Dozens protest postal service changes at downtown office

EUGENE, Ore. -- Employees with the United States Postal Service across the nation spent Sunday rallying to keep the six-day service week after a recent decision would cut weekend mail delivery from the budget.

Dozens of Eugene residents joined the national effort by staging a protest at the downtown post office.

Last month the postal service announced its plan to switch to five day mail service to save money. After the closing of the Springfield mail processing plant, this recent decision has many in Eugene concerned about the future of the post office.

Protesters marched through the streets Sunday afternoon, voicing their displeasure with the postmaster general Patrick Donahoe.

They are calling for congress to deliver a better plan to strengthen the postal service. Kevin Card, a 23-veteran of the USPS workforce, said he is outraged over proposed plan to cut Saturday mail delivery.

"If we got rid of Saturday delivery and shut down the Eugene/Springfield plant your'e taking a couple hundred very decent jobs from the community," Card said. "Most people don't understand that the postal service doesn't use any tax dollars for it's operating."

Postal service officials said USPS lost $16 billion last year.

At Sunday's rally, Oregon representative Peter Defazio pointed out that much of the financial shortfalls deal with having to prepay health care 75 years into the future.

Rep. Defazio wrote a bill that he said will solve that obligation.

"We are saddled with a post master general who's agenda seems to be to kill the post office. I asked the president to fire him and he hasn't engaged in this debate which I find very strange," said Defazio.

Postal workers said they are not just concerned about loosing their jobs, but that these cuts will have huge affects on businesses and small communities.

Card told KVAL News that he thinks rural communities in Oregon will feel the changes the most, because they rely on the postal service and often cannot afford to pay their bills or do business online.

"People out in rural Oregon, in Veneta and Cheshire in those towns the postal service is incredibly valuable to them. And is something they want to see maintained six days a week," said Card.

Rep. Defazio said people should be contacting the white house and asking them to take action in saving the post office.