Portland City Council questions USPS plans


At the initiative of City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Portland City Council is asking the U.S. Postal Service to hold a local public hearing about its plan to consolidate mail sorting in Oregon.

The Feb. 7 resolution calls on the USPS to schedule a public hearing in Portland so community members can voice their concerns about a recent decision to convert a Beaverton post office into a massive sorting and delivery hub. Some local postal workers and supporters say the change will increase commute times for letter carriers who deliver mail in Portland because they  would have to drive to the sorting center. They’ve also warned that it could cause layoffs and post office closures, leading to slower mail service.

It’s one part of a 10-year “Delivering for America” plan that’s been rolled out with few opportunities for public feedback.

“How is this a good idea? How will things actually get better under this plan, versus what we have now?” Rubio asked the Labor Press in a Zoom interview Feb. 9. “There just has not been a forum to (ask those questions), and it feels like a unilateral action without having the answer to some of those whys. … This is our attempt to get that to happen.”

Council members unanimously passed the resolution, which also outlines a plan for the city to organize its own hearing if the USPS doesn’t.

While resolutions do not hold the same rule-making power as ordinances, they do signal the council’s official position on an issue. And in this case, the resolution follows up on a promise Rubio made to postal supporters at a union-led rally about a month ago.

At the rally, postal workers and community members denounced the plan to shift mail sorting for dozens of “neighborhood” routes to one office in Beaverton. Rubio told rally-goers she also is alarmed by the plan. She called postal workers the “quintessential essential workers” who play a critical role in Oregon’s democracy by making the state’s vote-by-mail system possible.

She told them she would do everything in her power as a Portland city council member to preserve the city’s mail services.

“This is a federal issue, but it has local implications, and that was the nexus for me,” Rubio later told the Labor Press. “I feel like our role is to lift our voice about the impacts locally, should this occur.”      


  1. Has anyone making the decision to move the operations to Beaverton driven Highway 26 into Portland, in the afternoon? Anytime really. That should be a requirement for those suggesting this move, to drive 26 into Portland, different times of day, for 2 weeks.

  2. Much the same as eliminating rural USPS delivery drivers without much public input or comment, the centralization of services is yet another jab at eliminating USPS direct services and instead contracting out USPS employee jobs.

    In much of Rural America the mail must be post marked from another larger City USPS office causing significant delays to consumers and mailers while enriching private carriers who deliver the mail from rural areas to some other city to be processed.


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