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Decisions on rural post offices get delay until May

Decisions on rural post offices get delay until May

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CASCADIA - The U.S. Postal Service agreed Tuesday to delay announcing closures of post offices and mail processing centers until May 15, 2012, due to requests made by 11 senators, including Ron Wyden of Oregon.

The announcement affects post offices in Eddyville, Cascadia and Idanha, as well as 38 others in Oregon and more than 3,653 nationwide. Although the Postal Service has cut 130,000 jobs in recent years, it still lost $5.1 billon during the past year.

The moratorium will give Congress more time to enact postal reform legislation and the Postal Service time to continue to study the impact of proposed closures and costs.

A trailer that had housed the Cascadia Post Office for many years was destroyed by fire in November. Postal Service spokesman Peter Hass said there has been no decision made about whether the Cascadia office will be closed.

Tom Towslee, Wyden's communications director, summed up the situation Tuesday:

"Replacement for the post office is around $500,000 for a new building built to post office specifications. Cascadia is still included in the review process and, based on today's announcement, nothing will be done until May 2012 per the moratorium."

The 65 families who received mail at the Cascadia Post Office now get their mail over the counter at the Foster Post Office, about 10 miles west of town. Rural residents who receive their mail by carrier continue to do so.

Cascadia's honorary mayor, Jean Burger, said she knows of some Cascadia residents who haven't received their mail since the fire because "they don't have the money to drive to town."

Also, counter service at the Foster Post Office on the east side of Sweet Home is only available from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:45 p.m.

"If you don't happen to be in town during those time constraints, you have to wait until the next day or the next time you go through Sweet Home," Burger said. "Our post office used to be open six days a week. Now, it's like we're out there in never, never land."

The fire also destroyed Hubler Engines, a machine shop housed in the the community's old school building. It was only feet from the post office trailer.

"It's like we died," Burger said. "Everyone used to meet and catch up on things at the post office. Now, there's no central place."

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