When I picked up my Sunday Oregonian at Dave’s Chevron this weekend, I found a yellow sheet inside informing me this was the last Sunday Oregonian that would be delivered in Pendleton, as well as Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla.

What used to bill itself as Oregon’s newspaper has decided to leave Eastern Oregon. As someone who is involved in government and bent on trying to remind Western Oregon that we exist, it seemed like another chilling message to the contrary.

There are of course options, and I read The Oregonian online six days a week, but our family has gotten the printed version on Sunday since I was old enough to read. It has been a long-standing tradition.

I can, of course, read the Sunday paper online as well, but not everyone has technological options at their disposal in our part of Oregon that would permit such access. Rep. Greg Walden was in town this weekend talking to area communities about helping them enjoy the benefits of technology that are commonplace in the Valley. However, as several Umatilla County mayors reminded him, we still are not there yet. Moreover, besides the options of technology, there are still a good many Eastern Oregonians who like the feel of a newspaper in their hands.

During the past few years, the price of the Oregonian has skyrocketed to $3.50 while the product has gotten thinner. Remember the days when the Sunday paper almost filled the living room? But that being said, I did not intend to discontinue my weekly trek to get the Sunday paper. It provides a summary of the week’s events.

Since our television news comes from Washington, the Sunday Oregonian offered a weekly opportunity to catch up on what is going on in our own state. Yes, it is less comprehensive than it used to be, but we still get the high points. And, it filled the hiatus between Saturday and Tuesday when a newspaper is not available locally.

As a former newspaperman, I am admittedly a bit subjective about the need to start each day with at least an idea of what I might encounter once I reach the courthouse. In the case of the EO, the E-Edition provides fair warning before it actually arrives in the flesh.

If six or seven thousand of my friends and neighbors were fully satisfied with online options, the EO would cease to print a hard copy. But not everyone has made the transition.

I guess, in the end, this just seems like one more example of metro Oregon dismissing Eastern Oregon as an irrelevant market. We deserve better.

George Murdock


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