Access to post office will change on Powell Boulevard

Eastbound drivers must circle around to enter now

Drivers used to pulling into Gresham's Powell Boulevard U.S. Post Office may have to change their approach as a median will soon divide the west and east lanes.

Traffic headed east on Powell Boulevard will no longer be able to pull into the post office or the Trufflehunter Restaurant once the median is in place. Instead, patrons will have to turn onto Ava Avenue and circle back to Powell headed west, or turn onto Northwest Miller and turn back to Powell.

Amanda Bloom, co-owner of the Trufflehunter, is concerned that the access problems will only continue the recent trend of low sales during heavy construction along Powell.

'We're not excited about it,' Bloom said. 'We're not OK with it. It'll be harder for customers to get here. I think the first few months will be difficult as people get used to it.'

The city is expanding the restaurant's entry to two lanes. Customers can also access the parking lot from First Street, although that can be difficult with all of the traffic exiting the post office.

Gresham Postmaster Rich Weber is concentrating on improving the Powell Boulevard office's parking situation. Right now, customers have to drive in a circle to park and exit.

'My concern is more the way the traffic pattern was inside the parking lot,' Weber said. 'I'm meeting with an architect next Wednesday to discuss changing how people get in and out of the parking lot. It's a Gordian Knot. What we're looking to do is have it so people who come in can immediately turn right or park or go through.'

The construction project will be concentrating on downtown Gresham as it winds down to a projected Sept. 30 finish.

'As far as the construction is concerned, I'm looking forward to the way it's going to look,' Weber said.

Construction began last October off Southeast 174th Avenue and then crossed Eastman Parkway into downtown Gresham.

The $14 million project - nearly $11.6 million of which pays for road improvements - began at Gresham's western city limits and will end at Burnside Road where Highway 26 begins.

Funding comes from a combination of $5.25 million in Oregon Transportation Investment Act dollars, $6 million in developer-paid transportation impact fees and $2.6 million in city capital improvement funds for new water, stormwater and sewer pipes.

In short, the project is designed to ease traffic on West Powell Boulevard while creating pedestrian-friendly features in the downtown core.