Interior of coupola of Pioneer Custom House. Inside the Cupola of the Pioneer Post Office one can see the city from its windows. On the walls are photos showing the original views of historic Portland from the date the building was completed. If security measures restrict the public access, the really historic views comparing old and new Portland will lose flavor. Originally this cupola was used by the Custom Service to help catch smugglers trying to bring items into Portland on the river. There was a clear view of the river, unobstructed by the tall buildings of today.

Up-Date on Post Office Eviction Notice:

The plans to make major changes to buildings under Government Services Administration were all going forward October 31, 2002 because available funds were appropriated by a Senator in this fiscal year. The fact that the plans to "earthquake proof" the Post Office and then ensure it impenetrable to possible assassins is circumvented by a new Oregon law that buildings housing judges and courts were required to have parking lots beneath. A hole will go into one of the historic walls to accommodate an underground garage. Considering the car bombs in garages this will make the building less secure, not more. GSA has wanted to use an historic building as a test for an experimental process of base isolation for earthquake protection to prove it works. It is our opinion that if the Government wishes to test an experimental project of "earthquake proofing" they should select a building that is not as solidly constructed and one that is truly at risk of falling in the event of an earthquake and not one that has stood securely for a century and a half. However the good news is there has been an extension. The Post Office does not have to move out until April 1, 2003. This means closing down and packing up process at the PO is in the heaviest seasonal postal use, the holidays. The US Senators have all changed their positions. They now support the wishes of citizens over the GSA and three judges now occupying the building. The one Congressman, David Wu, who was a strong supporter has also switched but only to a no opinion stance. Write to The Hon. David Wu, either at his Oregon office or at the Washington DC Congressional office to get change his position. No one living in the area of the Post Office is in favor of the GSA plan. Congressman Wu is the Representative for the district in which the building is located. It is crucial that he understand the public is opposed to the new change that would destroy an historic building and inconvenience hundreds who use the Post Office in that location.  There will be a meeting February 11. 2003 at the Pioneer Courthouse, 520 S.W. Morrison Street, Portland, OR from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. E-mail and phone or fax messages can be sent to Stan Catchpole, Regional Historic Preservation Officer U.S. General Services Adminstration, 400 15th Street, SW, Auburn, WA 98001, phone 354-941-7865; fax 253-931-7251; e-mail stan.catchpole@gsa.gov 


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Copyright Mullett-Smith Press, updated February 2003