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New Paper Hires Shop

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Hometown shop JohnsonSheen Advertising has been selected to introduce Oregon's new twice-weekly newspaper, The Portland Tribune. The full-color broadsheet is being launched Feb. 9 in a bid to move the Pacific Northwest hub away from its position as a one-newspaper town.

While successful newspaper launches have been rare in recent years, backers of the plucky upstart said they have both the resources and the market demand needed to make it work.

The paper, which will be free and is projected to have an initial circulation of about 150,000, is the brainchild of local media mogul Robert Cross and his company, Pamplin Media.

Even so, executives at JohnsonSheen acknowledged they were initially taken aback by the idea and wondered if there was room for a fledgling newspaper in a market dominated by Portland-based The Oregonian. They also noted that the 10-week window between the account win and the paper's launch date creates a serious time crunch.

"Our first question was: 'Why the hell are you doing this?' " said agency president Pat Johnson. "They see it as a gift to Portland, and the opportunity to create another voice. My only wish is that they had hired us 10 days ago.''

She added that a budget for the work has not been set, but said she expects it to be in the $1 million range.

Don Olson, publisher of The Portland Tribune, said he selected JohnsonSheen based on its work for a previous Pamplin magazine, This Week. He said he did not conduct a review because of time constraints.