Oregon Postal “Road Warrior” Heads Out On Another Journey


Oregon Postal “road warrior” headed for Idanha, Foster, Alsea, Lorane, Walton, plus protest of Postmaster General at Vancouver Hilton
Idanha – Friday, August 17, 7 pm, City Hall
Foster – Saturday, August 18, 3 pm, 1621 63rd Ave. (next to post office)
Alsea – Monday, August 20, 6:30pm, Fire Station
Vancouver – Tuesday, August 21, 7:30 – 9:30 am, Vancouver Hilton
Lorane – Wednesday, August 22, 7 pm, Grange Hall
Walton – Thursday, August 23, 7 pm, General Store
Following a trek down the Willamette Valley to Salem and Springfield, retired postman Jamie Partridge set off last weekend across the desert to Bend, Powell Butte and Pendleton.  Delivering the message of “No closures, no cuts, no delay of the mail!” the self-described “postal road warrior” is now headed out on another journey to the foothills of the Cascades and into the Coast Range.   Bringing a satchel full of petitions and how-to-save-your-post-office guidelines to Idanha, Foster, Alsea, Lorane and Walton, postman Partridge is also taking a day out of his journey to confront the Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, at a mailers’ conference in Vancouver.   As of July 1st, the PMG began massive cuts and closures to mail processing plants and rural post offices nationwide while changing delivery standards to allow the delay of  first class mail.
“The cuts and closures are not necessary. Donahoe is way out of line. The postal service is not broke,” says Partridge.  On August 2nd the Portland-based postal activist launched a month long road trip across Oregon to help communities organize resistance to Donahoe’s actions.  The cities of Salem, Eugene/Springfield, Bend and Pendleton all have mail processing facilities which are scheduled for closure and 124 rural towns are scheduled to lose their full-time postmaster and eventually their post office.  A majority of Oregon’s mail processing plants and a third of its post offices will be impacted.  Activists in the four cities have already met with Partridge, devising plans to mount the pressure necessary to head off the closures.  The “road warrior” is being aided by the Rural Organizing Project, Jobs with Justice, and Communities and Postal Workers United.
“The postal service is required to hold community hearings before closing or drastically reducing service at a postal facility.  Postal regulations mandate that the impact on jobs, services and the local economy be considered before cutting or closing,” says Partridge.  Because of its universal service obligation, the USPS is not allowed to close a post office just because it is losing money.
On August 1st the USPS defaulted on a pre-fund payment to the U.S. Treasury.  The default will have no impact on postal operations, only its credit rating. The service is required by a 2006 act of Congress to pre-fund retiree health benefits seventy-five years in advance, a burden not required of any other agency or company.  Without the pre-fund mandate, the USPS would almost break even.
“It’s not the internet, not private competition, not labor costs, not the recession — Congress is killing the US Postal Service,” says Partridge.  “Allow the USPS access to its own funds — not tax but postage funds — from the pension surplus, and the finances can be fixed.”  The pension surplus involves some $60 to $85 Billion overpaid into federal retirement accounts, according to the Office of the Inspector  General and the Postal Regulatory Commission.  Communities and Postal Workers United, sponsor of the “postal road warrior” is calling on Donahoe to restore delivery standards and reverse cuts and closures while allowing Congress to fix the finances by repealing the prefunding mandate and refunding the pension surplus.