Blumenauer and Smith demand changes in GSA's plans for Pioneer Courthouse

August 15, 2002
Press Release
PORTLAND, OR---Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) called on the federal government's General Service Administration (GSA) to revise their current renovation plans for Portland's historic Pioneer Courthouse. GSA has initiated the eviction of the U.S. Post Office and the installation of a driveway and a garage door in this 125 year-old building. This new parking garage would serve three judges and two clerks.

In a letter sent today to Jon Kvistad, Regional Administrator of GSA, Blumenauer and Smith demanded that GSA send them a revised renovation plan for the courthouse that keeps the U.S. Post Office in the Pioneer Courthouse and eliminates the contentious parking garage project.

Funding for GSA's proposed renovations would come from money secured by Representative Blumenauer and Senator Smith in the last Congress. The two Oregon leaders fought for $16 million for historic renovation and seismic upgrades to the Pioneer Courthouse and did not intend the funds to be used for a parking garage or the removal of the Post Office.

The following is an excerpt from today's Blumenauer-Smith letter to GSA:

"Congress appropriated this money to preserve the building for future Oregonians as it has been passed down to this generation. We would no sooner support a garage door placed on this historic structure than we would on Monticello or Mount Vernon. Historic documents from the 19th century refer to this post office which now serves 1700 customers a day. Like the hundreds of post offices that share space with courthouses across the country, we want this post office to stay."