Sen. Merkley slams Postal Service ‘snow job’ on local operations, seeks funding freeze

Steve HutkinsNews

Rogue Valley Times: Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley announced a bipartisan effort Wednesday opposing plans by U.S. Postal Service officials to consolidate mail operations in Portland and downsize operations in Medford and Eugene.

Merkley’s office issued a letter Wednesday, signed by several senators and members of Congress, including Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, denouncing consolidation plans and calling for a prohibition of spending of government funds by the U.S. Postal Service to “convert a Processing and Distribution Center to a Local Processing Center.”

The statement comes after a months-long process by the Postal Service that sought input to proposed plans and spurred public demonstrations by local postal workers. American Postal Workers Union Local 342 has protested in recent months at Medford, Central Point and Grants Pass post office locations and staged a demonstration outside Bentz’s Medford office in mid-September.

packed house at a community meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Medford in August drew an audience of 80-plus — including postal workers and concerned community members — who spoke entirely in opposition to the proposed changes.

Merkley, D-Oregon, said he adamantly opposes any negative impact to service levels.

“Imagine you’re going to be mailing a letter to someone a block over, but it first has to go up to Portland to be processed and come back,” he said in a Wednesday Zoom call.

“Of course, that’s going to slow down the delivery of mail enormously. It’ll slow down business operations and things you send through the mail. … It will affect drugs being delivered in a timely fashion for our seniors and for everyone. … We need to keep a functioning high quality Postal Service. We’ve had the best in the world, but some of these decisions are really degrading it. They’re unacceptable.”

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