News

Last chance for EMU post office



Shawn Hatjes

Right now, the University has the convenience of a post office in one of its most central buildings. By the end of the year, that may not be so.

The U.S. Postal Service’s Portland District announced on July 28 that the postal service is considering closing Eugene’s University Station post office, located in the ground level of the EMU, or consolidating it with other locations. Oct. 1 is the earliest the decision will be made.

Mail volume has followed the declining economy, and in 2007 the USPS saw a steep decline, which prompted the consolidations. Approximately 700 stations or branches nationwide were considered for consolidation.

“As volume and revenue started to decline, we started to go back and say, does it really make sense in most instances from a business perspective to have postal stations (in) retail outlets in such close proximity to each other?” said post office spokesperson Ronald Anderson.

Proximity to other post offices, along with revenue generation and a customer survey were part of a feasibility study conducted in order to determine which post offices were to be considered for consolidation. Stations within two miles include the Eugene Main Office Station located on Willamette Street and the Southside Station located on East 33rd Avenue.

Initially, six of the Portland District’s 467 post offices, which serve Oregon and southwest Washington, were being studied for possible consolidation — a number that has since been reduced to two: the University Station and Portland’s Gus J. Solomon Station on SW Main Street.

These two stations have been put on a national recommendation list that is currently under review at Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. A review team will deem whether the facilities meet the national criteria for consolidation and whether or not they agree with the recommendation.

Along with the declining economy, Anderson cited other reasons for mail volume decrease.

“The transition of correspondence to e-mail and Twitter, and the list kind of goes on and on,” Anderson said. “And with package services, obviously that’s a very competitive market with the other major private corporations.”

As far as job losses go, Anderson said the optimum is that no one will lose a job.

“It’s important to note that we talk about not closure but consolidation,” he said. “Any of the postal employees that are currently assigned to any of the offices that are under consideration ­— there are plans in place to actually reassign those individuals to a different postal facility.”

The American Postal Workers Union, which represents employees at the office, opposes
the changes.

“I think it’s going to adversely affect the service for the students,” said the union’s Eugene Area Local president Jim Kubli of the possibility that the facility will close. “The timing of the decision when the students were absent was egregious. The very people that are served by the University station were absent when all the information about its closing came out. I don’t know if that was by design, but it’s unfortunate for those customers.”

Mari Mizobe, a graduate student from Hong Kong and Japan, conveyed her concern for the effect the close would have on the international community on campus.

“I really don’t want to see it close, because if it closes then I would have to go to the Willamette Street one,” she said. Although she has a bike, she said the rain and the early sunset are deterrents.

“I’m speaking as someone who’s been here for close to six years,” she said. “I remember when I was here, going to Willamette Street was like going to a foreign country. So I could imagine the new students here, how it could really impact them, how they’re just trying to figure out the city and get used to the U of O.”

Junior Kelsey Davis was at the EMU post office Friday to mail a birthday present and was shocked to find out the location might close. Davis said she doesn’t know where she would go if the location were to close.

“I don’t have a car, so I don’t know how I would get there,” she said. “(The EMU post office) is really accessible to the students. I don’t think it should close down at all.”

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