Just about all of our postal needs can be handled quickly and easily, and just a few short blocks away from home. The UPS Store on the PSU campus handles mailing of USPS and DHL parcels, as well as UPS packages as its name indicates. The staff there will even assist in figuring out which mailing service will provide the best service for a particular package – fastest delivery or the least expensive, etc.
In addition to shipping, they provide packaging service, shipping supplies, mailboxes, notary and faxing services, and more.
The UPS Store
Urban Plaza on the PSU campus
1819 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201
(SW 5th Avenue between Montgomery and Harrison Streets)
If you need to pick up a package from the post office, that remains a crosstown trek. All other postal needs can be accomplished right here.
University Park Post Office has announced its permanent closing of retail services and post office boxes this Saturday, January 26. These services will be available at the new Waterfront Station Post Office..
One Main Place Building
101 SW Madison Street
(ground level, SE corner)
Monday thru Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Our lobby is slated to be included in the building redecorating scheme. It is a small lobby and presents challenges. The decorator has thus far introduced some ideas including carpeting, pendant lighting, even a mural to span the garage and stairwell doors. It appears that some new additions (mailboxes) are being introduced at the same time.
At a board meeting several weeks ago, the building committee chairman/board member introduced a plan to install postal mailboxes to receive packages that are too large for the wall of letterboxes. A set of mailboxes for this purpose would be installed by the lobby entrance. These receptacles would remove the postal carriers need to deliver packages to unit doors throughout the building.
Within a few days following discussion of this new mail delivery system, our mail carrier stopped delivering parcels to unit doors. Instead packages are left in the lobby for the recipients to find.
There has been no announcement of a change of package delivery. Is the change due to new post office policy, carrier laziness, or perhaps local post office awareness of our building plans with early compliance?
The lobby looks less and less like a lobby and more and more like a mailroom. Hello Decorator?
A lengthy discussion took place at last night’s meeting about the woes of the loss of our convenient University Park post office. The building committee, after considerable preparatory investigation, proposed the purchase and installation of authorized lockboxes to be installed in the lobby by its entrance. It was stated that these are needed for the convenience of residents. Because of the post office’s new location at NW 24th Avenue and Savier Street on the other side of town, residents must now travel a fair distance to retrieve packages that could not be delivered.
Hello? If the package could not be delivered to your door for any reason then it cannot be delivered to a lockbox! Therefore, the trip to the post office would not be avoided. We just might be decorating our lobby with a new set of utilitarian metallic mailboxes with no advantage to residents. The convenience would be to the post office. The carrier could deposit all deliverable parcels to the lockboxes and eliminate the need to deliver to every door.
Once the new plan is in place, it cannot be reversed. That’s the way the post office works.
The preliminary estimated unbudgeted cost for authorized metallic lockboxes to grace our lobby entry is $2,000-3,000, “maybe more.”
Portland now has two streetcar lines. The original line which runs north-south is now called the NS line. A new second line crosses the Willamette River and is called the Central Loop, or CL line. To mark the introduction of the CL line, all streetcar rides are free this weekend.
Click here for the Portland Streetcar website.
TriMet has rolled out new streetcar ticket machines. Not yet operational, the solar-powered towers are planted at streetcar stations throughout the downtown area. Of note, TriMet train tickets can also be purchased from these machines.
We have been watching city workers digging, installing sewer pipes, and working long hours behind a fenced area on the South Park Blocks at Columbia. Not knowing what was being done, we assumed it was repair work of some sort. We have come to find out that the City of Portland has been busy constructing that new loo they talked about a year ago
Last July, Condo Life reported city officials were looking for a location downtown for a new loo. (Please see post “New Loo” for details.) It was stated then that the new loo would likely find a home NEAR, but not IN, the Park Blocks. Well, neighbors, the location has been selected. In fact, construction of the new loo is underway and nearing completion.
