HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Contract post office closes; reopening uncertain

Written June 3rd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The former post office at Albany’s Carriage House Plaza on Friday afternoon.

There had been a satellite post office in the Carriage House Plaza, the strip mall in Albany’s Willamette Neighborhood, for 40-some years. Now it is closed. It’s an open question whether a new one will reopen there, somewhere else, or not at all.

The office was a contract postal unit or CPU, the only one in the domain of the Albany Post Office. (Other mailing businesses in town are not overseen by the United States Postal Service.)

The closure happened in May. Albany Postmaster Bryan Barabin referred questions about the reasons to the public-affairs section of the Postal Service, an office I was unable to reach Friday. But I gathered the closure had something to do with the contract between the contractor and the postal service.

People who had post office boxes at the contract office got boxes at the main office downtown instead.

Barabin has been with the Postal Service for 25 years. He’s originally from Portland, then moved to Iowa and more recently to Eugene. Since the first of the year he has been working at the Albany office. He officially became the postmaster on April 23.

He told me he’d like to find someone to reopen the contract unit at Carriage House Plaza, but the location apparently will take the waiver of a rule.

Since the contract unit was established there, at 1143 Santiam Road S.E., a postal regulation came into effect that says such units must be at least three miles from the host office. On Google maps, as the crow flies, the distance between the Albany Post Office and the Carriage House Plaza is less than a mile.

Besides its convenient location with ample parking, the advantage of the contract unit for customers was that they rarely had to wait in line. And it kept Saturday hours.

The downside was that Postal Service regulations prohibit contract units from accepting credit or debit cards. But customers who chose the office because of its convenience will no doubt wish the postmaster luck in trying to get it reopened, and soon.

In the meantime, the blue postal drop box in the Carriage House parking lot will definitely stay. (hh)

Albany Postmaster Bryan Barabin says he hopes to get a contract postal unit re-established.

 

The Carriage House Plaza drop box will stay and continue to be emptied of mail on schedule.





12 responses to “Contract post office closes; reopening uncertain”

  1. Teresa says:

    Very sad

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Your assumption that “..customers who chose the office because of its convenience will no doubt wish the postmaster luck in trying to get it reopened, and soon” is not shared by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU).

    The APWU is very clear that privatization results in:
    – Service cuts
    – Hiked postage rates
    – Untimely service
    – Reduced door delivery

    But real life experience has taught many of us that this is BS. Real life experience has conditioned many of us to dread going to the Post Office for simple retail transactions.

    This is the nature of legal monopolies granted by government.

    Lots of incentive to protect their turf. Little, to no, incentive to improve customer service/satisfaction.

    https://d1ocufyfjsc14h.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/legislative_priority_the_u.s._is_mail_not_for_sale.pdf

    • Jon Stratton says:

      Well, of course they have to protect their turf. Who else is going to open every piece of email I get that looks like it might have a credit card in it or come to the door with a filled out “tried to deliver” slip rather than actually trying to deliver the package that they should just leave in their stupid lock box? You can’t get that kind of service from a private contractor.

  3. James Engel says:

    Well poop! It was close to home & I didn’t have to maneuver thru town to mail a letter. BUT, the downtown main post office did have more “things” going for it. Hummmm…?

  4. Bill McLagan says:

    Millersburg could use a contract post office like this. We are closer to Jefferson, and most often go there. We are a long way from the downtown PO and it is very inconvenient to go there for the things we cannot do elsewhere — like getting the mail held when we go on vacation.

  5. CHEZZ says:

    Many USPO services can be completed online. You can hold mail, have your outgoing boxes picked up at your residence, purchase stamps. It is easy and not hard to complete online.

  6. Jeff Senders says:

    I could close my Shop 3 blocks from the Post Office, drive a mile to the Carriage House Post Office, then drive back to my business faster than going through the Post Office. The downtown Post Office removed the clock that used to hang on the lobby wall for a reason.

  7. Robert D Stalick says:

    I used this post office a lot. It was faster than downtown and friendlier as well. I will miss it and the cheerful people who managed it.

  8. Pat Kight says:

    That’s where I’ve always shipped off my Christmas presents and other parcels too big to fit in my mailbox, because the lines aren’t as long and slow as the downtown Post Office. Sad to see it closing.

  9. Deborah Sinnett says:

    Sad to see them closing. It was so convenient to go there and the customer service people were very friendly and courteous. I will drive to Tangent before I go to Albany Post office.

  10. John Allen says:

    Living in Millersburg I have always used the Carriage House Plaza location. I guess I will start using the Jefferson location. I will miss the friendly, helpful staff at Carriage House.

  11. Dick Olsen says:

    I wish the Post Master luck in getting the Carriage House branch open again. Nice people and no or negligible lines.

 

 
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