This little monthly newspaper has had an outsize impact on Southeast Portland for over a century. It started publishing the year after the 1905 Portland World Expo – and now, at age 116, it finds itself with the second largest circulation of any newspaper in the Pamplin Media portfolio of 25 Oregon local newspapers – approximately 45,000 readers every month, almost all of them in Inner Southeast – a number behind only its sister citywide newspaper, the Portland Tribune.
A year ago, it won a statewide award for news excellence. And, in an era in which newspapers are sometimes considered an endangered species, it has one of the most loyal readerships of any general circulation newspaper we know of. That would include you, and we thank you. We’ll keep trying to earn it.
But, surprisingly enough, THE BEE also has the smallest staff of any newspaper we know of, only one full-time employee, who is editor, sales manager, janitor, and what have you. Keeping the costs down is one way of keeping a newspaper profitable in an era like this.
As that editor, we are NOT taking a bow for ourselves. (We elegantly use the royal “we.”) We are having the time of our life, but this newspaper would be nothing without those who contribute the content that you expect in it every month – all of them freelance writers.
Among them is David F. Ashton, whose tireless efforts provide a large portion of our news content. We deeply appreciate David, and when his doctor advised him of the immediate need for open heart surgery this past fall to restore normal circulation and return him to health, we supported him – and prepared to do without his reporting for a while.
However, David resolved to do most of his normal reporting right up until he entered the hospital – even though his health was such that it was a severe struggle. And he supplied us with some feature articles we could use in his absence.
Some of our other correspondents stepped up to do extra work to help fill the gap – particularly Elizabeth Ussher Groff and Rita A. Leonard, who have been contributing articles to THE BEE for over a quarter century. A recent addition to our contributors, Paige Wallace, has leaped into the breach with several notable stories as well. And Dana Beck, the popular but retired Westmoreland and Brooklyn postal counter person, monthly sends us his detailed and fascinating historical retrospectives of Inner Southeast that are so welcomed by our readers each month.
As soon as he was out of the hospital and recovering, David began to see what he could do to contribute again to THE BEE, despite being under initial orders to stay home and not lift anything. He encountered health setbacks along the way but almost immediately began to do what news work he could do from home, and as his restrictions have eased, he has started to do field reporting again. Since then, not one issue of THE BEE has failed to carry stories contributed by David F. Ashton.
As he continues to recover and has also begun to reactivate his online news service for those in Outer East Portland – www.eastPDXnews.com. We salute David F. Ashton for all he does for us, and for you, in reporting the news in Inner Southeast Portland. And our appreciation extends to all who each month contribute to this newspaper – including readers who give us tips or write letters to the editor to inform you further.
There is one other person we would like to salute for leaping into this breach during David’s surgery and recovery – the Portland Tribune’s education-beat reporter, Courtney Vaughn. She made a point of contributing to THE BEE several definitive articles on specific Inner Southeast education issues over the past four months, and we hope to present more of her work – as it relates to Inner Southeast – in the months ahead.
All these people join us in our monthly mission to reliably bring you a summary of what has happened and what IS happening right here in our vibrant part of Portland! Much of it is not otherwise covered in other news media, but you read it all here each month.
And although many of our readers already receive THE BEE in the mail each month, the constantly increasing cost of postage may mean reducing our complimentary mailing in years to come. If you don’t already receive THE BEE in the mail, our circulation department has recently streamlined the subscription process. A year-long by-mail subscription to THE BEE costs only $25 – and, now it costs the same both locally and anywhere in the United States. (International rates are available.) That simply covers our cost of postage.
To subscribe for yourself or someone else, call this special number during weekday business hours: 503-620-9797. If voicemail answers, leave a message with your phone number, and you should get a return call. Or you can send an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.