After less than three months in business, alternative weekly newspaper DigPortland is no more.

Mark Guerringue, publisher of rival paper The Portland Phoenix, said Monday that he has signed an agreement to purchase DigPortland for an undisclosed sum and shut it down.

Under the sale arrangement, Guerringue said he also has agreed to drop a pending lawsuit against DigPortland owner Dig Publishing LLC and two of its key employees, former Phoenix managers who staged a walkout in November and became the core of the DigPortland staff.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, accused former Phoenix general managers John Marshall and Marc Shepard of violating contractual agreements and stealing business information, trade secrets and intellectual property from the Phoenix, charges they vehemently denied.

Guerringue’s company, Portland News Club LLC, purchased the Phoenix from its former owner, Boston-based Phoenix Media/Communications Group, in mid-November, right before the first issue of DigPortland was published.

Guerringue said it became clear right away that the Portland market could not sustain both newspapers.


“It was kind of an unfortunate circumstance that we both started at the same time,” he said. “There really isn’t room for two alternative weeklies.”

DigPortland publisher and co-owner Jeff Lawrence said in a written statement that agreeing to let the newspaper be shut down was “a tough decision but it was the right one.”

“When we entered the Portland market, we were committed to providing quality journalism and arts and entertainment coverage, and in a very short period of time, we achieved that and are extremely proud of it,” Lawrence said. “That said, it takes a lot of resources to provide that kind of journalism, and this buyout will allow the Portland Phoenix to invest more than we can in the market.”

In December, Guerringue announced that Portland News Club’s flagship paper, The Portland Sun, would cease publication on Dec. 23, and that the company would instead focus on expanding and improving the Phoenix, including the addition of in-depth investigative journalism.

Guerringue said Monday that DigPortland will not publish any more issues. He said its staff is welcome to approach him about potential jobs, but there are no positions currently available.

“The Dig employees are invited to contact us, the Phoenix, and a few already have,” he said.


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