By DON McINTOSH
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is considering moving mail processing for nearly all of Oregon to its new processing center near the Portland International Airport. The move would change how mail and packages are handled, and some postal union members say it would lead to job losses and slower delivery. Workers in Eugene and Medford would be most affected, they say.
Caitlin Cusimano, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 679 in Eugene, said the union has been told the change will lead to the layoff of 12 postal support employees in four Eugene postal stations, but they’ll be offered the opportunity to transfer to Bend, Bozeman, or Billings.
The changes are part of a nationwide plan to consolidate mail and package processing at 60 massive facilities that USPS is calling Regional Processing and Distribution Centers.
The way the system works now, mail and packages that are intended for destinations within the same three-digit ZIP code area, like 974, are processed locally, at the nearest mail processing center. Oregon currently has processing centers in Portland, Eugene, and Medford.
If the proposed changes are approved, items would be first trucked to Portland, then trucked back. In the case of a letter or parcel mailed in Medford to a Medford address, they’d have to be trucked more than four hours each way to and from Portland. That could add up to an additional day to delivery time.
USPS will hold public meetings to explain the proposed changes:
- Eugene: 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8 at the Holiday Inn Express, 919 Kruse Way, Springfield
- Medford: 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1000 Garden Way, Medford
The Eugene and Medford mail processing centers were slated for closure in 2015, but that plan was scrapped after Oregon’s entire Congressional delegation called on the USPS to keep them open.