Despite a “thanks, but no thanks” response from Troutdale, the Portland Development Commission will still consider moving the U.S. Postal Service distribution center to the Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park.

The PDC had assured Troutdale leaders that if the city is not interested in the post office’s new 800,000-square-foot facility being built in the industrial property, the commission would seek property elsewhere. However, Shawn Uhlman, PDC public affairs manager, indicated that is not necessarily true.

“Certainly that message has been received from the City Council,” Uhlman said. “What’s really going to happen now is PDC will continue to work with the Port (of Portland) and really examine the sites that have already been up for consideration in the city of Portland and outside of Portland. That does include the city of Troutdale site.”

Talks started around August between Troutdale and the PDC to consider relocating the distribution facility from Northwest Hoyt Street in the Pearl District to lots 7 and 8 in the TRIP property off Sundial Road, but the Troutdale council decided Nov. 24 that it would prefer to discontinue negotiations. The PDC had offered $6.45 million to Troutdale as compensation for foregone property taxes — a downside of the USPS facility, which, as a federal agency, does not pay property taxes.

Uhlman indicated that what the council said in its discussion is being considered, and there were some legitimate concerns, but the PDC is hopeful the conversation can continue.

“It’s not to go around them, but more about can we continue to discuss, if there is still an opportunity there, and what are the concerns that still exist,” Uhlman said.

One question is if the council ultimately decided to decline the offer — which it did — could the post office still locate in Troutdale?

“While they might be able to exercise their federal prerogative and site this whether we like to or not, they will not do so if we don’t agree,” City Manager Craig Ward said at the Nov. 24 discussion. “I take them, the PDC and Port, at their word. If we don’t want that project, we can say no.”

Uhlman said there are other sites being considered, at least two in Portland and two outside the city, but the PDC intends to continue considering all the sites.

“Everybody who’s been involved in these discussions will continue to be part of the discussion,” he said.

Troutdale, however, was the only party to receive a formal offer.

“I think it was further along from a timing standpoint,” Uhlman said. “It made sense to make sure the folks of Troutdale knew what was on deck.”

The council was also concerned that if they did decline, the $6.45 million would be off the table if the postal service located at TRIP.

Uhlman speculated that if the relocation moved forward into Troutdale, that discussion would also occur.

“The issues that have been raised by the city are legitimate,” he said. “I think the PDC will certainly still want to have a conversation of what it looks like. This is not a situation where one of the parties in the process are not feeling like their needs are being heard.”

That could mean more money for Troutdale, if the discussion resumes.

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