Changes with the press aside, HR News keeps running

Press Manager Tony Methvin works with his crew on Nov. 2, the date of the last printing of the Hood River News in Hood River; the paper is now printed at Eagle Newspapers’ Web Press plant in Salem.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Press Manager Tony Methvin works with his crew on Nov. 2, the date of the last printing of the Hood River News in Hood River; the paper is now printed at Eagle Newspapers’ Web Press plant in Salem.

A change at Columbia Gorge Press has kindled the local rumor mill, producing the false assumption that the Hood River News is closing.

“That’s not true,” said Publisher Chelsea Marr of the News, one of the Gorge’s oldest privately-owned businesses. She also said that Columbia Gorge Press is not closing. Columbia Gorge Press is located in the Hood River News building on State Street, across the street from Hood River Library.

There is consolidation taking place at Columbia Gorge Press, which is the region’s only cold web printing facility. Starting this week, most newsprint products will no longer be printed on the plant’s web presses. Columbia Gorge Press will print them on its sister press in Salem.

In addition to Columbia Gorge Press’ cold web press, the business also operates a sheetfed press, a digital press and bindery equipment. Those presses will remain open, as will the web press for certain types of jobs. The sheetfed press is the only one of its kind in the Gorge and produces covers for The Gorge Magazine, among other higher-end printing products, Marr said.

“Consolidating with the larger press in Salem increases our capacity and efficiency, and makes the best sense from a business standpoint,” said CGP Manager Tony Methvin, who noted that the move is similar to many media companies’ efforts to combine resources as a way to increase revenue and reduce costs. Efforts are being made to find alternative positions within Eagle and other press operations for the press employees whose jobs are affected.

Methvin, long-time CGP employer, will continue to be involved daily with customers he has worked with for years. He also is looking forward to new customers wanting to print higher-end products on the sheetfed press.

“That’s where our growth has been in the past few years,” he said.

The Nov. 3 edition of the Hood River News was the last to be physically printed in Hood River. Future editions will be printed in Salem, but deadlines and distribution remain unchanged. The same is true for The Dalles Chronicle, White Salmon Enterprise and other newspapers printed in the Gorge and beyond.

The expense to run two web printing plants in the same company continues to increase, Eagle President Joe Petshow said. The efficiency of electronic transfer of information continues to be a driving force into fully utilizing the advantages of a central printing plant, he added.

Hood River News’ original printing press in Hood River was installed in 1972 in the company’s former headquarters on Oak Street (now home to Dog River Coffee and Footwise Shoes). The News and CGP moved to the current facility on State Street in 1995. Eagle Newspapers owns the News, Columbia Gorge Press and Eagle Web Press in Salem. It also owns and operates the Sunnyside Daily Sun News, Idaho County Free Press, Northwest Boomer and Senior News, Omak-Okanagon County Chronicle, Polk County Itemizer-Observer, The Gorge Magazine, Little Red Book (Mid-Columbia Directory), and Money Saver in Lewiston, Idaho.

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