December 21, 2012 | The Oregonian

Cabel Maxfield Sasser explores the “very, very old basement” of a building in Portland, Ore., and realizes that a major Internet hub for the Northwest used to be a pressroom. Old newspaper pages and humorous rules about conduct in the pressroom are still plastered to the walls (if “you wish to get intoxicated, do so only on the job”). Someone who works in the building tells him “they used to print The Oregonian down here, way back.”

It’s probably not The Oregonian’s old pressroom, Mike Rogoway writes in The Oregonian: “historical evidence suggests that the newspaper printed continuously at another site — the old Oregonian Building at Southwest Sixth and Alder — from the 1890s until the late 1940s.”

The Pittock Block, where Sasser conducted his exploration, had been a potential home for The Evening Telegram in 1914, Rogoway writes.

Pittock did house other publishers at times — a 1924 directory lists both the American Educational Association and Western American Publishing Co.

So the mystery remains. Sasser’s pictures are beautiful, and with the changes that have come to The Oregonian’s corporate siblings in the past year, they have some extra resonance.

“The roar of the presses that ruled these rooms has been replaced, just as we all suspected, with the calculated silence of the conduit that carries our data,” Sasser writes. “[N]ever has the building’s transformation been so lyrically conveyed,” Rogoway writes about Sasser’s post.

Photo from Cabel Maxfield Sasser
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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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