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Volume 17, Issue 12
December 2019


We need a new Post Office!
by Virginia Bruce

Knowing that the Post Office (PO) in Bales Cedar Mill was about to close, I thought I’d get ahead of the situation and submit a forwarding order for my 97291 PO Box early. On September 6, I submitted the order online and received a confirmation email from United States Postal Service (USPS). I went to the Bales PO and turned in our keys. I was told that I’d have to go to the Beaverton PO to receive a refund on the unused portion of my deposit. I did that, and received a cash refund.

A few days later I received a confirmation in my home mailbox along with a huge wad of offers and coupons. (On the back was a “Store Locator” that mentioned the Ace Hardware that’s been closed for many years!) Since then, I have also received lots of junk mail that tells me USPS sells my address to retailers, since I’m on the “do not mail” list.

forwarding address label

The original forward was supposed to go into effect on September 10. On September 20, when I still hadn’t received any forwarded mail, I went to the Evergreen Station in Hillsboro, where our mail is processed. They said they had not received the forwarding order. So I filled out a paper form there and turned it in. At that time, they suggested that I check with the Bales PO to see if they had any mail. It turned out that even though I had “closed” the box and turned in the key, they were still putting mail in my box, so I retrieved a few items. Again I received both an email and a paper mail confirmation.

I used my PO Box for personal financial mail, for Cedar Mill News transactions, and for receiving the stacks of notices and documents for CPO 1. Not receiving mail—bills, checks, notices—certainly affected my ability to carry out my work and volunteer activities.

I finally began to receive some forwarded mail around the beginning of October. I noticed that most of those pieces had two labels, one that said, “Unable to forward / for review,” and another on top of that with the forwarding address. I was receiving them about two weeks after they had been mailed.

Again I went to the Evergreen station. I went in person because most of the time they weren’t answering their telephone. At that point, I was told that because the Bales PO was a business, the USPS was not set up to handle forwarding for them. My mail was going back and forth between Evergreen and the central station in Seattle twice.

When I sent out the invoices for September advertising, I emphasized to the advertisers to use my new address, but a few advertisers failed to notice that. When I didn’t receive payment I contacted them and two of them had already sent the checks. I NEVER received the checks, and eventually requested replacements.

When Washington County issued the draft report on Significant Natural Resources, they mailed my copy to the PO Box. When I didn’t get it and requested another one, they accidentally sent that to the PO Box. Eventually a friend hand-delivered the copy I needed. I just learned yesterday that one of those missing copies is sitting at Evergreen!

I have no idea what other mail I haven’t received. I haven’t gotten any forwarded mail for about three weeks. I have to hope that my mail is somewhere. The manager at Evergreen assures me that they don’t throw it away, but I can’t say I expect to see much of anything at this point. He went through the box of mail from 97291 that he had there, and that’s when he found the SNR report.

At the suggestion of the manager at Evergreen, I contacted “ASK USPS” which is the central number for inquiries. Finally someone seemed to understand the situation. He spent a long time researching the situation. He noted that it’s unusual for a contract PO such as Bales to have actual USPS boxes. He said he’d send out some inquiries.

A few days after that, I received a call from someone in customer service at the Portland PO. I told her about the poor service at Evergreen and the delays and mix-ups in getting my mail. She said she was sending her colleague to Evergreen to investigate.

The Evergreen station is one of the largest mail-processing facilities in the west. It serves the huge 97229 zip code along with several others. Many years ago, at the request of some people in Bethany, I asked one of our US Representatives to look into opening a new “real” post office north of 26. (Our closest “real” PO is in Beaverton, and there’s one in North Plains and another in Aloha.) We were told that USPS wasn’t opening new offices.

I’m in touch with Congresswoman Bonamici’s office about this matter. I don’t expect that they will be able to help me get my mail, but they need to know just what a disaster the system is. The person I spoke to at “ASK USPS” indicated that a situation like ours is unusual, and not how they want to do business.

The real solution is to open a new, standalone, official USPS Post Office in our area. I will request this of Bonamici’s office, but I have heard it takes years. We may need to gather signatures or find another way to support the request. I’ll keep you “posted!”

In the meantime, Bales-Findley Property Management, who owns the old Thriftway building and the new center under construction, says they’re committed to re-establishing a contract station in Cedar Mill. They completely understand how much we’ve all been affected by the failure of the Signature NW management to keep the store and PO open.

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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
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