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?
We need your thoughts and want you to weigh in. Leave your comments below and what you think we can do about it. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us on all major social media!
The post office landscaping has been a dismal eyesore for a very long time! Hope positive changes will be made possible!
Yes, it is an ugly part of our town for sure. Landscaping yes but moving the post office is a wasted effort if it still a sound building. More city money going for something useless. The cost of a new building and the design of it seems to be a waste, unless the workflow, or structure is not useful. and, what then? Will we be looking at another eyesore of an abandoned building? A Hole in the ground? The post office we have downtown makes more sense to me, location wise. A waterpark on 25th’s Bicentennial Park would not be expensive and would be appreciated. Personally, I am surprised the Army is still stuck in that old building by the eyesore at the Fairgrounds. That design is awful.
The land where the post office sits is worth Millions. The people living there would energize downtown and bring people onto the light rail and close to their work where they could walk or ride a bike. Presumably, the Post Office would use the money generated from the sale and do addition or add a new wing to their current facility. And let’s be honest, the Center of Hillsboro is Orenco now- not the downtown are where so many people have to drive so far. That, and the post office is all but irrelevant for most people. Whatever the solution is, this ugly property needs to be updated.
The Army is not really using the National Guard buildings on the fair grounds- they need a new location for a station and that would be Federal money too.
Water at Bicentennial Park would be cool! Thank you for your comments!
This is due to State and federal employees working from home. The new buzz word ” quitting quietly” is getting some traction. Covid is over guys! Dirk, next time you have Robby Hammond on the phone ask him, when are bringing back staff?
I sure will – and I am asking.
It is hard to believe that the Feds would have a facility as ugly as the current Post Office….frankly I think that property is an embarrassment to Hillsboro. Something needs to be done and soon.
The Downtown Hillsboro Business Partnership did a landscape clean up and replanting with native plants on the Post Office grounds. All volunteer effort. To their dismay, it was ripped out by a hired landscaper shortly before the trees were removed. People have tried to help, but it has not been appreciated. Rather than offering to replant, I think we locals should start a petition campaign and media pressure to force the issue. Our downtown is so lovely for the most part (that god awful giant crane will be gone someday) allowing the removal of the trees and landscaping was tragic. However, that being said, the City doesn’t have a strong tree ordinance to prevent things like this from happening. But I can imagine if we did people would be up in arms that their property rights were violated. Maybe a call to one of the TV stations to start making an issue of this along with a petition demanding the landscaping be restored and maintained might cause enough embarrassment to get someone’s attention. Hard to determine who is at fault here. Property owners can do as they please pretty much.
Sounds good to me. I’m all for moving downtown land to a higher, better use.
Good article! Thank you. I wonder if it’s related to this: