Buena Vista scores major victory in battle with USPS

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After six years of persistent harassment from Colorado politicians and the United States Post Office, Buena Vista will now get free post office boxes. It’s a fight the community says they shouldn’t have had to fight in the first place, referencing USPS guidelines saying everyone is entitled to free mail delivery.

CBS News Colorado was there in July as the community fought for their right to free mail delivery.

Now one of the citizens’ rights advocates, Grace Garret, says she’ll have to find something else to worry about for five hours a day now that they’ve achieved their goal.

“We didn’t quit. We had letters that we wrote in the mail, directly to our members of Congress. We were getting support from our county commissioners, from our city administrators. We sent letters to the media. We asked for congressional support. As you know, we actually staged a protest,” Garret said.

Free PO Boxes won’t change the problems of understaffing at the office, or the long queues to pick up packages inside. Still, Garret said they’re focused on what they can change, even after all this time at the moment. There will be time to address the other issues later.

“Either we deliver at home, which would eliminate the queues, or we deliver for free [P.O.] Boxes,” Garret said.

Garret knows they are not the last mountain community to fight this fight. She thinks Elizabeth and Crested Butte are currently having similar issues with their mail deliveries. She had these recommendations for communities looking for practical solutions.

  1. Constant pressure (Buena Vista ran for 6 years).
  2. Have a strong factual case (Buena Vista pointed to an investigation cited by the USPS saying the city didn’t want free P.O. boxes. There is no record of that investigation).
  3. Never give up.

A statement from the USPS confirms the change for the mountain town:

“Beginning January 2, 2023, the Buena Vista Post Office will provide free post office box service to qualified Buena Vista residents within the geographic boundaries of the delivery zip code who are not currently served by a delivery route. Customers may request Group E lockbox service (free) by completing Form PS 1093, Request for Lockbox Service, and presenting it to the Buena Vista Post Office.

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