Tualatin residents vigorously reject proposal to move post office
Proposed relocation to Teton Avenue draws extensive protests Tuesday
More than 40 residents packed into a community room at Tualatin Public Library on Tuesday evening to let United States Postal Service officials know in no uncertain terms they dont want the citys post office relocated to a new site.
Concerns about traffic, travel distance for elderly visitors to the proposed facility, parking problems and the fact it would no longer be in a commercial/retail location topped the list of concerns.
At issue is a proposal to move the Tualatin Post Office from its leased space at 19190 S.W. 90th Ave. to a facility already owned by the USPS at 18850 S.W. Teton Ave. Greg Shelton, a real estate specialist in the facilities department for the USPS, said his agency is considering a move from Tualatins current 10,000-square foot site (where the Post Office uses only about one-third of the space there) to the larger 14,000-square-foot facility on Teton where they would use 4,000 square feet for retail operations. Also on hand at Tuesdays meeting were Becky L. Robson, USPS manager for post office operations in Portland, and Jessica Berkey, postmaster for the Tualatin Post Office.
Shelton said the move would save $100,000 based on an upcoming increase to its current $250,000 per year lease, which will go into effect in April 2017. A fact sheet distributed Tuesday pointed out what most already know the United States Postal Service, which is self-supporting, continues to lose money because of increased electronic communication (although package volumes continue to increase, according to a postal official).
But those gathered were adamant that the facility stay where it has been since the 1980s.
Tualatin City Councilor Joelle Davis said she was surprised to learn of the proposed move, saying the current post office is a busy place and pointing out that the proposed location is not in a commercial area. In addition, the Teton Avenue site is more difficult to access, she said, equating finding the building to a treasure hunt.
Davis also didnt mince her words regarding the upkeep and maintenance of the leased 90th Avenue location, saying it was a disgrace.
Others agreed that the current post office location should remain. Linda Moholt, Tualatin Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, said her organization was also against a move.
We believe moving this post office would be a huge detriment to business, she said.
Already, she said, United Parcel Service, the largest employer on Teton Avenue, causes traffic jams, she said.
Its crazy, said Moholt.
In addition, California Closets, which is adjacent to the postal facility on Teton Avenue, told Moholt of their concerns regarding the effects of increased traffic, limited parking, poor lighting at night and other issues on their business. The owners estimated it would cost them a minimum of $150,000 if they had to relocate.
Another member of the Tualatin City Council, Frank Bubenik, pointed to Forest Grove as a city where a new post office location was needed, noting that officials should focus on cities that actually want a different postal facility.
Forest Grove is doing cartwheels ... because the old post office is a disaster, he said.
Some audience members expressed concern for seniors who walk to the current facility because it is more centrally located, with one senior advocate saying it would be unconscionable to move to a new site.
Other comments included those from:
A former U.S. Postal Service employee who said hes seen some communities that have dried up when their post office goes away.
A resident who lives off of Tualatin Road and worries about increases in traffic, saying To have that much traffic on Teton is just mind-boggling, she said.
A resident who noted that the landscaping at the current facility is so poorly maintained that shes used hedge clippers in the past to remove vegetation by the door that was sticking out.
A man who said the U.S. Postal Service isnt living up to its new tagline of Priority: You. He added: Teton is not the place to put a post office in Tualatin.
Still, Shelton pointed out, Its not a done deal. Its in the planning stages, something that drew audible skepticism from some audience members.
Ill try my best but I cant guarantee the outcome, he said.