Porter W. Yett

Porter W. Yett portrait

Lockley, Fred. "History of the Columbia River Valley, From The Dalles to the Sea." Vol. 3. Chicago, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928. p. 486.


Development work in Portland and other sections of the state has been materially furthered by Porter W. Yett, who is well known through his activities in the trucking and paving business and in other connections. He was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1892, and was a child of four when his parents, C. C. and Lillian (Wynn) Yett, settled in Portland. His father died in 1920, but the mother is still a resident of the Rose city.

Porter W. Yett attended the public schools and at the age of nine became a newsboy, thus continuing until he was thirteen. He completed a course in the Holmes Business College of Portland and for two years was a student in the Benson school, specializing in electrical engineering. For a year he attended the South Baker school, devoted to the preparation of students for admission to the University of Tennessee, and then returned to Portland. He was receiving teller for the Portland Railway & Light Company for a few months and for a year thereafter was in the service of William D. Wheelwright, with whom he embarked in business in 1911, when but eighteen years of age. They were joined by Sanderson Reed and organized the City Motor Trucking Company, Inc. They were pioneers in this field and started with two automobile trucks, in which they hauled sand and gravel for city paving and building. This was one of the first companies in the city and county to haul mixed material for that type of road work known as "black top" paving. With the aid of a hand winch two drivers were able to dump the loads. The firm gradually added to its equipment and began to take contracts for hauling in various parts of the country, many of these being subcontracts under the Pacific Bridge Company. Later Mr. Wheelwright retired and his stock was purchased by Charles F. Swigert, president of the Pacific Bridge Company. Sanderson Red is now president of the City Motor Trucking Company, Inc., of which Mr. Swigert is vice president, and Mr. Yett acts as manager. This was strictly a hauling and paving business until 1920, when the firm started a rock crusher and quarry at Rocky Point and moved the office from Hawthorne street to the present location at the foot of East Salmon street. The company has done much work in the city parks and now has the contract for supplying and laying the rock for the Canyon road project. Since its inception the business has enjoyed a steady growth and the firm now ranks with the largest of the kind in this region.

In 1927 Mr. Yett became interested in the Paris transit concrete mixer and as a result organized the Swigert, Hart & Yett Company in 1928. The head of the firm is W. G. Swigert, a son of Charles F. Swigert, above mentioned. This mixer is mounted on a truck and has been patented. Mr. Yett devoted deep thought and study to its mechanism and has perfected a number of improvements, also securing a contract for the exclusive right to the mixer in Oregon and southwestern Washington The materials are accurately measured in charging hoppers, loaded in the truck and mixed. Enroute water is added and the load is dumped as a "perfect mixed concrete." The company now has seven mixers mounted on trucks and the plant has been designed to handle these operations. Special bins, conveyors, scales, etc., have been installed for the purpose of securing the proper proportions of sand, gravel and cement and by weighing the materials the exact ratio is obtained. Water is added by weight, thus making the correct and uniform mixture. This method is infallible and eliminates the mistakes due to the human element. Mr. Yett and his associates have made a number of changes and improvements in the system of mixing while in transit. One of the most important innovations was the designing, of transmissions by means of which the speed with a load is reduced and geared up when returning empty. These transmissions have been patented by the firm, whose work has attracted widespread notice, and the corporation is now receiving inquiries from all over the United States and Canada regarding the use and success of the mixer. The business has expanded at a remarkably rapid rate and the firm is now handling about two hundred yards of mixed concrete per day. The City Motor Trucking Company, Inc., and the Swigert, Hart & Yett Company are separate concerns, but all of the trucks, now numbering thirteen, have been transferred to the latter corporation. Mr. Yett is endowed with executive ability of a high order and has played a leading part in the upbuilding of these industries, both of which are conducted with notable efficiency.

In 1913 Mr. Yett was married in Portland to Miss Gladys Perdew, of Ohio, and they now have two sons, Porter W. Jr. and Frank A. Mr. Yett is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Multnomah Athletic Club. His physical as well as his mental powers are well developed and for twenty-one years he has been a professional baseball player, serving at the present time as president of the Portland City Baseball League. At one time he was Portland's champion featherweight boxer and also displayed prowess in football. He is an ardent disciple of Izaak Walton and also enjoys the sport of hunting. Nature has given to Mr. Yett many talents, and that he is an exceptional young man is shown by what he has accomplished. He has a wide acquaintance and is highly esteemed by all with whom he has been brought in contact.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in February 2007 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.


Updated on 12 Feb 2007.