The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

The Oregonian Is Shutting Down Printing Plant, Laying Off Pressroom Employees

The company that publishes The Oregonian is shutting down its printing presses—a landmark in the slow dismantling of the state's biggest news organization.

The decision means that the newspaper's own printing presses will be silent for the first time in a century or more. Instead, The O will be published offsite by a private contractor.

The Oregonian is owned by Advance Publications, the New York-based media company owned by the Newhouse family. In recent years, various business lines have been broken off into independent operations still controlled by the Newhouses. Since 2013, the printing and distribution plant has been run by Advance Central Services Oregon, a subsidiary of The Oregonian's New York-based owner, Advance Publications.

Kevin Denny, vice president and general manager of Advance Central Services Oregon, declined to say how many workers will lose their jobs as a result of the move.

"The story in The Oregonian speaks for itself," Denny tells WW.

In fact, the story said nothing specifically about layoffs. "Today's announcement will result in operational efficiencies and it will result in only minor changes in our work flow – most of which readers won't even notice," Denny is quoted in The O's story. "Sadly, it does mean we will be saying goodbye to our longtime pressroom employees."

Sources tell WW that The O's "minor changes in workflow" will be noticed by between 100 to 200 people who could lose their jobs.

The Oregonian will contract a Portland company, Signature Graphics, to print the paper.

The closing of the presses is the latest in dramatic cost-cutting moves to keep the newspaper afloat.

The paper went through major layoffs in 2010 and 2013, ended daily home delivery of the newspaper, shrunk the print version to a tabloid, and sold off the paper's longtime Broadway offices.

Yesterday's story notes that the printing plant sits on a full city block—"prime real estate on Southwest Taylor Street near Providence Park"—and that Advance is already looking for a buyer.