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Western Communications Cutting 10 Percent Of Staff

Newspaper publisher Western Communications says it’s cutting 10 percent of its staff due to a sudden drop in revenue. The company is laying off workers at the Bend Bulletin and 6 other papers.

Bend Bulletin newspaper (file)

Bend Bulletin newspaper (file)

David Nogueras/OPB

Throughout the entire recession, the company managed to avoid making layoffs. Ironically, the high foreclosure rate had something to do with that. Papers like the Bulletin made a lot of money from the legal notices required by Oregon’s non-judicial foreclosure process. But in an article posted on the Bend Bulletin’s website, publisher Gordon Black says that money has suddenly all but disappeared.

And John Helmick thinks he knows why. He’s the president of Eugene-based Gorilla Capital, a company that invests in foreclosed properties.

He says this summer, banks in Oregon began to abandon the traditionally cheaper non-judicial route opting instead to take delinquent lenders directly to court. Helmick says non-judicial foreclosures are down about 95 percent in the 20 countries tracked by his company since March.

Helmick said, “This isn’t a small shift. This is a paradigm shift.”

Helmick believes Oregon’s Legislature might be partly to blame. Back in March, lawmakers passed new regulations he says make non-judicial foreclosures more expensive and lengthier to complete.