The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle will continue for another year as Okanogan County’s official newspaper of record.
Commissioners Sheilah Kennedy and Ray Campbell made the decision last Tuesday afternoon to draft a new contract with The Chronicle, citing a higher circulation than the other bidder, the Oroville-based Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune.
Commissioner Jim DeTro was absent.
“It’s an honor to continue as the county’s official newspaper,” Chronicle Publisher Roger Harnack said, noting the publication provides county agencies the most “bang for their buck” when it comes to public notices.
As the newspaper of record, The Chronicle will publish all of Okanogan County’s legal notices required by state law. The newspaper is also the publication of record for Okanogan, Omak and Brewster.
The winning bid was $6.50 per column-inch and $50 for foreclosure notices, for a countywide circulation of 4,719 homes. The Gazette-Tribune bid $5 per column-inch, but failed to provide in-county circulation figures.
The Gazette-Tribune bid for the contract in cooperation with the Quad City Herald, a small out-of-county publication covering southern Okanogan County and north Douglas County. However, Harnack cited a legal statute that resulted in commissioners only considering the Oroville newspaper’s circulation figures.
Revised Code of Washington 65.16.020 requires newspapers to have offices based in the county to be the newspaper of record. The Herald closed its Brewster office on Main Avenue in January 2013 and moved to Chelan, where its sister newspaper, the Lake Chelan Mirror, is based.
“The bid process requires only that you consider circulation that meets the newspaper of record process,” Harnack said. “The Quad City Herald does not have staff in the county, not a rep for selling ads, not a reporter, not an editor. They do not have an office.”
Harnack said the Herald could be considered “added value,” much like The Chronicle’s shopper, Bottomline, which reaches 10,983 more in-county homes, but cannot be considered a newspaper of record under the statute.
“The goal is the circulation, and it is for allowing as many of the public to reach information that is being provided in… the legal newspaper,” Kennedy said, noting that Gazette-Tribune’s total circulation alone is 1,797.
The Chronicle’s overall circulation of 6,384.
The Herald is owned by Leavenworth-based NCW Media, Inc.
The Gazette-Tribune is owned by Sound Publishing of Everett, a subsidiary of Canadian-owned Black Press.
The Chronicle is owned by Salem, Ore.-based Eagle Newspapers, Inc. But management decisions are made locally.
Two other Okanogan County-based newspapers, the independent Methow Valley News and the Colville tribe-owned Tribal Tribune, did not submit bids.
Harnack noted the Tribal Tribune publishes monthly, which would also take it out of the running for consideration under state law.