​​​​“What good is a newspaper in this day and age?” 

The question comes from a surprising source.  Michael Wong, the managing editor of the Beaverton Resource Guide, the Beaverton Farmers Market Vendor Guide, and the jazz publication, Blue Notes, has spent a large part of his professional life making sure that actual newspapers get printed with compelling content and distributed to an avid readership.  

Not surprisingly, he answers his own question. “My main demographic for the Beaverton Resource Guide is seniors who pick it up and read it religiously from cover to cover,” he says, “but actually, there are quite a few of us who enjoy it.”  The Guide has an electronic version, beavertonresourceguide.com, but many of Wong’s readers pick up the paper for the physical pleasure of the heft of it, its considerable size offering unknown treasures revealed page by page. The very act of opening the publication is to enter another world whose inhabitants are words from which we create our own images, to turn the pages and smell the unique smell of newsprint and ink.

July 2021 Beaverton Resource Guide cover
July 2021 Beaverton Resource Guide cover

Every month 600 papers are delivered door to door in the inner Beaverton downtown area by BDA volunteer, Dick Nichols, and whoever he can rope into it, but the majority of the paper, about 9,400 copies, are distributed at 170 locations throughout Beaverton including such hot spots as Fred Meyers, Safeway, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and McDonalds.  

Wong describes the Beaverton Resource Guide, or BRG, as a hyper-local publication. “We focus on Beaverton,” he says, “What makes it a great place to live, work and play.  When people open the paper we want them to find it colorful, positive, and uplifting.  Maybe they learn something new about the city that they didn’t know before.”

Wong came to Beaverton in 2005 and joined the publishing and graphics group, Cedar House Media in 2010 when there were just three employees, including owner Cory Burden.  In 2011 BRG was born and it’s been Wong’s baby ever since.  But that’s certainly not all he does.  

The man is a civic dynamo. He has been the president of the Beaverton Library Foundation since 2007. He founded the Beaverton Historical Society.  He volunteers with the Beaverton Police Department, most recently advising young people in a unique peer-to-peer youth court.  He is also on the Beaverton Downtown Association executive committee as well as the BDA promotions committee.

Cedar House Media's new home on Allen Blvd.
Cedar House Media’s new home on Allen Blvd.

He says he does it for his kids.  He has two daughters, a 5th grader, and a 7th grader.  “When I moved to Beaverton,” he says, “I realized this is going to be my kid’s hometown.  It’s going to be what they connect with.  I want to make it the best and most welcoming it can be.  I want to know about this place.  I have no control over what happens nationally or globally but locally, I can make a difference.”

He says that volunteering is the best way to get involved in your community and the number of outlets available is staggering.  “You can work for SOLVE, for parks and rec, for the library, for the police department, for the arts foundation, If your goal is to find out what’s happening in town, get involved in your neighborhood association.”  And, he reminds everyone, you don’t have to just choose one.

The most exciting project he has been involved in recently was the Best of Beaverton Readers Choice Awards.  He came up with the idea when he went out to dinner with his sister he was visiting. He saw a plaque on the wall that said ‘No. 1 Mexican Restaurant in Greenwood Village’. “I thought Beaverton needs that.  A lot of businesses have been struggling over the past couple of years and some have closed.  People are staying home.  What we need is a catalyst to get people excited about what business they like and voting is a way to share their recommendations with their neighbors. This had never been done in Beaverton.”

Well, it was a lot of work but Wong says he’s glad he did it.  “We finished collecting votes on December 31 and I am still working on the results,” he says. “It’s ongoing.  I probably have another month’s worth of work. It was a lot of fun and people enjoyed it.  I will probably do it again”  He laughs ruefully, “ Maybe in another decade.” he says. He isn’t sure how many votes were cast but it was a lot. For the record, he says, setting up a contest is easy.   The hard work comes after it is all over but seeing the reaction of those who won has made the contest all worthwhile and a huge success. 

Also, for the record, True Potential Chiropractic not only won in its own category but also garnered enough votes to become the #1 best overall business in Beaverton.