Merkley, Wyden Join Colleagues in Bipartisan Letter to USPS Opposing Consolidations, Operational Changes Across the Country

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden joined a bipartisan group of their colleagues in Congress in a letter led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to United States Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, opposing the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent nationwide consolidation and review announcements that could severely diminish mail service reliability for postal networks across the country.

“A common theme of these announcements is the so-called ‘modernization’ of Processing and Distribution Centers into Local Processing Centers,” the Members wrote. “Taken together, these proposals dismantle parts of the Postal Service’s robust network that helps distribute mail across the country and places outgoing sorting into more distant facilities. The result of this change is that mail will need to travel farther from its origin to its sorting, creating inefficiencies in the system, especially for local mail.”

“These consolidation proposals never have had any discernible support from local communities. On the contrary, we have heard strong opposition to these efforts from USPS customers, community leaders, local businesses, and postal employees,” the Members continued. “Rather than marching forward with these plans and offering short and vague statements dismissing concerns, the Postal Service should be communicating why the organization believes these changes are beneficial and what the specific impact of the changes will be to mail service.”

“The Postal Service provides an essential service upon which our constituents rely. The robust nature of the Postal Service’s current network is its strength, not its weakness. To ensure that our constituents continue to receive reliable service, we urge you to reconsider these consolidation announcements,” the Members concluded.

Joining  Merkley, Wyden, Collins, and Manchin on the letter are Senators Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and U.S. Representatives Jared Golden (D-ME), Steve Womack (R-AR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Eric Sorensen (D-IL), Nikki Budzinski (D-IL), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Mark Alford (R-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mike Ezell (R-MS), and Chris Pappas (D-NH). 

To read the full letter, click here.

Today’s letter is the latest action from Merkley and Wyden in opposition of USPS downgrades of processing and distribution facilities in Oregon, where mail processing at the Eugene and Medford facilities has begun transferring to a facility in Portland, distances of around 110 and 270 miles away, respectively. These changes are especially producing mail delays in the Medford service area. 

Merkley led a bipartisan letter with members of the Oregon and Georgia congressional delegations to the leaders on the Subcommittees on Appropriations in the Senate and House that oversee the budget for the USPS, calling to block funds for the Postal Service’s planned downgrades.  

In February, Merkley and Wyden joined U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer in a letter to Postmaster DeJoy asking USPS leaders to hold public hearings about its plan to consolidate mail sorting in Oregon—specifically flagging the Postal Service’s plan to transfer all sorting and distribution activities in the city to one hub in Beaverton. In their letter, lawmakers called on the USPS to engage in robust dialogue with letter carriers before moving forward with the consolidation plan involving the Portland region. Specifically, they request that USPS convene at least one listening session in every requested location that is open to all affected employees, including in Medford and Eugene.

And just last month, Merkley and Wyden joined their Senate colleagues in another letter to Postmaster DeJoy, urging him to stop any changes to USPS service standards that would result in job losses and further degrade mail delivery performance, especially in rural areas, which have longer distances where mail must travel and have greater potential risk for delayed service.