A keepsake newspaper: those editions that mark a special or historic occasion and get saved in a drawer. Perhaps today’s publication, The Dalles Chronicle’s last daily paper before a twice-weekly format begins, earns that designation.
Founded in 1890, the newspaper, as its name implies, has chronicled the news of the day during all or part of three centuries. Over those 128 years, it produced over 33,000 editions. Total circulation over that span is in the millions of papers, delivered by likely several thousand carriers.
The Chronicle is the sole surviving newspaper in a town that has seen over 20 publications come and go.
As the newspaper staff planned for its final daily edition, it reached out to past editors and publishers and asked them to reflect on what working on a community newspaper meant to them, and what they hope the newspaper means to the community.
Former editors Tom Stevenson, Rob Gates, Rodger Nichols and Kathy Ursprung and former publisher Marilyn Roth contributed their thoughts. We now turn the last daily pages over to them.
— Neita Cecil
It’s The Dalles. THE Dalles... No... capital T-h-e (space) capital D-a-l-l-e-s…that’s because it’s not in Texas…. French for Les Dalles… something about flatrocks and waterfalls in the river…. French fur traders. Yes, Oregon. Now you have it. Yes, you too. Thanks.
And so ended or began just about any interview I conducted with anyone who wasn’t from Oregon and frankly too with a lot of people who had never been east of Cascade Locks … never mind Hood River.
I grew up thinking of The Dalles Chronicle as “the paper.”
Some folks might have thought of that big brick of Portland newsprint as the paper, but not me. The Chronicle was a regular part of my life starting almost as soon as I could read.
When Neita Cecil sent me a message asking that I join former editors of The Dalles Chronicle and write a column as the paper moves to a twice weekly, I hesitated.
My time as editor was indeed “a long time ago.” But despite the fact that over 21 years have passed since I left The Chronicle, I certainly have many amazing memories of my time there, as well as thoughts about the changes in community journalism as a whole.
One of my first memories of The Chronicle came shortly after I moved to The Dalles in 1974 and was working at KODL. Al Herriges, Sr., was the ad director at the time and a supplier had offered him some special transfer ink. He made a deal withthe station to create an ad featuring a design that could be cut from the paper and ironed onto a t-shirt.