EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – The fight continues to keep the United States Postal Service from making big cuts across Oregon after a fiery public meeting in Eugene and now new criticism from an independent government agency.
About 150 people showed up to a public hearing about the future of the Postal Service on Wednesday night, December 28th, 2011.
The Postal Service wants to close the Springfield, Salem, Bend and Pendleton mail sorting facilities in order to save money.
If the facilities closed, it would leave Portland and Medford as the only two sorting locations in the state, meaning all local mail would be forced to funnel through those two sites.
The Postal Service also wants to close 26 post offices, mostly in rural communities.
Congress Peter DeFazio was one of the people at the public hearing. DeFazio said to NewsSource 16 on Thursday that he believes there is a political agenda to privatize everything that is driving the future cuts.
A 2006 U.S. House bill that passed now requires USPS to pay future retirees health benefits for 75 years in advance. DeFazio is aiming to get rid of that provision.
“What we have here is people who want to kill it off, cream off the profitable stuff for the private sector. And then, what happens to the 10's of millions of people who don't have access to those services in the private sector. You can't afford them? It would be a stupid thing to do to this country, but there's a very political agenda here,” said DeFazio.
DeFazio also praised the Postal Regulatory Commission on Thursday for a report that calls the USPS closure plan “flawed.”
DeFazio has a couple bill written up that would avoid the USPS’ proposed closures and direct the system towards solvency. He says he’d like to see the Postal Service get more rate setting authority as well.
The Postal Service has put off any closure decisions until March 2012.
As for the justification for the closures, the USPS has cited an “internal study” as the reason for the plan. as the reason for the plan. So far though, it has yet to release that report to the public.