A $1 million expansion of the East Oregonian press and production facility will take place in May and June, Publisher Kathryn Brown announced.
The project will enable the EO to print the Capital Press, a weekly agricultural newspaper that circulates throughout the Northwest and California.
Both the EO and the Capital Press are owned by the EO Media Group. The agricultural newspaper was printed for many years on the Statesman-Journal’s press in Salem, but shifted to the Oregonian’s press in Portland last fall when the Salem printing facility closed down permanently.
“Our board has considered shifting the printing of the Capital Press to one of our company’s presses for a number of years,” Brown said. “The Statesman-Journal’s decision to close their press led the board to take a hard look at the feasibility of moving the printing to Pendleton.”
Associate Publisher and General Manager Bob Carruth said the current EO press is too small to accommodate the printing needs of the Capital Press, which requires the ability to print 36 pages in color for each edition.
In January, the EO Media board voted to invest in two new color towers, a faster folder that brings the newsprint sheets together and new equipment to feed paper into the press.
These new towers will be matched with an existing EO color press tower to enable the printing of 18 pages of full color plus four black and white pages in one run. The Capital Press will require two press runs each week to output the finished product.
Carruth said the investment also includes adding a faster inserting machine with greater capacity, and a new computer-driven inkjet labeler in the EO mailroom.
This accommodates the need to insert advertising and to print subscriber addresses on some 34,000 copies of the Capital Press each week. The publication is largely distributed through the mail, Carruth said.
Printing of the Capital Press is expected to shift to Pendleton this summer. The ag newspaper’s editorial, sales and administrative offices will remain in Salem, with reporters and advertising sales representatives located throughout the Northwest.
EO Production Manager Kay Karlinsey noted this upgrade will improve the quality of printing for all newspapers the EO prints. It also will allow color printing on more pages than the current press allows.
EO Media Group also owns the Hermiston Herald, Blue Mountain Eagle and Wallowa County Chieftain. All are printed on the East Oregonian’s press, as well as a number of other weekly and monthly publications in the region.
Brown, who is a member of the fourth generation of family members to head the EO, said the press upgrade project reflects a deep belief by the owners of EO Media Group in the future of newspapers and the economic strength of northeastern Oregon.
“I am delighted we are able to make this investment and provide some additional employment locally by printing the Capital Press in Pendleton,” she said.
“Umatilla and Morrow counties are significant players in Oregon’s agricultural economy,” Brown said. “So it makes sense to print the largest agricultural publication in the region on the East Oregonian press.”
She note there is a trend for American newspapers to centralize the printing of a number of newspapers in one facility.
“We see ourselves providing this kind of printing service for other newspapers in our region,” Brown said, “so this is a very strategic investment for our future as a company.”
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.