Just one block away from our home, and nestled snugly in the South Park Blocks at Columbia, the location comes as a surprise even to the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
The new loo has its first flush scheduled for mid July.
A work in progress.
These are hard economic times. The middle class is shrinking, money is tight, and services are being cut. TriMet is eliminating the free rail zone, the public library system is shutting down on Mondays, schools are in dire need of maintenance and repair. This economic climate did not begin this week, this month, or even this year. Instead of improvement over time, we continue to see cuts in services.
Yet the Portland Downtown Business District did not hesitate to impose a new tax on us. One select segment of condo owners living outside the core retail district is taxed, forced to pay for business services. Not enough, the Downtown Business Improvement District is seeking to include even more condominiums, We were led down the primrose path with promises of a cleaner and safer environment.
An email was sent out today from the director of the Revenue Bureau. In it, he wrote:
The Revenue Bureau has posted its final report regarding the District at
(click on the link titled, “Downtown Business District Expansion and Fee Formula Final Recommendations”).
The report contains the Bureau’s final recommendations regarding the expansion of the District and the condominium fee formula. The recommendations are, in brief:
- Do not expand the Downtown Business District, and;
- Do not change the condominium fee formula.
Our neighbors at the Eliot and the Benson (and others) are doing the Happy Dance tonight.
Our University Station post office is moving. Their new location will be at the First & Main building at SW First Avenue and Main Street beginning January 2013. OregonLive.com has reported the post office has signed a new lease there and will join other federal offices already at that location.
For those of us who enjoyed the convenience of having a post office right across the street, the new location will require a walk of 10 blocks, about a mile round trip. The new location does not have parking provisions.
The new post office location will be known as Waterfront Station.
The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) is at work. Helicopters buzz loudly overhead and police dogs have been brought in to the area. All are in search of a man with a gun.
Our neighborhood wears a different face today. Several schools downtown, including PSU, Lincoln High School, and St. Mary’s Academy are in lockdown. Even the streetcar has been suspended. Some streets have been blocked from traffic.
The suspect had pulled out a gun when confronted by a PSU security officer this morning in a PSU parking garage at SW 12th Avenue and Market Street. That man is thought to be hiding in the parking garage.
This situation erupted at about 11 a.m. this morning and is ongoing as of this writing (1:30 p.m. PST).
Update: 2:15 p.m. – The suspect’s whereabouts are unknown. Normalcy otherwise is restored to downtown.
Fred Meyer is running a new ad campaign stating in as many ways as possible that they will cut the checkout wait. Lots of cheerful Fred Meyer employees grin broadly as they promise to get customers in and out of their supermarket as quickly as possible. The message is clear: Supermarkets know that checkout lines are too long and too slow, and they know it irks their customers.
We stood on a typically long line at Safeway again today. The gentleman waiting in back of us was holding one kiwi in his hand, but we had only one item, too, so I was not inclined to let him go ahead of me. In back of him was a lady with a lonely bottle of over-the-counter cough medicine. The lady in front of me had maybe a half dozen items. Still this express lane seemed to stand still.
When our turn finally came, we stood before a cashier who loomed above us. He stood about eight feet tall (maybe seven, not sure), and skinny as a beanpole. He wore a clean shirt and pants and had a store-identified name tag pinned to his chest, distinguishing him from, say, an actual pole. He did not greet us. He spoke not a word. A smile might have cracked his face.
Fred Meyer might be a longer walk, but it is beckoning us. Safeway, are you listening?
Polystyrene foam is what we typically call Styrofoam from its Dow Chemical Company brand name. Styrofoam is made from plastic and air. While plastic and air are both recyclable, together in this form, Styrofoam is not. Portland’s Curbside Recycling Program makes no mention of Styrofoam. It does not include Styrofoam as something that is recycled nor does it mention Styrofoam as something to be excluded. Instead, its mention is simply omitted.
To discard, Styrofoam is garbage, pure and simple. For us, that means bagging it and sending it on its merry way down the trash chute. So then why is so much Styrofoam seen in our recycle area? Those packing “peanuts” are often seen spilled into the recycle containers in various quantities with some scattered on the surrounding concrete floor. Blocks of styrene are often protruding from overstuffed containers, while still larger sheets are frequently seen standing nearby against a wall, some clinging to their original cardboard homes.
Although Styrofoam breaks apart easily and is associated with Styrofoam dust that clings to everything and is a menace to rid, it does not break down.
A memo was posted around the building “reminding” everyone that Styrofoam must not go into the recycle area. Once again, there is no discussion about what to do with it otherwise.
Here are some ideas:
- Reuse for mailing.
- Use shredded Styrofoam “dust” as a perlite substitute mixed with soil for aeration of plant roots.
- Dissolve. Styrofoam is easily dissolved in acetone. A small cup of acetone is all that is needed to quickly and easily dissolve a roomful of Styrofoam. Watch this fascinating video. Note: the acetone must then be brought to a special collection site for hazardous materials.
- Create hat racks and wig stands.
- Insulation. Build a doghouse or birdhouse and insulate the walls with Styrofoam.
- Crafts: Picture frames, wreaths, cornices, flowers. The list goes on.
- Freecycle. Styrofoam is in demand for any or all of the above. Offer it to a Freecycle organization and the Styrofoam will be picked up at your convenience and taken away.
- Cut up and bag all Styrofoam and discard as household trash.
Handy tools to have on hand:
Now we know.
A huge truck was parked on SW Taylor Street alongside the Central Library on Tuesday. Sponsored by Overdrive, the company that provides download services to libraries across the country, the ebook mobile was here to introduce downloadable library services to our community as part of a nationwide tour. Explanations and demonstrations were available to learn how to use the digital book services.
Ebooks, whole books in electronic format that can be read on devices like Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, iPad, and others, and audiobooks which can be played on devices like MP3 players, smart phones, iPad, and more, are available for download from the comfort of your home or from wherever you happen to be. There are thousands of titles available and more are made available continuously. The service is free to library cardholders. The program is called Library2Go. It is easy to set up and easy to use. Help is available when needed.
I have been downloading books from Library2Go for some time. The system works without glitches or hiccups. From bestsellers to classics, fiction and nonfiction, the world is at your fingertips.
This just in.
Our property management team has sent out the following email blast:
No photographic evidence?
The fire alarms sounded this evening. Occupants of the building gathered in the courtyard awaiting the arrival of the firemen. Within a few minutes, firemen were on scene checking the building carefully as we waited in the chill and light rain. The alarms continued for quite a while before they were finally turned off. After about one-half hour, firemen announced that it was safe to go back into the building, that no fire was found, and no explanation for the alarms going off was determined.
The last time the fire alarms went off was July 28, 2009. At that time some equipment in the attic got too hot and set off the fire alarm. On that day we also gathered in the courtyard for about 30 minutes, and on that day the outdoor temperature was a record-breaking 106 degrees.
Thirty minutes every few years, whether it is 48 degrees and raining or 106 degrees in the shade, seems reasonable for a fire drill. The system works.
Car2go has hit the streets of Portland. Already spotted on the streets of downtown, car2go is sponsoring a free event this weekend, March 31 and April 1, at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Cars filled the Square, and from the number on display, it seems likely that these tiny white and blue vehicles will soon be a common sight around town.
From their website:
car2go Portland has simple and attractive by-the-minute rates, so you only pay for what you use. At just 35 cents per minute, members enjoy fuel, parking, mileage, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, GPS navigation, 24/7 customer support service and roadside assistance at no extra cost. Your usage is billed daily to your credit card, so you never have to worry about finding cash.
The more you drive, the cheaper it gets. One hour costs a maximum of $12.99, and one day (up to 24 hours) is no more than $65.99.
