Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) listened to mail delivery horror stories from residents, business owners and postal workers in North Portland‘s 97217 zip code during a postal forum Jan. 25.
Customers complained about late mail, missing mail, and mail delivered to the wrong address, while postal workers told him of ever-changing routes, long hours, and exposure to a variety of safety issues.
It all started, they said, about the same time the U.S. Postal Service launched a pilot project called “Consolidated Casing,” an experiment to speed up mail carriers and decrease the number of routes. It has done just the opposite, as Blumenauer heard over and over.
“This entire experience has been a huge frustration for us, and to see it happen at the expense of our dedicated and hard-working carriers is an extreme disappointment,” said Rachel Browning, representing the Kenton Business Association.
“Mail delivery needs to be secure and safe, not haphazard as it appears to be at this time,” said another resident.
Many in the audience of more than 50 people feared it was an attempt to privatize the postal service. The Consolidated Casing experiment is taking place at 65 locations around the country.