Future of West Linn post office in peril
Not dead yet — that about sums up the current state of the West Linn Post Office.
The future of the post office has been in limbo since negotiations of a long-term lease renewal between USPS and property owner, Gramor, stalled last year.
Gramor and USPS were able to workout two short-term lease renewals, extending the life of the post office from October 2018 to Feb. 29, 2020.
Right now, the post office's lease with Gramor is set to expire in February with no new deal (short or long-term) on the table. Once that happens, post office officials have said retail operations of the West Linn Post Office would move to the Gladstone Post Office while West Linn mail carriers will begin operating out of Wilsonville.
But all hopes for the West Linn Post Office are not yet lost.
"We have expended some time drafting an alternative plan with the Post Office's expanded facility requirements that does consume a larger area than currently exists today. This plan is being reviewed," Gramor Director of Development Matt Grady told the Tidings in an email Oct. 17.
"If such a plan can satisfy the post office, a logical next step is to explore adjacent property owner's willingness to sell their properties."
New requirements requested by USPS—more building square footage and more parking space—and Gramor's inability to meet those demands based on the current configuration of the West Linn Central Village, as well as already agreed upon plans with other businesses in the shopping center, led to the halt in negotiations.
USPS wants a one-story, 10,000-square-foot building with 65 parking spaces, about two acres in total. Such a site, or at least something close, may be feasible if Gramor could acquire neighboring properties, though USPS and Gramor are exploring nearby sites as well.
"Discussions are underway with surrounding property owners," West Linn Community Development Director told the West Linn City Council. "However, those owners would need relocation and there aren't any readily available properties for them either. So it's slow going."
If Gramor and USPS strike a deal in the next four months, it's likely that the current West Linn Post Office will close while the space in the Central Village is rebuilt or remodeled. Greg Shelton, a real estate representative with USPS, said at community meeting in June that construction of a whole new post office would take about a year and a half.
USPS is also exploring the possibility of finding a new site in West Linn.
"The Postal Service is discussing options with the current landlord to relocate to a new development near the current site of the post office to keep all retail and carriers together north of the river," stated a USPS press release from Oct. 29. "If the Postal Service is unable to reach an agreement with the landlord, the Postal Service will seek other property as close as possible to the current location."
There is currently a small post office on the Marylhurst University campus just outside West Linn city limits.
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