THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

‘Upgrades at the press’ for THE BEE, and our group of 23 Oregon local newspapers
Don Atwell, Pamplin Media, press upgrade, Community Newspapers Inc, Gresham, THE BEE
Don Atwell, General Manager of Printing Operations for Pamplin Media Group, shows off new equipment at our Gresham print facility that significantly increases efficiency, and the capacity to insert advertising supplements and coupons. (Photo by Vern Uyetake)

All of the 23 local newspapers published in Oregon by locally-owned Community Newspapers, Inc., and Pamplin Media, are flourishing. The mission of our company, which includes THE BEE and the Portland Tribune among many others, is to continue to report local news for you. And, in this “sound bite” and “fake news” world, the printed word prepared by real journalists remains the authority about what is actually going on.

In fact, as you probably are aware, THE BEE in print recently was upgraded to a full “broadsheet” size from its former tabloid presence, and the ownership of our newspaper has now upgraded its 24/7 press facility in Gresham, and now prints ALL its newspapers in-house, in addition to doing contract printing for clients.

We thought you might like to know a little more about this million-dollar investment by Pamplin Media Group (PMG) – and so here is an article about it by Shannon Wells, which recently appeared in our sister newspaper, the twice-weekly Portland Tribune. . .

It’s an increasingly digital world, they say, but the incessant whirring, clicking, and clacking at the Pamplin Media Group printing operations facility, where employees scurry and toil among newly-installed press equipment, suggests words on paper still have a valid place at the morning breakfast table.

An extensive, recently-completed remodeling of the long, low-slung Gresham building at 1190 N.E. Division Street – which has cranked out weekly and twice-weekly editions of The Outlook and Sandy Post since 1972 [and where THE BEE has been printed since 2001] – now accommodates the printing of all 23 Pamplin newspapers in the region.

Also, upgrades to the main press and new inserting machines, installed where Gresham Outlook reporters and advertising staff once worked (they now have a separate building of their own) significantly increase the plant's efficiency, as well as its capacity for outside commercial printing.

For PMG President Mark Garber, this spring's conclusion of the more than $1 million project demonstrates the Community Newspapers Inc. group’s ongoing vibrancy, as well as its faith in print media’s future.

“This expansion allows us to print all of our newspapers in our own facility,” he says. “Previously, we had to outsource a portion of our newspaper printing to another company. This change is good for us, because we save the expense of outsourcing, while preserving and expanding the 35-person workforce at our Gresham printing plant.”

The ability to insert more supplemental advertising materials, Garber added, benefits readers of Pamplin publications, as well as customers with printing needs.

The remodeling, which began in earnest last fall, created a significant upheaval at the 46-year-old Division Street building, where press operators, assistants and administrative employees continued working during construction.

PMG printing operations General Manager Don Atwell credits his approximately 40 full-time and part-time employees with rolling with the punches through the project’s controlled chaos.

“I’m really pleased with how things have gone so far,” he remarks. “Our employees have really stepped up to make sure we’re able to meet these additional challenges.”

Before the major remodel project even began, the addition of inserting equipment already had forced the newsroom and advertising sales departments for The Outlook and Sandy Post to relocate to leased, second-floor office space around the block in the Burnside Plaza building at 1584 N.E. Eighth Street.

Atwell said the project's benefits easily outweigh the inconveniences and displacements it created.  “It absolutely makes financial sense,” he agrees. “And we now have complete quality control over all our products.”

Garber praises Atwell and Printing Operations Manager Blake Jensen with keeping multiple plates spinning amid the swirl of changes.

“[They] did an excellent job of coordinating this project while also keeping the presses running, and making sure our current business operations weren't interrupted,” he smiles. “The employees at the press plant had to work around a lot of disruptions inherent in any remodel. Now that it is complete, we have more space for our workflow than we ever have before.”

The entire project, including equipment, remodeling, rebuilding of the press, paving, HVAC, and other improvements, represents a more than $1 million capital funding investment. Including the new newsroom/advertising office, and leased warehouse space on East Burnside Street to store inserts – so the project notably expands PMG’s footprint in East Multnomah County.

“Altogether, we are occupying 20,000 square feet of commercial space in Gresham and employing more than 50 people there,” Garber says.

Owned by Portland businessman Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr., Pamplin Media Group has 230 employees in 13 offices in Western and Central Oregon. Its community-focused papers include THE BEE, The Portland Tribune, The Lake Oswego Review, The Southwest Community Connection, The Beaverton/Tigard/Tualatin Times, Washington County Times, Estacada News, the Sherwood Gazette, and the Hillsboro Tribune, among many others.

For logistical reasons, two PMG newspapers – The Central Oregonian, and the Madras Pioneer – will continue to be printed at PMG’s Prineville facility rather than Gresham.

