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Pioneer Post Office and Courthouse , Portland , Oregon

Attention all Historic Preservationists! The Pioneer Post Office designed by A. B. Mullett is in need of your alertness and correspondences. The GSA appears to have no knowledge of construction of buildings from 100 to 150 years ago. They think all buildings of that period were poorly constructed and certain these will tumble at any coming earthquake. Little do they know of the superior construction during the era of A. B. Mullett who intended his structures to last just as the great palaces of Europe have lasted. Mullett believed that buildings constructed to last represented an expectation of a country that will last. Though a few European historic structures have fallen in recent years under strong earthquakes, one most recently was a cathedral, it should be taken into consideration that those structures that have fallen may have been weakened from bombings in the regions that had affected the upper structural integrity, and in the case of cathedrals, the arching system which required buttressing to support walls under ordinary circumstances, would not be strong enough to withstand earthquakes. A cathedral is not the same as a palatial structure.

The GSA has scheduled an extremely expensive retrofitting of the Pioneer Post Office in Portland to make it withstand an earthquake. This unnecessary expense will change the structural integrity of the original fine construction. Carson City almost made the same mistake with their Nevada State Museum some years ago when a surface crack appeared, frightening the city officials. After corresponding with them, another opinion was obtained from engineers who specialize in historic buildings of a century ago. This building only needed minor repairs and is now reopened as a Museum. The GSA should find specialist, engineers, who know historic construction and have studied the original designs of the Pioneer Post Office and Courthouse building (which are available at the National Archives). Courtroom, Portland, Oregon

To date, the Pioneer Post Office has been accessible to the public. This may stop. According to Sam Oakland, who has been instrumental in getting the word out to the public in Portland, the Judges who occupy the second story and other offices in the building have reportedly convinced GSA to force the Post Office Department to leave. This would make the beautifully designed interior accessible only to those with business with the judges. Accommodations for tours is planned but very restricted access and limited tours. The newly vacated space would be turned into a library for the use of the judges. Rather than being a building that is a Post Office, Court House, and Customs House as it originally was intended, it will become a Court Building with possibly some offices.

Also approval for a parking lot beneath for 5 spaces will include a big hole in one wall. A public hearing was held. All the letters and all the speakers were opposed to the new renovations and especially the removal of the Post Office. Nerver-the-less, the GSA plans to begin their renovations kicking out the Post Office in October 2002. There has been a stay of execution so to speak. The Post office was given an extended sentence and is now to be out by January 31, 2003. The building is currently occupied by 3 judges. It is a crime to spend that kind of money for three judges. Even if they add two more it is absurd. 

Anyone interested in finding out more about this situation may write to:

  1. Sam Oakland, Box 225, University Station, Portland OR 97207 --- samoakland@aol.com or samoakland@yahoo.com
  2. U. S. Feneral Services Administration GSA Federal Center (10 PC), 400 15th Street, SW, Auburn, WA 98001-6599.
  3. President George W. Bush, White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC
  4. Your State and National Sen. either at their offices in Oregon or at United States Senate Office Building, Washington, DC
  5. Your State and National Congressman either at their offices in Oregon or at the U.S. Congressional office building in Washington, DC, especially David Wu of Oregon who just switched from no opinion from siding with GSA.
  6. Committee on the Budget, and Committee on the Judiciary, Congress, Washington, DC
  7. Mayor, City Hall, Portland, Oregon 97201 or assistant at the same address.
  8. Assistant Commissioner for Portfolio Management in Washington, DC, 202-501-0638
  9. Please contact the Commissioners: in Oregon --- especially if you live in Oregon.

e-mail me at:


Take notice: The following articles have appeared in the Portland, Oregon newspaper, "The Oregonian"

Letters to the editor:

And in Oregon Journal about the primary crusader, Sam Oakland:

Newest on Saving the Pioneer Post Office pages on GSA response

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Comments by locals in Portland

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