Tough Times for Oregon Printers

PORTLAND, OR—Leading Media Print Group, created by the 2006 merger of Times Litho and Northwest Web, has gone under. The Times Litho plant, in Forest Grove, OR, dismissed 70 employees in November, according to the Portland Tribune. The Oregonian reported that the Northwest Web branch in Eugene suspended operations four weeks earlier, leaving 30 people out of work. Ken Mitchell, vice president of operations, told the Tribune that the printer had ample work, but fell victim to the credit crisis.

“What we’re hearing is that the bank we’re dealing with is having issues,” Mitchell told the paper. “It’s not feasible to go forward without cash flow.”

Another Eugene printer, 101-year-old Koke Printing, closed its doors in early December, costing 46 employees their jobs. In a press release, the company cited changes in the printing industry and the financial crisis that affected orders from existing customers, as being behind the move.

The timing of the shutdown was aimed at guaranteeing that current customer work would be completed and that creditors would be paid in full. During 2008, Koke Printing reportedly saw a more than 40 percent drop in its highly profitable, nationwide auction brochure business.

“Making this decision is very difficult,” said Dick Pierce, president of Koke Printing, in a release. “I have made my life’s work building businesses and am proud of all of the people we have been able to employ in my lifetime. Our employees have been the lifeblood of this company for several generations. It was for the employees that we kept going as long as we have.”

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