Atwell, a 10-year PMG veteran who has worked in the newspaper business since he was 16, says that, with the project, the company “is doing its part to keep printing services and print news media alive and available amid the encroaching influence of digital platforms.

"Our company certainly doesn't believe the newspaper industry is completely drying up. It's changing significantly. What we’re trying to do here is make sure it remains viable," Atwell says. “We recognize that circulation numbers have gone down for some other newspapers in the last several years, but we also know the best place to receive accurate local information is the local newspaper. And we don't see that going away anytime soon.”

Also acknowledging the evolving reader preferences that challenge the dominance of print newspapers, Garber sees the PMG expansion as a clear vote of confidence for the community journalism model.

“It's telling that Dr. Pamplin is making this investment in press equipment at a time when other newspapers in the Portland area have decided to outsource their printing, and sell off their press plants and other buildings," he says. "It shows that Pamplin Media is here for the long term. We have that stability because we have always focused on local news. At this point, no one else does what we do, which is to put reporters, photographers, and editors on the ground in each of the communities around Portland.”

Long-term viability, he observes, comes from investing in talented, dedicated employees, equipment to meet current and future demands, and a laser focus on each individual community.

"In addition to having our own printing plant, we also employ more journalists than any other news organization in Oregon, producing vastly more local content than any other media," he reflects. "That's why we will be around for many years to come."


We’re proud of our ongoing efforts to upgrade our local print and online journalism, and wanted you to know about it.

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And while we’re at it….

This seems to be a good spot for your editor to add a personal observation of his own. Recently, we have noticed that quite a few people think newspapers are in a death spiral, if they have not already perished. There are two reasons why some Portlanders feel this way.

One is obvious, for those who love newspapers. The local “daily” newspaper, not long ago, was “the largest-circulation daily newspaper between San Francisco and Minneapolis”. That was before it sold its building, sold its press, slashed its staff, and denied its paid subscribers more than four issues a week – even though it still prints seven!

This sad turn of events has actually increased the readership of our 23 Oregon newspapers, and here at THE BEE, we have never in our 112 years had more readers for each issue than we do now. But, the decline of the big daily throws shadows on all of us.

We actually like daily newspapers, and so we have a bit of unsolicited advice for this one: If you want your subscribers back, either let them receive all seven daily issues again – or stop printing those three which you deny them, which only appear on newsstands! Either way, some subscribers would return; many have canceled simply because they know they are missing out on news three days a week which they won’t read about in the four they do get. If you just stop printing those three, there will be reason to believe that what happened on those three days might show up in the next printed issue. You’re welcome.

The other factor which has led some Portlanders – particularly younger ones – to regard the printed word as no longer relevant is the proliferation of online ways of advertising. (They also think local television and radio are now irrelevant. They’re wrong about that, too; they are flourishing.)

What they are overlooking is that ANY advertising medium that draws an audience offers a way to reach people with a message, and many newspapers still do draw an attentive, receptive audience. Our Pamplin Media group, which specializes in hyperlocal news focused on communities, certainly does draw such an audience.

In the case of THE BEE, we still draw the largest audience of any news medium centered on Inner Southeast Portland – and the reason is simple. We have more solid news of this specific area we live in than any other medium. And since we put it on every page, folks read every page. They see the ads, too, and they get to know our advertisers. In placing advertising, don’t overlook the newspapers that still have lots of attentive readers. And, folks, those advertisers pay the bills so you can receive THE BEE for free. You might thank them for that once in a while!


Letters to the Editor

Franklin High “Quakers”

Editor,

[Concerning the April BEE article] on Franklin High School’s choice of “Quakers” as its mascot. The story includes a caption under a statue of Benjamin Franklin that states “Ben said he was a Quaker”. Franklin was never a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). His father was an English Puritan who settled in Calvinist Boston where Franklin grew up. When serving in Paris as an agent for the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War, Franklin did wear rough clothing and allowed the French to assume that he was a Quaker but I don’t think he claimed to be one. Moreover, he fathered children out of wedlock, disowned his son, and owned slaves. Thus, Franklin joins Jefferson and Washington as a flawed exemplar for today’s students.

Unfortunately, there is a serious shortage of perfect Founding Fathers. As Adams [school] has closed, perhaps we could name a high school after Abigail Adams without causing confusion.

As far as the mascot goes, “Quakers” is inaccurate but traditional. “Puritans” seems to be barred by district policy. Of terms that might actually refer to Franklin, “Agents”, and “Diplomats”, suggest a team might negotiate the final score instead of winning the game! How about “Printers”, “Inventors”, “Runaways”, or “Electricians”? The last one would give a new meaning to the cheer of “Charge!”

Margaret DeLacy
S.E. 30th Avenue

 

More trains in Sellwood, for a while

Editor,

In conjunction with the Oaks Bottom Wetland Restoration project; the Oregon Pacific Railroad is operating work trains between a staging area in the Milwaukie Industrial Park and the worksite.

