Longtime Portland sportswriter Kerry Eggers has been laid off by the Portland Tribune after 19 years with the paper, the columnist announced on Twitter today.
Pamplin Media Group, which publishes the Tribune and two dozen community papers, also made other layoffs today, though precise numbers have not been disclosed.
In an article published March 18, the publisher announced a reduction of work hours, citing a loss of advertising revenue following the shutdown of restaurants, bars and other venues in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Twitter today, digital engagement editor Geoff Pursinger wrote that there have been layoffs across Pamplin-owned papers, without giving numbers.
"Everyone I've asked for a number has simply said, 'You don't wanna know,'" Pursinger tweeted.
UPDATE, 9:02 pm: Pamplin Media president and publisher Mark Garber announced the layoffs in an internal memo provided to WW.
"Not a single person who is leaving the company today – not one – was laid off because of performance," Garber wrote. "These employees are all valuable and we hope to have many of them back when things begin to normalize."
Pamplin Media Group executive editor John Schrag says Pamplin temporarily laid off 40 of its 200 employees. About 20 of those layoffs were in the company's newsrooms.
"This is so painful to do at a time when people are pleading with us to continue providing news," says Schrag. "If this is some cosmic joke, I don't get it."
Eggers' sportswriting career goes back 45 years to the Oregon Journal. He moved to The Oregonian when that paper took over the Journal, and joined the Tribune when it started in 2001.
Eggers specialized in coverage of Oregon State University, his alma mater, and the Portland Trail Blazers. He published a book last year on the team's infamous "Jail Blazers" period. He's also written books about Clyde Drexler and the rivalry between the University of Oregon and OSU.
In a tweet announcing he'd been let go, Eggers wrote that he had planned to retire July 31.
"[B]ut as Ralph Miller used to say, that's the way the pickle squirts," he wrote.
Eggers' final article for the Tribune is a feature on Olympic shot-put champion Ryan Crouser.