These are unprecedented times as our community, the nation and the world respond to the economic collapse brought on by COVID-19.
Businesses everywhere are looking inward and outward for bold solutions to carry them through this difficult time, which could last weeks or months.
To get there, Pamplin Media is making swift decisions necessary to continue delivery of moment-by-moment news on the coronavirus response, while also telling the stories of real people as they go about their lives under these unusual circumstances.
We're also working hard to manage our fixed costs, which include payroll and the costs of delivering on our promise of news online and in print.
The outcome of those decisions comes into full focus next week when The Outlook merges with sister publications — Sandy Post and Portland Tribune.
We will continue to provide the important news that readers in East Multnomah County have come to expect, but it will be bundled with other news occurring in Sandy and Portland.
The first issue of the temporarily consolidated print edition will be distributed to subscribers and be available on newsstands Wednesday, April 8.
The print newspaper will look a little different, with a new "Pamplin Media" banner at the top.
The print edition will include local, regional and state news, as well as paid obituaries and the free death notices, a shared opinion page, television schedule, classified advertising and business and public notice advertising.
The Outlook will continue to operate its website (greshamoutlook.com) and post to social media, adding stories daily about the local impact of the coronavirus and other topics.
The Outlook will also continue sending its Friday print edition to home and business subscribers, though the edition will be scaled back as we respond to what's happening in the local economy.
The purpose of the Wednesday consolidation is simple: Like all other businesses across America, the world even, the Pamplin Media Group has been severely impacted by this economic crisis.
The Outlook's financial model is principally centered on the strength of small-business advertising. With the spread of the coronavirus, many local businesses have been forced to temporarily close, or to modify their service to curbside delivery.
Our company, Pamplin Media, is looking for cost savings wherever it can, while still protecting employees and providing continuous and necessary news coverage.
The interim steps we are taking — including the consolidation of The Outlook, Sandy Post and Portland Tribune — are intended to ensure we can continue to provide news and local promotions to our readership. We also are positioning our company to withstand the economic storm brought on by this disease.
In some cases, this consolidation will benefit advertisers, whose promotions will be viewed by a much wider audience.
We are not the only Pamplin Media news organizations that are consolidating. All 20 Pamplin Media newspapers are merging into four regional publications.
It is hoped that these will be temporary measures, and that once the virus ebbs and the economy rebounds, we'll be able to return to some level of normality. We don't know when that will happen. And we don't know what our company will look like when we get there.
So, as we take this big step forward into the unknown, we ask that you continue to support The Outlook, Sandy Post and Portland Tribune, as they go through this evolution. And we ask for your patience and understanding at this difficult time.
Please be safe. Look out for your neighbors, especially the elderly and infirmed who are most susceptible to this disease, and follow the physical distancing measures as recommended by the highest levels of our nation's public health authority.
Take care, everyone.
Steve Brown, editor/publisher
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.