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.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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,
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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”
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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).


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No plans for post office

According to an aide to Senator Merkley, the USPS has no current plans on leaving the downtown location.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This Week’s Activities for POEM

  1. On the invitation of James Florendo, Native American Programs Coordinator, Lane Community College, on Tuesday, November 1st,  I attended a meeting of the Native American Student Association.  James allowed me to speak to the group, with the POEM project the first item on the agenda.  We talked for quite a long time.  I remember James saying he was for the idea of a people’s museum but that the Native American community had its particular concerns, and that these might differ from tribe to tribe.  The building and site would have to be made sacred through ceremony and probably ritual. The place should also support the performing arts and especially indian dance.  It would have to be a place where the community could gather and identify with it.  We would have to reach out to specific Native American contemporary artists.  We would need to obtain some buy in from tribes outside Oregon, like those in Washington.  I asked for any student in the group who would be interested in working on the project to contact me and handed out my contact information to the group.  James added that perhaps the students could help getting the tribes to talk to one another, something he felt was not happening enough.  In any event, he felt a “Memorandum of Agreement” would have to be signed by all to guarantee that all tribal arts were equally respected and represented.
  2. I talked on the phone to David Harrelson, Department Manager, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Cultural Resources Department, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.  He disagreed with trying to get any agreement of this sort from the tribes.  He felt it was important to work with the Native American student associations at the U of O and LCC as my best chances for tribal support.  He pointed out that the Native American Student Association had members representing many of the tribes from across the nation.


More news as in comes in…..JR












Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We met with Emilee Ohia, aide to Senator Jeff Merkley

img_5841    We discussed the idea of repurposing the historic Gilbert Underwood’s 1938 downtown post office into a people’s art museum that would house a permanent collection 50% Native American art (both traditional and contemporary) and 50% regional artists works.

Lee Boutell accompanied me to the meeting (shown in photo left with Emilee Ohia).  I shared the Memorandum of Agreement protecting the historic Carl Morris murals and we discussed preservation goals for the entire building which is a WP!-era,  art deco style.

We discussed the precedent in Coos Bay (The Coos Museum) where they repurposed the 1934 historic post office into CAM (the Coos Art Museum) by floating a bond measure and a 5-year “door to door” effort to raise money and support.

IMG_5842.JPG  IMG_5839.JPG

We thanked the Senator for being the only US senator who supported Bernie Sanders.  Photo above shows Lee going over info on US Post Office for presentation to Emilee.  Stay tuned to this blog for additional developments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment