Downtown Eugene post office for sale

Downtown Eugene post office for sale »Play Video
The downtown Eugene Post Office is for sale.

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene's downtown post office is for sale.

With the U.S. Postal Service nearly $4 billion in the red, the agency is looking to sell hundreds of properties nationwide.

The landmark Eugene building -- constructed in 1939 and featuring two Depression-era murals (below) -- made the list because, officials say, they no longer need a facility so large.

The downtown post office, located at Willamette Street and Sixth Avenue, is about 33,000 square feet, and much of it isn't being used.

"Offices on the bottom floor are totally vacant and only a few people left using the space upstairs," said Peter Kelly, a manager at the Eugene post office. "So we have way more space than we need."

The downtown building was once the regional post office hub. That changed in 1989 when the postal service built a new facility in the Gateway area of Springfield.

Many of the administrative functions left for the new building.

On top of that, many post office functions have moved online, reducing the need for space.

"The main office there in Eugene was built in 1939 and a lot has changed since then," said Ron Anderson, a spokesman for the postal service in Portland, which is handling the possible sale.

Anderson said it's still early in the process and no potential buyers have been identified. He said any potential sale would require a robust public comment process.

Ideally, he said, the postal service would like somone to buy the buliding and then lease it back to the postal service, allowing the agency to lease only the portion it uses.

Gary Jarvis, a vice president for American Postal Workers Union Local 0679 and a post office employee for 32 years, said he opposes a sale. He said it doesn't make sense financially because the postal service would have to pay rent and would no longer be exempt from property taxes.

He said moving out of such a unique building would lower the postal service's standing in the community.

"That's the face of the post office the community has come to know," he said.