Postal service in Cedar Mill

Blue boxes at Safeway

For several months, we’ve noticed posts on NextDoor from people who were unable to deposit mail into the blue collection boxes at Safeway. Some people assumed it was because the Post Office wasn’t collecting mail often enough. We were finally able to connect with a representative of the Evergreen DCU, the postal facility in Hillsboro that handles all the mail for our area.

The mail collection boxes in the Safeway parking lot are often hard to use because people are putting large parcels in the slots.

We were assured that the boxes were being emptied on schedule. The problem actually was that people were trying to stuff padded envelopes into the slot, and they would become stuck and prevent further mail from being deposited. The representative said there was a sign on the box with directions for the type and size of mail pieces that could be deposited, but we were not able to find it.

Postal Box Locations
From the Postal Service map of collection
box locations. See the problem?

In any case, there should be more of the blue collection boxes in our neighborhoods. We have compiled a list of available boxes, below. Several of the ones listed on the post office website did not exist, but one of our volunteer editors cruised the area and confirmed locations and updated information. Letters requesting more “blue collection boxes” can be mailed to

Postmaster, Beaverton Post Office
4550 SW Betts Ave.
Beaverton, OR 97005-2869.

Another Contract Station?

There’s a bigger problem however, with the lack of facilities in our area. Ever since Signature NW closed Bales Thriftway and its associated Contract Post Office, people have been struggling to find ways to mail packages and do other postal business. There are a couple of commercial mailing stores that will accept mail for USPS: Mailboxes & More in the “triangle center” on Barnes accepts USPS mail and packages. The UPS Store in the Peterkort Center is an approved USPS postal provider.

But even the representative from the Evergreen Station agreed that we need to have another contract station in the area. Ryan Egge, who manages the properties of Bales-Findley LLC, has been trying to contact someone about this ever since Signature NW closed the store last fall. Hopefully we were able to put the two parties in touch so something can be arranged. Whether it can go into one of the new businesses in the Milltowner Center when it opens, or another nearby location, it is needed.

Any business that can host a contract station will benefit from a lot of traffic. CVS is unlikely to step in, but as the retail areas fill out, we’re hopeful that one of them will see the advantage.

Postal service and the Grange

Even the National Grange has weighed in on the issue. Betsy E. Huber, President of the National Grange, recently said “I never thought I’d see in my lifetime the possible closure of the United States Postal Service.”

A notepad from 1909 used by a member of Leedy Grange,
from the Cedar Mill Historical Society collection.

Leedy Grange member Bruce Bartlett shares this information. In the early 1900’s after decades of lobbying, the Grange along with other rural and farm groups, succeeded in convincing Congress to establish free rural mail delivery for the entire USA. Established in 1867, the National Grange, a nonpartisan, nondenominational, nonprofit fraternal organization, has a long and storied history in supporting rural mail delivery by the original US Post Office (now named the US Postal Service) and considers this one of their key issues of longstanding equitability and access for rural Americans.

Featuring the USPS prominently in its 2020 policy update, Grange leadership makes a strong case for preserving this crucial American institution along with the drastic need for increased rural healthcare and other critical issues for farmers. In its May 2020 newsletter, National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller makes a plea for preserving the USPS with an emphasis on the value of mail delivery for rural residents, providing lobbying advice for anyone who values mail and wants to weigh in.

While acknowledging the many challenges the USPS faces and its need for restructuring, the legislative priorities of the Grange are steadfast in supporting this most essential of American institutions. As the highly respected retired Oregonian reporter Harry Bodine recently quipped to me “If the Post Office was good enough for Benjamin Franklin, it is good enough for me.”

Impossible to get a new full-service Post Office?

The United States Postal Service has been under attack from anti-government forces for years. An article from April on the City Lab website says, “While the modern history of the USPS as an independent executive branch agency dates back to the 1970s, its money troubles can be largely traced to a 2006 law called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. Passed at the height of Bush-era enthusiasm for privatization for Social Security, the bill required the Postal Service to pre-fund its pension and retiree health benefits for current and future workers over 10 years. Critics such as Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Massachusetts Representatives Stephen F. Lynch and Ayanna Pressley, and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as most commentators point to this law as an albatross around the agency’s neck.

Another article in National Geographic from May 14 says, “Stakeholders and pundits are debating what comes next. The Postal Service has examined the potential of turning rural post offices into broadband hubs that would reach households through existing telephone lines. Politicians have talked about having the Postal Service return to banking, a service it provided for half of the last century, to reach remote communities not served by commercial financial institutions. The National Association of Letter Carriers envisions reinventing the Postal Service as a roving band of government helpers “with keypad and Internet connection at the ready,” allowing every American to connect to governmental services—a rare human presence in a world where stores are closing and life is migrating online.

The City Lab article continues: “Privatization isn’t inevitable. While the USPS is banned from lobbying Congress on its own behalf, the agency’s defenders include pretty much everybody. The USPS is by far the most popular federal agency, edging out likable contenders such as the National Park Service and NASA with a 90% favorability rating in a poll by the Pew Research Center last year. (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came in fourth.) It would almost certainly take an act of Congress — and maybe even an amendment to the Constitution — to fundamentally rewrite the charter of the Postal Service.”

With all this going on, it’s extremely unlikely that there will be another full-service post office any time soon (like the one in Beaverton) located north of 26 for the Bethany and Cedar Mill communities. Let’s just hope the whole thing isn’t destroyed!

Mail Collection boxes in the Cedar Mill area

BethanyVillage Shopping Center, 4816 NW Bethany Boulevard, 97229, in the Walgreen’s covered drive-through. Collection times: Monday-Friday, 3 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Cornell Center, 16155 NW Cornell Road, 97006, in front of Plaid Pantry and the Animal Hospital. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 2 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Cornell Oaks Business Park, 15210 NW Greenbrier Parkway, 97006, in front of the Department of Human Services Building. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 3:30 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Forest Heights Village Center, 2021 NW Miller Road, 97229, on Miller Road near the bus stop. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 1 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Fred Meyer, 15995 SW Walker Road, 97006, near the entrance on the south side of Fred Meyer. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 3:30 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Somerset West Shopping Center, 3266 NW 185th Avenue, 97229, behind Postal Works, near 185th & Bronson. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 4 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Sunset Mall, 13485 NW Cornell Rd, 97229, in the Safeway Parking lot near Cornell & Barnes. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 4:45 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Twin Oaks Business Park, 1825 NW 167th Place, 97006, along 167th, just south of Cornell. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 3:15 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

Twin Oaks Business Park, 1800 NW 169th Place, 97006, along 169th, just south of Cornell. Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 3:15 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.

West Union Village, 18425 NW West Union Road, 97229, to the left of the Albertson’s entrance, near 185th & West Union, Collection Times: Monday-Friday, 4 pm; Saturday, 1 pm.