The ‘Register Gag’

Missing what we had? Support what we have

I still subscribe to The Register-Guard, and I think you should too. Or, if you do not, you should be reading it regularly. Why? Because of the local news stories and events. 

It’s easy. Just go to a locally owned, non-multi-national coffee conglomerate, like Full City. You can read it there for the price of a cup of good coffee. And, along with Eugene Weekly and KLCC, it will help you to understand what is going on in your community. 

Up until very recently we had the distinction of having one of the last, best, locally and family owned daily newspapers in the nation. We lost two of the three — it’s not locally or family owned any longer — but it’s still our own daily newspaper. And, as lacking as it is, I would rather have it than not have it. 

Of course the new RG is not the RG we all used to complain about. I cannot recall a time when just about everyone I knew did not denigrate the “Register Gag” or the “Red Guard,” or “The Rag.”

The paper was either too liberal or too conservative, and endorsed the wrong candidates, and supported the wrong ballot measures. It was way too corporate, too Democrat, or too Republican. Then, it was sold to an out-of-state media corporation, and everybody suddenly decided, while they hated the new one, they loved the old RG

I have subscribed to the RG for as long as I have lived in Oregon, from 1974. Back then I lived on the Umpqua River, at a place called Sawyer Rapids, about half way between Scottsburg and Elkton. The Register-Guard was an afternoon paper then, and I would eagerly anticipate its arrival in the little tubular box on the highway.

It was delivered to our door, every day, by Mary Sell. I still remember how much the RG meant to me back then, and Ms. Sell faithfully delivered it every day. 

The RG was my window to Eugene/Springfield, and Oregon. I marveled at the quality of the writing and, of course, the photography. I eagerly awaited those Brian Lanker photos. In the 1980s, we lived in the Florence area, first on Rhododendron Drive then at Siltcoos Station, on a remote corner of Siltcoos Lake near Ada. Our isolation there was punctuated daily by the afternoon delivery of The Register-Guard

Admittedly, it’s not the good-old RG anymore. It’s a quicker read these days. But it is still a good source for local news.

Over the course of any week, there are dozens of local stories — stories about the community and the people who live here. I know of no other daily source for that information. Where else would I get it? Yes, KLCC has it, but not in depth, and many of the stories begin with “according to The Register-Guard.”

Let me get this straight. You are unhappy that the RG was sold to a media company, and it is not as good as it used to be. It’s a different paper with a different look. There are oodles of reasons to not like the new RG, including the fact that a lot of really good people lost their jobs there.

So your answer is to cancel your subscription? You hope that it just goes away? I get that you do not want to support the new RG, but it’s the only RG that we have. If it goes away, whatever replaces it will be worse. Just check out The Oregonian.

How would I know the Eugene City Council is, or is not, considering the EWEB building for City Hall? Or why the City Hall project was canceled and replaced with the “town square” project? How else would I know why the Farmers Market is so integral to that project?  How would I know that the infamous gravel pit on Pearl is soon to become the parking lot on Pearl?

For me, the RG has been instrumental in my understanding of these and other local issues.

Of course, I could go on and on. I believe we are lucky to still have a daily newspaper. I am aware of the fact that it is not locally produced any more. I am appalled and saddened by the layoffs and job losses suffered by the wonderful people who created a special paper. I don’t like the fact that the paper is put together in Texas. I don’t like the new look.

I am angered and saddened by all of these indignities.

But, as sad and mad as I am about what happened to the old “Gag,” I would be way more saddened if it went away, or if it came back as something as worthless as The Oregonian.

For now, we still have a daily newspaper that regularly reports on what is happening in our community. I value that. And that is why I will continue to read it and subscribe.

And, Greg, if you read this: Thank you for putting that paper on my porch every morning. 

Bob Warren retired in 2012 as the regional business development officer for Business Oregon for Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Benton counties.

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