Springfield, OR (KMTR) Congressman Peter Defazio has a message for the Postal Service as it prepares to make some major cuts.
The Postal Service says feasibility studies of closing facilities in Bend, Pendleton, Salem and Springfield. The agency says closing the centers could save nearly $13 million, mostly by cutting maintenance, operations and transportation costs.
Mail processing from all four would move to Portland. The studies show a total of 164 jobs would be affected, most in Salem and Springfield.
Postal Service spokesman Peter Hass says those workers would not be laid off — "they just may have a different job or location to work in." He says some are eligible to retire.
Defazio says the issue is bigger than saving jobs and preventing post office and mail sorting closures, he wants to preserve the Postal Service as we know it.
Several dozen postal workers and faithful customers braved the cold with Defazio, to speak out against the potential downsize. Defazio says closing local mail sorting plants would slow delivery times, limiting the Postal Service of one of its best assets, and leaving a gap that other mail carriers wouldn't necessarily be able to fill.
"That would begin the death spiral of the U.S. Postal Service, that would cause the profitable first class mail to hemorrhage to other alternatives,” says Defazio, “businesses that need more regular service would go elsewhere."
He says the post office is so ingrained in our day to day lives; it's hard to underestimate how far reaching the effects of limiting it would go. One speaker voiced concern for seniors who rely on delivery times for essentials.
"For people living in the rural areas this is essential basic service that they need,” says Barbara Sumner, “how are they going to get their mail, how are they going to get their prescriptions?"
She says many seniors don't use the internet for services like bill pay or prescriptions.
The Postal Service says even if all the proposed consolidations took place, service for the most part wouldn’t be affected. The only service that would be is first class mail. They would still offer parcel, priority, and express mail unchanged.
They say their already existing infrastructure would still be able to compete with other carriers.
U.S.P.S wants to hear from the public about the potential closing of the Springfield mail processing center. A public meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday December 28th at 7:00pm at Lane Community College’s Center for Meeting and Learning on 30th avenue in Eugene.