Eagle Newspapers Inc., has sold its Gorge publications to Publisher Chelsea Marr.

The publications include The Dalles Chronicle, Hood River News, White Salmon Enterprise, The Gorge Magazine and Mid-Columbia Directory. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Marr has been publisher of the Gorge properties since 2013. She has been employed by Eagle since 1995. Eagle owner Denny Smith said it was important to him that the newspapers continue running under the leadership of someone who is involved in the community.

“Chelsea is the right person to keep these newspapers going,” Smith said. “Newspapers have gone through a lot of change in the past 20 years. I hope people realize how valuable a local newspaper is to a community.

“As our communities work their way through COVID-19, local news organizations will continue to play a vital role in providing factual and timely information,” Smith said. “Chelsea understands this role.”

Eagle President Joe Petshow said now, more than ever, communities need independent newspapers — in print and online — that are both stewards and watchdogs.

“Loyal readers and advertisers have enabled the Chronicle, News and Enterprise to be successful over many years. That isn’t the case any more in many communities throughout the United States, and world for that matter, where newspapers have shut down.

"Newspapers can be the social fabric of a community. Long-time residents likely have read their names or had their photo published in the newspaper for one reason or another,” Petshow said. “Maybe they’ve read sports stories about their children or grandchildren. Or perhaps it was a story about the honor roll or school play. Those connections are part of what make local newspapers unique, including how they can bind together a community.”

Marr said this (March 31) newspaper is the last issue under the ownership of Eagle Newspapers, but The Dalles, Hood River and White Salmon — and the surrounding communities in the Gorge — deserve an ongoing local news presence.

“The company, and its owner, Denny Smith, have been strong supporters of local journalism in our small communities for decades,” Marr said. “Newspapers around the country have been struggling for years, the recent pandemic has been the tipping point for some of them.

“We have 24 employees who have worked countless hours, not to mention years, in providing our community an essential resource to their communities. It’s sad to see some of the staff of Eagle part ways, but I am excited to see others step up and offer ways to keep going not just for their own sake,  but for the sake of their beloved community newspaper.

“We will continue our newspaper and publications for our community. We will be transitioning and will certainly have some bumps along the way. Please give us a brief break, as we re-organize. If we can be patient together, we will get subscribers going again right away.”

Do you want to help keep your local newspaper? Contact Chelsea Marr, cmarr@hoodrivernews.com.

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