Bankruptcy documents from Western Communications, owner of five newspaper in Oregon including the Bend Bulletin, revealed that a Rhode Island investment group has bid $2.25 million to buy both the Bend and Redmond papers, sans their real estate. Western faces upwards of $30 million in total debt.
The investors, Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers (RISN), were originally a subsidiary of Horizon Publications, a Canadian company. As their name suggests, they own multiple news outlets, mostly in Rhode Island.
Western filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late January 2019, at the same time saying it was going to “restructure” as it had in the past, which previously included widespread layoffs. However, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the company revealed that it does not expect to survive, even from the run of sales it is making in the wake of its bankruptcy announcement. Documents showed their intention to sell all their assets and dissolve.
The Bend Bulletin is Central Oregon’s daily newspaper, and has been owned by the Chandler family from Bend for over 70 years.
RISN is may also purchase one of Western’s California papers, Sonora’s Union Democrat, as well as its real estate. Some of Western’s other properties, including the Baker City Herald, Brookings’ Curry Coastal Pilot, and La Grande’s Observer in Oregon and The Daily Triplicate in Crescent City, CA were recently approved to be sold to Oregon-based Country Media and EO Media Group.
By Ian MacRonald