New West Linn post office to open this fall
After several years of uncertainty and three months of having to travel elsewhere to attend to mailing needs, West Linn community members may be able to visit a new community post office as early as this fall.
Mayor Jules Walters announced in a press release Wednesday, May 26, that the United States Postal Service had secured a location in the Cascade Summit shopping center after more than two years of searching for a suitable site.
"Our new Post Office will have all functions that the community is looking for including retail, P.O. boxes, package pickup, sorting and mail carrier parking," Walters' release stated.
To make room for the post office, several businesses in the shopping center will have to relocate, according to Walters. The city intends to help these businesses find solutions to stay open, she added. The relocation of these businesses, along with the closure of others, means there will be enough room for the post office in the shopping center.
One of the storefronts departing Cascade Summit will be The Summit youth center run by Willamette Christian Church, Walters said in the release. She added the city will prioritize finding an alternative space moving forward.
West Linn's post office in the Central Village shut its doors in February despite several years of citizens protesting the imminent closure and pressure on USPS from West Linn's congressional delegation to find a solution.
Walters' statement notes that construction will begin at the new location in June, with hopes for the facility to open in the fall.
The recently-secured lease for the new post office lasts 10 years, with the potential for two five-year extensions. This means that for the next decade, West Linn won't have to deal with the back and forth between looming closures and temporary lease extensions, as has been the case for the past four years.
"The scarcity of available land in West Linn made it very difficult to find a location capable of meeting the Postal Service's needs for the future," Walters wrote. "The Cascade Summit site is centrally located for the entire city, is already zoned commercial and is compatible with neighboring businesses, so it meets all of the criteria we were looking for. I think it's a great solution for West Linn."
USPS previously said the Central Village facility was not big enough for all its needs, noting that it required about 75,000 square feet of land or a 10,000-square-foot building with enough space for 65 exclusive-parking stalls. The new post office will be 10,000 square feet and fit USPS's other requirements.
Diana Cubbage, a member of the West Linn Post Office Retention Committee, said she was very pleased to hear Wednesday's news.
"People have been very unhappy and to be honest, I'm one of those people, but I think the mayor and others who have helped to do this need to be commended because it's way too long for us not to have a post office," Cubbage said. "Sometimes you just have to put the pieces together very carefully and I'm so happy for our community that this has happened."
Sen. Jeff Merkley, who worked with Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Kurt Schrader and city of West Linn officials to pressure USPS to stay in West Linn, was happy about the announcement as well.
"As the search for a new West Linn Post Office location dragged on, I heard from countless West Linn residents frustrated by the lack of progress and transparency shown by USPS. I shared those frustrations, and now, I am grateful that USPS agreed to respond to the public's demands and return a full-service post office to the community," Merkley said in a statement to Pamplin Media Group. "As the relocation progresses, I will continue urging an expedient and transparent process. My thanks to the City of West Linn and Mayor Jules Walters for all their work to get us to this exciting point, and to all the West Linn residents who weighed in with my office."
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