The Observer, established in 1896,[2] is a newspaper that serves Union and Wallowa counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. Its headquarters are in La Grande, the county seat of Union County. The Observer circulates Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons to more than 11,000 people.[2] It is owned by the Bend-based Western Communications, a family-owned company that also owns newspapers in Baker City, Brookings, and Redmond, and in Crescent City and Sonora, California.[2]

Staff and management

The Observer has 30 employees, one of whom is based in Enterprise; its publisher is Kari Borgen.[2]


Prompted by a school board decision at La Grande High School to end plans for a production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, playwright Steve Martin wrote a letter to The Observer about the controversy, saying that he "could understand how some parents might object to certain lines if they were to be delivered by a 16- or 17-year-old" but he "believe[d] that the spirit of the play and its endorsement of the arts and sciences are appropriate for young eyes and minds"; in order to "prevent the play from acquiring a reputation it does not deserve" he offered to "finance a non-profit, off-high school campus production ... so that individuals, outside the jurisdiction of the school board but within the guarantees of freedom of expression provided by the Constitution of the United States, can determine whether they will or will not see the play, even if they are under 18."[3]

In 2012 the newspaper reduced its frequency to three days a week, publishing issues on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.