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East Oregonian Publishers Win Federal Auction For Bend, Redmond Newspapers

<p>The Bend Bulletin is located in&nbsp;a building that&nbsp;has&nbsp;more than $700,000 in unpaid property taxes.</p>

Emily Cureton

The Bend Bulletin is located in a building that has more than $700,000 in unpaid property taxes.

Ownership of two central Oregon papers will remain in the hands of an Oregon-based publisher, under a decision Monday by a federal bankruptcy judge in Portland. 

East Oregonian publisher EO Media prevailed at an auction for the only daily newspaper in Central Oregon, The Bulletin in Bend, and the weekly Redmond Spokesman. Its winning bid of $3.65 million came with financial backing from Bend-based supporters who were not previously invested in EO Media, according to the company’s vice president Kathryn Brown. 

Bend Foundation trustee Mike Hollern reportedly told the East Oregonianthe nonprofit “views this as a worthy investment in a company with a long history in Oregon delivering valuable news,” and that the group “does not have an editorial stake in this action,” though he could not speak for other investors. 

The newspapers will change hands after seven decades under the control of one Bend family. 

EO Media also owns The Astorian (formerly The Daily Astorian), and nine other non-daily publications across the state, including the Capital Press. It outbid two national publishing chains and has a long history of publishing in rural communities around the state. The company's origins go back to Pendleton in the early 1900s with its flagship daily, the East Oregonian.

Brown told OPB last week that the company views the purchase “as an opportunity to keep these newspapers strong and continue our tradition of building partnerships and collaborating for the good of the community.”

She was not immediately available for comment Monday after the auction to sell the papers. 

Earlier this month, EO Media bought two non-dailies from the collapse of Western Communications, the Baker City Herald and the Observer in La Grande. The Bulletin and Spokesman report employing 117 people, who could be retained, or not, at EO’s discretion. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been changed to reflect the recently-changed name for the local newspaper in Astoria.

This story has been updated to include new information. 

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Emily Cureton Cook is a JPR content partner from Oregon Public Broadcasting. Emily is the former producer of the Jefferson Exchange on JPR and has contributed award-winning programming to Georgia Public Broadcasting. Emily is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin where she earned degrees in history, studio art and Russian.