The paper will keep publishing. Its staff will vacate the new building at 415 W. Sixth St. and move back into its former headquarters in early 2009. Scott Campbell, the paper's third-generation publisher, said The Columbian is suffering from the same ad revenue declines that have slammed newspapers across the country. But he said the company would survive. "The community is strong," Campbell said. "The paper has a good long-term future here. We intend to emerge from this and continue on."
The company could concentrate on leasing space freed up when The Columbian leaves or sell the building outright. It may have a buyer. Also Wednesday, city of Vancouver officials expressed interest in purchasing the new office building. "I think if it's a good deal, yeah," City Manager Pat McDonnell said.
But when McDonnell was told Wednesday about word that The Columbian was considering bankruptcy, the city manager expressed disbelief. "It would certainly be a significant impact to us and the community if this is the case," he said. Herbert Campbell bought The Columbian in 1921. Sons Don and Jack took over in 1962 and ran the paper for 25 years before Scott Campbell took the reins in 1987. He was 31.
The newspaper did well financially, as did Campbell. In 2001, he built a 6,743-square-foot house, complete with outdoor pool, on more than three acres along the Columbia River. By 2006, it was clear that newspapers faced a tough challenge. Readership and ad sales, particularly classified ads, declined across the country as the Internet gained sway.
But Campbell bet big on downtown Vancouver real estate. He formed a company, Downtown Vitality Partners, to purchase several downtown blocks in 2003. In 2006, the company started work on the six-story building. The handsome structure was part of a wave of projects that officials hoped would revive downtown. As construction proceeded, challenges facing newspapers grew, forcing papers across the country, including The Oregonian, to shrink their staffs. A national housing slump and, more recently, disarray on Wall Street, have compounded problems this year.
The Columbian news and business staffs moved into the new office in January. In the six months after the move, the paper cut 50 jobs, about 15 percent of the total staff. Seattle accounting firm Moss Adams backed out of a deal to lease a floor of the building, instead taking a corner space. But overall, Campbell said, leasing has proved pleasantly strong, considering business conditions. Of about 36,000 square feet of space not occupied by the newspaper, about 7,000 remains empty, he said.
On Aug. 11, Campbell put his riverfront house on the market for $5.95 million, then trimmed the price to $5.49 million 10 days later. Some company insiders viewed the moves as clear signs of the company's straits. But on Wednesday, the company said unless it can restructure its loan with Bank of America, Columbian Publishing will seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Columbian Publishing guaranteed repayment of the Bank of America debt, according to property records.
by Baba Booey : 10/8/08 3:35pm - Smirk...chuckle...guffaw...Normally I wouldn't do that, but in the case of the Columbian, I can't help it. Their arrogant, slanted, biased reporting, and shameless promotion of things that are bad for the city, but good for them......chortle
by Michael Lapham : 10/8/08 4:33pm - Those of us who are not left wing loons receive no value from the Columbian. It's editorials are so far to the left that you have to double check to see if its written by Karl Marx. But the real question is, who will cover the Mayor's butt when the Columbian is gone. I can go to the AP website and see 90% of the Columbian articles. So why buy the paper.
by Always Right : 10/8/08 4:42pm - anything that supports a welfare check to wall street criminals while critisizing a pay raise for the "real working class" deserves the consequences of their actions.
by Just Me : 10/8/08 5:24pm -Perhaps if the Columbian could offer a fair, balanced view, it might have more readership.
The Columbian Newspaper; In our view: Internet censor (Bill Warner)
Wednesday, May 07, 2008; A Florida man’s heart might be in the right place, but he is misguided in his bid to get a Vancouver Internet service company to drop a Somali-language Web site (Al-shabaab terrorists).
“There are groups like this one that associate with al-Qaida through Web sites that help promote the ideology, help find new recruits and help the effort to support terrorism,” Warner said in a Tuesday Columbian story by Courtney Sherwood. “It’s not freedom of speech. This site should not be hosted in Vancouver".
Certainly the world has changed since 9/11, and we don’t fault any citizen for being alert to signs of possible terrorism. But the line separating suspicion (and the alerting of authorities) from vigilantism and paranoia gets blurry fast, as it did in World War II when the U.S. government rounded up 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast and put them in camps, for fear they would assist the Axis countries. Dotster, which employs about 100 here and has clients worldwide, already works closely with the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies, says its CEO, Clint Page.
Dotster has more than 3 million domain names under its management, each with numerous Web pages. About once a week, Page told us, Dotster discovers one with questionable content, such as child pornography, anti-Semitism, credit card scams or possible terrorist sympathies. In other instances, authorities discover them first and come to Dotster.
Closing a site before the FBI has finished probing it might actually impede an investigation.“We have a close relationship with all law enforcement,” said Page, who in the late 1980s was vice president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council in Vancouver. “We routinely go to authorities with complaints.”Two of the most common, Page said, are child porn Web pages originating in the former Soviet Union and illegal gambling pages out of China. Without subpoenas (We don't need no stinkin subpoenas in Tampa, click here), Dotster is limited in what it may legally provide authorities, but, Page says, the company is as helpful as it may be under the law. With subpoenas, which it does get on occasion, Dotster provides even more information.“We cooperate as fully as we legally can as soon as we can,” he said. “A lot of times these Web sites are fleeting — shut down shortly after they are activated.”
Certainly a Web page that is intended to inspire terrorism should be probed and be a candidate for closure. But the FBI or other experts should make that decision, with a judge if that’s required by law........... It’s not Warner’s call.
SEE VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE TAMPA TERROR WEBSITE SMACK DOWN.