Merkley, Wyden, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Schrader Express Concerns Over Potential Oregon Post Office Closures

Merkley, Wyden, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Schrader Express Concerns Over Potential Oregon Post Office Closures

Letter Urges Postmaster General to Examine How Closures Would Affect Rural Communities

Washington, D.C. - Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), and Representative Kurt Schrader (OR-5)  sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Monday expressing concern over the possibility that as many as 41 post offices in Oregon could be closed by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

“USPS recently stated that 90% of post offices in small communities (post offices with less than $100K in revenue) are within ten miles of another post office,” wrote the Members.  “While this may be true nationwide, we were alarmed to see that of the 41 post offices in Oregon on the list for possible closure, over half of them are more than ten miles from the nearest post office.   In fact, 12 are more than 20 miles away and if the Adel, Oregon post office closes, the nearest post office in Lakeview is over 33 miles away.   Expecting a customer to drive an hour round-trip to visit the nearest post office is unreasonable and does not align with the Postal Service’s mission to ‘provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.’”

The full text of the letter is available below.

August 8, 2011

Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260-0010

Dear Mr. Donahoe, 

We are writing to express concern about the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent announcement to evaluate closing retail post offices around the country.  While we understand that USPS is under severe financial pressure, we urge you to ensure that communities have reasonable access to a post office.

In many communities, post offices are a central part of the town.  Some have been in existence for over a hundred years and in some towns the post office is one of only a few retail shops.  Having a post office is central to a town’s identity and the decision to close post offices should not be taken lightly.

USPS recently stated that 90% of post offices in small communities (post offices with less than $100K in revenue) are within ten miles of another post office.  While this may be true nationwide, we were alarmed to see that of the 41 post offices in Oregon on the list for possible closure, over half of them are more than ten miles from the nearest post office.   In fact, 12 are more than 20 miles away and if the Adel, Oregon post office closes, the nearest post office in Lakeview is over 33 miles away.   Expecting a customer to drive an hour round-trip to visit the nearest post office is unreasonable and does not align with the Postal Service’s mission to “provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” 

We appreciate that you are taking a thorough look at USPS’s expenses and continuing to cut costs so that USPS remains financially viable.  We applaud the steps that you have already taken to extend solvency and we understand that more needs to be done.  However, these measures should be evaluated with a careful eye to ensure that our most remote communities do not become even further isolated.

Sincerely,

###