The main complaints are about delayed or lost mail and packages, and what protesters call high prices for mandatory post office boxes, if people want mail delivered. The proposed solutions: start delivering mail to homes, or provide free post boxes to residents.
Chuck Dorsey who lives in Buena Vista stood on a street corner Friday afternoon, hoping to inspire more people to get involved in the solution.
“I haven’t received my mail for two months! said Dorsey. “He got kicked out of Tuson for two months and I stood in line twelve times and asked them, they lied to me and said it would be fine and it wasn’t! For two months, and I live here!”
Dorsey’s complaints are echoed by the crowd of people who have gathered outside the post office, trying to make their voices heard.
“It’s an older community,” protest co-organizer Grace Garret said, referring to who gets the mail and pays the price for a post office box. “We have a lot of people here on fixed incomes and we have young people who have affordable housing, reliable pay rates and jobs…it’s not fair.”
One of Garret’s main complaints was about a survey reported by the USPS that claimed the majority of Buena Vista residents wanted to pay for PO boxes instead of door-to-door delivery.
“We submitted a FOYA request and they were able to find 0 evidence that the investigation existed,” Garret said. “Now they say ‘Ok we give, okay, we don’t find anything, we start again’… that was last October.”
Mountain Newsroom reporter Spencer Wilson contacted a USPS spokesperson for an interview on Friday, but was declined. Instead, USPS emailed this response (see full below).
I will not be available for an interview today.
Currently at Buena Vista we are up to half short of our staff and our current employees are doing all they can to serve their customers. We know we have failed to meet community service expectations and are working hard to restore public respect. For several months, we have been aggressively looking for clerks and carriers to stabilize our workforce. These challenges are not unique to our mountain and resort communities like Buena Vista. The advent of the pandemic, increased consumer use of online ordering of basic necessities, and national employment challenges have exacerbated this situation for many communities.
Buena Vista was established as a city in 1879 and we have been here since the very beginning. Residents of the city limits traditionally received their mail at the post office box. In fact, the majority of cities in Colorado do not have in-town delivery and PO Box or General Delivery is how mail is received. To illustrate this fact, within the 80 mile radius of Buena Vista, there are only four other cities that have either urban or rural delivery: Vail, Aspen, Leadville and Salida.
We are currently evaluating various criteria for Buena Vista PO Box holders that consider local laws, physical barriers, rural delivery access, and more. and let’s take a look at who is eligible for toll-free PO Boxes. We are very close to a resolution.
I would appreciate your mentioning our ongoing hiring needs. We are actively recruiting throughout Colorado to include our mountain communities. . We have many positions available throughout most of Colorado and encourage all interested applicants to visit USPS.com/careers. These are great jobs that can quickly lead to career opportunities with all the benefits, including paid annual and sick leave, paid vacation, health care, retirement, and other benefits.
(To apply: Go to usps.com/careers, click “Search Jobs,” select “Colorado,” click “Get Started,” then click the link for the appropriate job. A general overview of requirements USPS job description, specific job requirements, and hourly wage is available on the website. Other positions are also available, including mail processing assistant, mail processing clerk, etc. Job postings are updated weekly, so check back frequently for additional opportunities.)
But in areas where we don’t have full staff, we will continue to adjust our available resources, maximizing our local staff and augmenting from the surrounding region to help with the workload. We are proud of the efforts of postal workers in Colorado and across the country, as they define essential public service every day.”