A combined theoretical and experimental study is presented for the flow-induced compaction of a one-dimensional fibrous porous medium near its gel point for deformation at low and high rates. The theory is based on a two-phase model in which the permeability is a function of local solid fraction, and the deformation of the solid is resisted by both a compressive yield stress and a rate-dependent bulk viscosity. All three material properties are parameterized and calibrated for cellulose fibers using sedimentation, permeation, and filtration experiments. It is shown that the incorporation of rate-dependence in the solid stress significantly improves the agreement between theory and experiment when the drainage flow is relatively rapid. The model is extended to rates outside the range where it was calibrated to understand the dynamics of a standard test for pulp suspensions: the Canadian Standard Freeness test. The model adequately captures all of the experimental findings, including the score of the freeness test, which is found to be sensitively controlled by the bulk solid viscosity and to a lesser degree by the permeability law, but depends only weakly on the compressive yield stress.