Over the past two weeks [last week of March, first week of April] several pieces of heavy construction equipment as well as over 2,500 cubic yards of rock used in constructing an access road have been moved by rail.

Each work train consists of two forty-yard side-dump cars and two locomotives. With each round trip moving 80 yards of material it has replaced the equivalent of eight large trucks keeping over 80 trucks off Sellwood Streets so far.

Activities are expected to continue through September.

Dick Samuels
Oregon Pacific Railroad


Lewellyn Elementary School, Hamilton Tickets, raffle, winner, Westmoreland, Portland, Oregon
“Hamilton Tickets” winner in the Llewellyn Elementary School raffle was (at right) Monica Bastian, a Sellwood resident and a Duniway parent. Making the presentation was Erika Morales, 2018 Auction Chair.

Winner announced in Llewellyn Elementary’s raffle

Editor,

The Llewellyn “Hamilton Tickets” raffle was a success! Held on Monday, March 19th, [the drawing produced] winner Monica Bastian, who was awarded two “Hamilton” tickets, plus a $250 hotel and a $75 restaurant gift card. Thanks for getting the word out.

Kristen Downs
Via e-mail


Parking shortage may be hurting local merchants

Editor,

I have been a resident of the Sellwood/Moreland neighborhood for almost 35 years. I have raised my daughter and established roots in this neighborhood. To say that things have changed is an understatement.

I was at a local business on March 31, only to walk out and find a $44 ticket for overtime parking on my windshield. Granted, I was in a 30-minute parking zone, and the task took longer than that. I was in the wrong. But I have noticed that meter maids, who NEVER visited this neighborhood, are out in numbers lately. Why? Because of all the 30 minute parking, particularly in front of the many high-rise apartment buildings that have sprung up over the past few years: Buildings built by companies with NO claims to this old and solid neighborhood.

This neighborhood is dotted with many businesses that used to have adequate parking along the street. Now, overflow traffic from the High Rise apartments with INADEQUATE PARKING are taking up those spots. Are we trying to move the businesses out of this wonderful area?

I have attended many SMILE meetings where architects promised that, “You could be the next Pearl.” Dammit, I didn’t move here to emulate the Pearl, but to have a small village of homes and businesses mixed equally.

When is all this influx going to stop plaguing this neighborhood and the people who own homes here?

Phyllis Boyer
S.E. 19th Avenue

Eastmoreland “Historic District” controversy

Editor,

Like Derek Blum (Letter to the Editor, April 2018), I got tired long ago of what an ex-ENA president described as “rich people acting badly” during the historic district debate. However, as a political scientist, I don’t think I can leave unchallenged Mr. Blum’s distorted use of the term “democratic” to describe the historic district process.

Mr. Blum claims that “53.1% of the owners within the proposed HD … support it”. He obtains that figure by counting as “support” anyone who has failed to go through the tedious process of obtaining and filing a notarized objection. This is the same sleight of hand that the ENA employed when they decided to ignore the majority who opposed the HD in a poll that the Board commissioned, using the same logic. Approximately 1/3 of homeowners chose not to respond, and these were counted as “not opposing”. It isn’t “democracy” when non-voting is counted as support while a notarized signature to express opposition.

Blum is in high dudgeon when he accuses the HD opponents of using legislation and lobbying to try to overturn the HD. Yet, the ENA has acknowledged many times that the HD process was put in place as an end around to the democratically determined City of Portland planning process. Is the pot calling the kettle black?

Oregon is unique in the nation in allowing an HD not just to be established, but to include strict building restrictions, without the assent of a majority (and in most cases a super majority) of impacted property owners. Regardless of how we feel about the HD or development in Portland, many of us find this a deeply troubling feature of Oregon law.

[Specifically, about the “multiple voting trusts” aspect of the letter being responded to:]

My first take is that it’s misleading to use the term “votes” as if there is any semblance of a democratic process. The process requires notarized objections.

My second take is that there are hundreds of property owners in Eastmoreland rich enough to set up a thousand trusts. We don’t even know that this cost anything to the person that did it – it could have very well been done on a pro bono basis by a lawyer annoyed about the current process, and certainly there’s no shortage of those, either

My third take is that this is what happens when groups manipulate the law in order to override the democratic process by which zoning laws, including historic districts, are put in place. I have been unable to find a single state that allows an HD to override local zoning without some input from an elected city council or a certified election:

Nothing about this process has been “democratic.” The HD process was initiated in the first place by the ENA board because their attempts to lobby for an R-7 zoning were mishandled and failed. From the very start, they have said quite openly that the HD process is not about historic preservation, it’s about trying to stop infill.

