Online readers of The Oregonian could soon run into a paywall on

A representative of the newspaper's owner, Advance Publications, discussed a possible paywall with Oregonian staffers at a meeting in Portland last month, according to three people familiar with the conversation.

Oregonian editor Mark Katches declined to discuss that meeting.

The possibility of a paywall—which would charge non-subscribers after they've read a certain number of web stories—adds new uncertainty in a newsroom that has undergone several rounds of layoffs as it shifts to a web-first model.

But it's not clear that The Oregonian's owners will deploy the paywall in Portland.

Last week, Ken Doctor of Neiman Labs reported that Advance is likely to test a paywall at one of its newspapers this year—but the New Jersey-based media giant won't say which one.

"If we decide to test anything," Advance Local CEO Randy Siegel told Neiman Labs, "it will be a dynamic meter in a single market, but a final decision won't be made until much later this year."