New responses from Merkley staff…not good:


I can only speculate on the circumstances surrounding Senator Hatfield’s involvement in the creation of the Coos Art Museum and much has changed in government since then.  

Regardless of how Senator Hatfield may have influenced the process in Coos Bay, this office is not able to intervene or otherwise support your efforts at this time. As I’ve informed you, the Postal Service is not currently interested in selling, vacating, or leasing all or parts of the Eugene Post Office building. Although the idea of a local museum in Eugene is a good one, Senator Merkley is not going to champion an effort that would require the Post Office to move their operations or lease space that they are not interested in leasing.

Unless the agency’s position on the use of their building changes, there is nothing more that I can do to help you at this time.

I wish you the best.

Kaitlin Gaffney


Dear Kaitlin,

I am trying to get back in touch with you with a request: A letter of support from Senator Merkley on POEM’s efforts to transform the historic downtown post office in Eugene into a municipal art Museum.  Can we get one?

The DPLC is about to add its support via a platform resolution.  We need Senator Merkley to play a similar role as that played by the late Senator Mark Hatfield in Coos Bay when they transformed their almost identical Art Deco post office there into CAM, the Coos Art Museum.

Can you help us with this?


Jerry Ross




I’m sorry that I didn’t respond to your email sooner. I’m glad that you have been growing support for your vision. However, at this time the Postal Service has no plans to sell or lease the Eugene post office.

They do currently have a “For Lease” sign out front but I have been told by USPS that sign is old and they are currently working to have someone come and remove it. I have also been told that the upstairs offices are being used by USPS for meetings and trainings.

If I hear of any changes to the status of the building I’ll be sure to let you know.



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More help offered by Postal Union


The other thing I have seen in saving Post Offices for the Public, is where the GAO has purchased Post Office Buildings and then house other government agencies as well as a window service.  Send me a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement that you have.  The attorneys protecting the Berkeley Post Office may be able to help shed some light on what can be done next.

Debby Szeredy

Executive Vice President

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

1300 L Street NW

Washington, DC  20005


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Obie Purchase Rumor Quashed

Thanks Debby, for that information.  Note:  I just talked with the new director of Eugene’s Arts and Business Alliance about the Brian Obie “purchase” of the Post Office and it turns out to be just a rumor.  Somebody from his organization sits on the Historical Society Board and they have been eyeing the building for a historic museum but there has been no “purchase”.
Thanks for the attachments which I will study.
Cheers and in solidarity,
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Discussions with Postal Union

“Ciao Anna and Debby,
Understood.   We of POEM are concerned that Brian Obie, ex-Eugene Mayor and owner of Fifth Street Market in Eugene may have “purchased” the Post Office despite Memorandum of Agreement on protecting lobby and murals.  A recent meeting of Arts and Business alliance supposedly talked about that happening and his plan to turn it into a hotel.  POEM, on the other hand, wants to work with the Postal Union and keep the postal function operating as we use upper and lower floors for a museum.  We want to keep the building in the public domain.  So as soon as you can shed some light on this situation for us, the better.
In solidarity,
Jerry Ross
POEM founder”
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DPLC Central Committee Approves Platform Item

The central committee unanimously approved the POEM resolution last night, without changes from what I sent you last. I have cc’ed Ryan Moore, with whom you should work to establish a subcommittee of Community Action.


(See below)

Meanwhile: heard an unsubstantiated rumor from Charly Swing., that Brian Obie has purchased the Post Office for “the arts”….????  Stay tuned.

POEM (Post Office to Eugene Museum) resolution


Whereas, the Eugene community lacks a permanent collection of local artwork; and

Whereas, the Jordan Shnitzer museum on campus is a state museum and its mission is not focused on regional artwork; and

Whereas, the Jacobs Gallery recently closed; and

Whereas, the local artist community has been advocating for a downtown art museum/center for many years; and

Whereas, a local art museum/center would uplift our community members, and our community as a whole both culturally and financially; and

Whereas, local community leaders are waiting for a show of local support (particularly financial support); and

Whereas, the Coos Art Museum provides a working model of a community sponsored art facility at a repurposed post office; and

Whereas, the downtown Eugene post office is a historic preservation site, with a Memorandum of Agreement that effectively makes its sale to a sale to a commercial entity nonviable; and

Whereas, the post office has plans to move to a more modern facility;


Therefore, the DPLC resolves that

Section 1: The DPLC empower a subcommittee of the community action committee to advance the transformation of the historic downtown Eugene post office into an art museum/center; and

Section 2: The DPLC will send a copy of this resolution to the Eugene City Council, the Springfield City Council, the Lane County Board of Commissioners, and to Rep. DeFazio and Sens. Merkley and Wyden.



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DPLC considering platform item for POEM

“We received your resolution, and it should be considered by the Central Committee in either February or March. I don’t think this issue is contentious within the Party, and I expect it to pass unanimously.

I also expect that once the resolution is passed, Community Action Chair Ryan Moore will create a subcommittee to work on this issue and recommend that I appoint a Democrat of POEM’s choice to chair or co-chair the subcommittee.” — Chris

“…Hi Jerry,

Great write up in the R-G! Seeing it reminded me that I owe you an email. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how the DPLC can most effectively support the art museum, but I’m open to feedback about how you would like to proceed.

I think the first step to having the DPLC officially support the proposal for the post office art museum is to submit a resolution to the DPLC Platform Committee. I have CCed Platform Committee Chair Charlie Swanson on this email. Once the resolution is submitted, I expect it to pass without controversy; this could happen as soon as the February Central Committee meeting.

The second step is forming a work group or subcommittee to organize and advocate for the post office art museum. The logical place to house this work group is under the umbrella of our Community Action Committee. I have CCed Community Action Chair Ryan Moore on this email. Ryan can appoint someone to chair the work group, and I’m certain he would work with you to appoint someone who can work with your group (or even a member of the group, so long as they are a Democrat).

I think this is the most honest and comprehensive way to have DPLC advocate for the post office art museum. What do you think? — Chris”

Note: Anyone who is a registered democrat wanting to join our DPLC committee, please email me at to join in.



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Meeting with DeFazio Staff 4/26/17

I have been emailing the Oregon Indian tribes with the following:

Dear Tribal Leader:

I am Chair of POEM (Post Office to Eugene Museum) seeking to re-purpose the historic downtown Eugene US Post Office on Willamette Street to become a people’s art museum dedicated to Native American arts (Traditional and Contemporary).  I am thinking of calling it “Broken Treaties Museum” because it would also focus on the plight of Native Americans in Oregon as was featured in the “Broken Treaties” OPB program aired recently on TV.

There is also the possibility that this project could serve as a vehicle to unite and bring together all the Oregon tribes so that all tribes can shape and contribute to the collection and the narrative.

If you have any interest in this project, please write me back.

This project has been endorsed by James Florendo, Native American Student Program Coordinator, Lane Community College.

Thanks for your consideration.


Jerry Ross, artist


POEM: Post Office>Eugene Museum

Note: today I met with Congressman Pete DeFazio’s staff member, Dan Whelan and we discussed ways in which the Congressman might help us.  Dan suggested his office can find out who exactly owns the building (USPS or GSO?).  They have ongoing business with the tribes and Dan suggested I try some contacts he suggested.  We plan to stay in contact. (4/26/2017).


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