Mail processing operations to move from Springfield to Portland
Springfield (KMTR) – The U.S. Postal service has announced its decision to move the operations of its Eugene Processing and Distribution Facility from Springfield to their Portland facility. The Eugene facility is located on Gateway Street in Springfield.
In a news release, USPS said there will be no change to the Post Office retail unit or Business Mail Entry operations at the facility for the time being.
The Postal Service says it has experienced a 25% decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. USPS receives no tax dollars for its operations, relying solely on the sale of postage, postal products and services.
“The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce the size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly underutilized infrastructure,” said Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan. “Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation.”
No specific date or timeline has been chose for the closure of the Eugene facility and the transfer of operations to Portland. But the Postal Service has agreed not to close any of its facilities before May 15, 2012, in order to give Congress and the White House time to enact an alternative plan.
The announcement of the consolidation was made in advance to allow time for planning, notification and making arrangements for the employees who will be affected.
“The first quarter of the fiscal year, the postal service lost $3.3 billion dollars just in one quarter,” said a postal service representative Peter Hass. “The net decrease of job positions we’re projecting, we expect about 68 positions to be impacted. That doesn’t mean 68 people will be losing jobs. It means we’ll be looking for places and positions for them to move into.”
For some employees, however, they don’t want another position. Those who have worked decades in a specific field are scared they will in fact be laid off.
Jim Thomas works at the Springfield facility and told NewsSource 16 this is the first time he’s worried about his job, a job that he very much enjoys.
“My wife lost her job three years ago,” Thomas said. “Now, I’ve already requested a transfer to Medford because I own property there. Hopefully I can go and work there.”
Thomas is just five years away from retirement and said that if he can work in Medford, he will do so until retirement, and will then return to Eugene-Springfield to be with his wife. He said administrators haven’t told them much and they still have a lot of questions.
“I look in my own craft itself, there are over 150 people and there are only positions for so many people so where are the rest of us going to go?” Thomas said. “We run out of floor space in this place quite often at nights when mail volume is heavy. We have no place to store it! I don't know where Portland is going to do it with us, Salem, Bend and Pendleton all together.”
US Congressmen Peter DeFazio isn’t happy about the closure, either. In a press release Thursday, DeFazio called the closures and consolidations “outrageous.”
“Congress must work together and pass legislation that will sustain the postal service, advert unnecessary closures that hurt rural communities and save American jobs. I will continue to fight for the Postal Service Protection Act and Protecting Rural Post Office Act, legislation I introduced to help solve the serious financial issues facing the USPS while protecting postal service in rural communities,” he stated.
The closure means estimated delivery of one to two day mail will likely become two to three day mail instead. While DeFazio believes some rural Oregonians will have to drive about 20 minutes to get some of their mail, Hass told NewsSource 16 the processing for most mail remain the same. The only difference will be the timing of first-class mail; packages will also remain unaffected.
No changes are planned for the Post Office retail unit or business mail entry options at this time.