SALEM — EO Media Group, the parent company of The Observer, Baker City Herald and 11 other newspapers across Oregon, announced on Wednesday it is laying off 47 employees.

The cuts are the result of the loss of advertising revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company spread the layoffs across the newspaper chain. They include two jobs at The Observer and an employee shared with regional newspapers. Overall, the company is reducing its workforce 18%.

“It’s been an extraordinary few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our daily lives and business operations,” said Bend Bulletin Publisher and EOMG Chief Operating Officer Heidi Wright on Wednesday. “The revenue losses due to the closing of commercial businesses to prevent the spread of the virus has created a ripple effect across the nation, forcing layoffs in many industries.

“As you can imagine, the revenue pullback across the company has been dramatic, with many businesses closing their doors and events being canceled throughout the region. Many of the big box stores have canceled their advertising until further notice. We are taking action now in order to stabilize our operations and keep our staff intact as much as possible during this time of crisis.

“We believe that this is the best course, but do not take this action lightly. While this is painful, it could be short-lived if, by some miracle, the economy bounces back after the corornavirus runs its course and we see local retailers reopen and begin advertising again,” Wright said. “But there are no promises. This economic downturn could be with us for a long time.”

The Observer was founded in 1896 and serves Union and Wallowa counties.

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