Paul Gronke
Eastmoreland Resident
Professor, Reed College
Director, Early Voting Information Center


Editor,

Opponents of the Eastmoreland Historic District have now established a total of 5,000 objection trusts, drowning out all the legitimate support and objection registered by the neighborhood. If allowed, just FOUR households (all objectors) in the neighborhood will control over 70% of the vote, using this highly undemocratic and unethical tactic of creating objection trusts.

Derek Blum
Eastmoreland Resident


Editor,

The 5 Eastmoreland residents, who each created 1000 trusts associated with their homes with the intent of influencing Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association elections, have, in my personal opinion, behaved in an utterly scurrilous manner. This is tantamount to ballot stuffing.

Lila Brightbill
via e-mail

Winterhaven School, Portland, Brooklyn Neighborhood, Oregon, chess, chess competition, Cody Schupp
The Winterhaven student who just won this trophy in state chess competition is Cody Schupp.

Chess achievements at Winterhaven School

Editor,

I felt it important to bring to light and celebrate the success of a few Winterhaven School students and its Chess Club at the recent Oregon State Chess Tournament in Seaside, Oregon.

The Winterhaven Chess Club had 13 qualifying participants who attended, with many of them receiving awards. Four students received Plus Score Medals, one received an Honorable Mention – and one student received a third place trophy.

The young man who received the third place trophy, Cody Schupp, a sixth grader, won his award nearly four years to the day after he met one of his chess heroes – Phiona Mutesi, also known as “The Queen of Katwe”. At that time, Cody was a young chess player, and Phiona signed her book for him, after talking to Cody about his deep interest in chess. She wrote, “I wish you success in your dreams and never lose hope.” And, succeed he did! Congratulations Cody!! This was Cody’s first year of playing chess competitively, and with a club.

The Chess Club meets on a weekly basis during the greater portion of the Winterhaven school year, and is run by amazing volunteers and parents who not only donate their time, but also are genuinely invested in the success of each student. Many thanks to the Winterhaven Chess Coaches and Parents who support and encourage their children!

Shannon Schupp
Via e-mail

Barefoot protest of Arts Tax

Editor,

I wrote this when the arts tax [letters] came out, and I tried to deliver my tax to the Mayor. I went there, barefoot, in a long black dress, with two bags of pennies. They made me put on booties which made it very dangerous for me to walk, because I was slipping all over the floor. The Mayor would not come out, only a minion, and I sang the poem but they refused to take the pennies, insisting I change it into bills and deliver it. That never happened.

The poem is called The Art of Taxation and the Fable of Worth, and is sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean". . .

Dear Mayor I've come with my art tax
Though it's not right I should pay
I don't make a dollar in wages

And I don't like the art anyway

CHORUS AFTER EACH VERSE (interactive hand movements go with this):

So give back, give back, give back my taxes to me, to me
And take back the crappy art, I don't even want it for free!

There's an elephant with ripped open torso

They removed it from view – just too weird
Then it showed up again some months later

Turned around so the guts "disappeared"

There's the vertical scrap metal storage
That's infesting the river's east side

There must be someone who likes it

But I can't find them; believe me I've tried

Since nobody likes what you purchase
And this "art" would be better off burned
Stop spending our money on garbage

Taxpayers would like it returned.

Renee Daphne Kimball
Sellwood


EDITOR’S NOTE: This regressive tax was passed on the premise that it would go to art in the schools; it was not well understood that only part of it is allocated that way. Quite a bit of it is distributed to various arts organizations. But, our impression is that much of the “public art” decried by Ms. Kimball is part of construction projects, for which the city requires a small percentage of the project’s budget go to “public art”. At any rate, protest as you will, but it would be wise to pay the tax until it is repealed, since the city has the legal right to pursue you in court or via collectors if you don’t. Just make sure you didn’t pay it already before you do; the city’s dunning letter this year at tax time was sent to everyone, including those who had already paid. So some folks paid it twice by mistake.

 

NOTE TO READERS

In the February BEE, we reported the extraordinary efforts of Sellwood’s Nance family to locate missing Air National Guardsman Marty Nance. On March 30, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported, “The body of missing Oregon Air National Guardsman Martin Nance, 49, has been recovered by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol deputies. Authorities do not suspect foul play in Mr. Nance’s disappearance or death.”

The recovery was made in the Willamette River, a ways upstream from the Sellwood Bridge. The Medical Examiner, finding no evidence of foul play in the death, has concluded it most likely was an accident or a suicide. Family notifications were completed, and Marty’s family requested privacy as they deal with their loss.

As THE BEE previously reported, Mr. Nance was reported missing in early January after failing to show up for duties at his Portland airbase. His rental car and cell phone were located in Sellwood in the vicinity of S.E. Spokane Street on Tuesday, January 9. He had been a dedicated Reservist for 32 years. THE BEE extends its sympathy to the Nance family.




Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


 


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