Today’s announcement of the outcome of the Clean & Safe Board of Directors’ vote on expansion of the district to include 10 additional condominiums in the Clean & Safe district came by email. Despite overwhelming condo owner opposition to the plan and despite the deficit to the Clean & Safe budget that such expansion would create, Clean & Safe presses on:
I write to report that yesterday afternoon the Clean and Safe Board voted to support the remapping proposal.
- Clean and Safe Board Condo Rep
- from The City of Portland Revenue Bureau*
The matter will go before the City Council. Any bets on the outcome?
* City of Portland Revenue Bureau report
We in the condohood have been hearing about “economies of scale” for months and months. It was a strong selling point, conceived by our very own condo representative seated on the board of the Clean & Safe organization. Our representative has talked repeatedly, and has been quoted in print numerous times for his opinion, that inclusion of additional condominiums into the Clean & Safe District would make our participation more equitable. Economies of scale, we were told, would lower our costs. According to him, administrative costs would remain the same and additional ground level workers would be paid with the increased income from the 10 added condominiums. Therefore, more money would be available to be spread among the district, thereby lowering individual costs.
Today the City of Portland Revenue Bureau released their findings after months of in-depth investigation, data collection, and feedback from focus groups and other sources. (That report can be seen here.) In summary, it was found that the overwhelming majority of condo owners do not want to be dragged into the Clean & Safe program. They cited lack of benefit, duplication of services, and the advantage to businesses – NOT residences – among the many reasons. Moreover, the Revenue Bureau found that expansion of the district would not lead to “economies of scale” but conversely would result in a projected $74,000 deficit.
Interestingly, the Revenue Bureau took a particularly close look at the residents in the Eliot Tower. The HOA of that building voted in favor of joining the Clean & Safe District. However, their representation proved not to be in accord with its residents. In fact, the Revenue Bureau reported that “Eliot owner results are separately displayed [in their report] because the Eliot Towers HOA voted to endorse joining the District but many Eliot owners turned out in focus groups to object to joining.” Thus, they found that a majority of Eliot Tower residents did not endorse participation.
If only our HOA had fought for us in 2009 when we were dragged into the Clean & Safe program against our will. All of the arguments expressed regarding the current expansion held true for us then and continue to be true today. Sadly we did not put up a fight. Instead our representatives pushed for inclusion, seeing things only through their eyes.
Like a Christmas Room.
The Occupy movement has had some strong supporters, both in the public spectrum and in the political arena. Many have attended rallies and protests, some have been guest speakers, and still others have been enthusiastic spokesmen. The most outspoken come from the suburbs, from 4- and 5-bedroom houses on quiet cul-de-sacs, to spout their wisdom and spur the underemployed, the unemployed, and the homeless to spectacular newsworthy acts. They encourage encampments and promise such bases will be reestablished.
Who pitches tents on public property? Who chains themselves to fixtures and to each other to make arrests more demonstrable? Who climbs and mauls public art work? Who carries signs and placards through rush hour traffic and downtown streets? Not the supporters from the suburbs.
Who pays for repair and restoration of the damage and destruction, the public security, the city employee overtime? Not the supporters from the suburbs.
Those of us living and working in the city did not have to visit an encampment to know what went on; we could not avoid it! We did not have to watch television news to see police in riot gear; they crossed our paths. Small businesses incurred extra costs for needed added security and then watched business traffic decline as patrons chose to stay safe and stay away. Employees were docked for lost days because of businesses that had to shut down or because they were afraid to show up for work.
It is city dwellers whose taxes pay for all these efforts in the name of the 99% – city taxes, and now Clean & Safe. We pay for that, too.
From the President of Clean & Safe: “The Mayor’s office informally asked if Clean & Safe would be willing to donate $4500 to restore/fix the bronze elk statue on Main Street, whose antlers are believed to have been damaged during the Occupy Portland protest. The Executive Committee approved this donation on behalf of the full board, and tomorrow the Mayor’s office will issue a press release thanking Clean & Safe for providing the funds to restore this iconic, century-old City treasure.”