December 13, 2011

Wyden Announces U.S. Postal Service Agreement to Delay Postal Facility Closures for Five Months

Moratorium would protect good-paying jobs while Congress works to enact comprehensive postal reform legislation

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden announced today that the U.S. Postal Service has voluntarily agreed to put in place a five-month moratorium on closing postal facilities, including 41 in Oregon, which would give Congress more time to enact postal reform legislation. 

During the moratorium, scheduled to end on May 15, 2012, the Postal Service will continue to study the impact of proposed closures on service and costs and to solicit community input. 

“Post offices and the services they provide are vital to the economic health of rural communities,” Wyden said. “They add tremendous value to Oregon's commerce and are often a center of civic life in rural parts of the state. As a vote-by-mail state, a fully operating Postal Service is at the core of Oregon’s democratic process. This decision from the Postal Service is a welcome victory for folks living in rural as well as urban areas while Congress looks to tackle postal reform in the coming year.”

Today’s announcement follows a meeting yesterday between several Senators and the U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr., in which Senators expressed concern over the impact of reduced service and the loss of thousands of jobs.

In announcing the decision, the Postal Service said: “The U.S. Postal Service, in response to a request made by multiple U.S. Senators, has agreed to delay the closing or consolidation of any post office or mail processing facility until May 15, 2012.  The Postal Service will continue all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings. The Postal Service hopes this period will help facilitate the enactment of comprehensive postal legislation.  Given the Postal Service’s financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue.”

On September 15, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to review its mail processing network in the hopes of reducing costs.  The Postal Service is currently considering the elimination of overnight delivery and studying the possibility of closing 3,700 mostly rural post offices, 41 of which are in Oregon, and 252 mail processing facilities.