agents, brokers, and customers.  
Possessed about four million pounds of Cheese & Dairy’s cheese, sold it, and refused to give an accounting to Cheese & Dairy.  
Oregonian, 8-15-1964   H-H, 8-16-1964  
9-11-1964  Red Clover, like Cheese & Dairy, amended its antitrust complaint against County Creamery to include Warren McMinimee and Carl Cadenau.  Oregonian, 9-12-1964  
10-1964Edmund Burke retired as general manager of Cheese & Dairy. George Milne, formerly president of the cooperative, briefly succeeded Burke.  

Harley Christensen was elected president of Cheese & Dairy. He was elected to the board in 1962. Christensen previously worked as head cheesemaker at the Tillamook cheese factory.  
Oregonian, 10-23-1964  
10-19-1964 to 10-24-1964  Newly elected to the board of Cheese & Dairy were Glenn Ackley and Glen Koehler. The two dairy farmers filled openings created when George Milne was named general manager of the organization, and Del Mayer resigned to attend law school.H-H, 10-25-1964  
11-1964Harley Christensen, president of Cheese & Dairy, criticized audit information released by County Creamery. “This was an audit so qualified by the accountants as to express no opinion as to the validity of the financial statement,” Christensen said.  Journal, 11-20-1964  
12-3-1964  Judge William East accepted a second amended antitrust complaint from Cheese & Dairy. It added Alpenrose Dairy as a co-conspirator with County Creamery and individuals. Carl Cadenau is the general manager of Alpenrose.  Oregonian, 12-4-1964  
 Key to sources:  
H-HHeadlight-Herald, a weekly newspaper published in Tillamook, Oregon. Northwest Dairy News: a farm newspaper published twice a month in Seattle,   Washington by Northwest Farm News, Inc.  
Journal: Oregon Journal, a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon.
Oregonian: a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon.
Portland Reporter: a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon from 1960 to 1964.  
Satterfield: The Tillamook Way: A History of the Tillamook County Creamery Association, a Farmer-owned Cooperative; written by Archie Satterfield; published by Tillamook County Creamery Association; Tillamook, Oregon; 2000.
Shopping Smiles: Shopping Smiles, a sister newspaper to the Headlight-Herald, was published weekly in Tillamook, Oregon.