In March of 2021 I was leaving the Washington County planning department on my way East on Main and witnessed a tree removal company remove some large Maples from the side of the Hillsboro Post Office. These trees were big enough to harvest for saw logs which puts them in the 30 to 50-year-old range. They were healthy trees, so I wondered then what was happening and grabbed some photos.
The next day they logged off all of the trees in the parking lot to the South of these trees. That eliminated the theory that they were just trying to remove a tree to close to the postal building. As we watched, they took down at least a dozen large maples from the landscape islands in the parking lot. They were beautiful trees that not only provided much-needed shade but they put on a color show in the Fall. Now 18 month later nothing has been replanted and the landscaping islands are filled with weeds.
Look at the 2018 postal parking lot.
Many of you may have read our ground-breaking article about Heat Islands and why we must have them. They are a matter of code here in Hillsboro. Read our Heat Island article here. Now, look at what this federally owned Post Office and the property around it look like post tree cutting.
Now that the trees are gone, the Federal Government can not even spring for some barn dust. This is 1st and Main and is the West entrance to our City. This is unacceptable. The Herald has a call into City Manager Robby Hammond’s office to get his take on this embarrassment. We know the City may be powerless against the Feds, but it is possible that they have broken our city laws, and if they have, we need to get after them.
Discussions have erupted on Next Door on this issue just as we were writing this- and those conversations have some locals beyond just us fired up!
Many post offices are owned by private parties who lease the government land and buildings on long-term arrangements. In fact, that is usually the case. But this particular post office has been owned by the USPS for a long time. And would you believe this is almost 2 acres of high-density land? If developed into much-needed housing, this site could provide a residential hub for our town like no other. Interesting right?
The Herald called the postal offices and left a message to no avail. We also left calls with Senator Ron Wyden’s Office and are hoping that this may get some responses. If nothing else, we could lean on some people here in Hillsboro with a Civic pride campaign and have a work day to clean up that ugly dirt pile in front. The Herald will sponsor an event if any of you want to assist and take the reigns! This seems like a great project for some of our youth to jump in on. Perhaps a drought resistance NW native landscape would be nice?
I had to wonder something. Is this an issue where the Federal Government is being punitive to Hillsboro after Mayor Callaway and our council stood up to Federal authorities in 2020 when ICE demanded court and jail records on the ethnicity and resident status of those incarcerated? Read more on that here.
To answer that question, we took a look at some neighboring cities’ US Postal offices. Check these out, and you be the judge.
The Aloha, Oregon Post Office is adorned with a lawn, planter strip, and significant trees!
The Beaverton Post office has a large rose garden, box hedges, and trees on 2 sides!
Lake Oswego has a variety of Douglas Fir, Vine Leaf Maple, and hedges around the entire property.
Banks, Oregon, has a post office reflecting the town’s agrarian base with a white rail fence, cherries trees, maples, firs, and juniper!
If I wasn’t an edumacated human, I might think the Feds were picking on us. But we all know nothing like that could ever happen, right? Not with award-winning Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on the job (says choking back tears)!
One solution I will offer is to work a deal with Washington County and the Feds to trade the land adjacent to the Walnut Street post office in West Hillsboro for the land on 1st and Main. The City can help find a new user for the post office downtown and work with them to build a new post office on the County-owned land West of the current postal service. See the blue boxes below? A perfect spot for a new postal service, and it would be adjacent to the processing center. How does that sound- Win Win, right?
So let’s get to the bottom of this BS shall we citizens? What say you?
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