WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Postmaster General has changed course, deciding to keep Bend's postal processing center open. The decision was in response to a letter sent last week by Oregon's Congressional delegation.
Senator Jeff Merkley praised the decision. "Actually, I was surprised," he tells KBND News. "So often when you advocate for something, people will pretend to be interested in your points and not really take them to heart. This is the second time that the Postmaster General's team has seemed to listen to and respond in a favorable way to our observations from the front line."
Wednesday's decision is only a one-year delay, although Senator Merkley says he's committed to fighting to keep the center open permanently. "I think there's a reasonable chance they'll reconsider and keep it open. We'll have, in the following year, more data about the damage that's been done to the delivery system from closing three facilities in Oregon, and therefore we'll reinforce our case to show the additional damage that would be incurred if Bend and Springfield are closed."
Bend's mail processing center is now the last one east of the Cascades. Merkley says future consolidation would reroute all mail through Portland. "If every single letter from Bend that is going anywhere in Central or Eastern Oregon has to go across the mountains one way, and then back across the mountains to be delivered, you can be assured mail delivery is going to be abominable."