President Donald Trump isn’t quiet about his hate for the U.S. Postal Service.
On Thursday, Aug. 13, he took it further by saying in a Fox News interview he plans to block $25 billion in COVID-19 aid so the Post Office can’t process mail-in ballots. Later in the day, people on social media websites Facebook and Next Door shared photos of U.S. Postal Service mailboxes being picked up in Eugene and Portland, claiming Trump is already cutting back.
But those mailboxes aren’t being picked up because of Trump’s recent statements, USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson tells Eugene Weekly. The Postal Service is picking up mailboxes because people are apparently mailing less during the pandemic. In Eugene, the Postal Service has targeted areas where there are multiple mailboxes and ensured there are one or two mailboxes left behind.
Swanson adds that the decision is made to remove mailboxes when mail carriers noticed there are fewer than 40 or 50 items in a mailbox for several days in a row.
Earlier in the pandemic, people rushed out to buy postage stamps as a way to help out the Postal Service. Swanson says what could bring mailboxes back is to start sending more mail at locations where removal has happened, but a box is still available nearby.
Swanson says USPS has picked up 27 mailboxes in Eugene as of Aug. 13, and while they are done for now, can’t rule out future pick ups
But COVID-19-related mailing decrease isn’t the only threat to the Postal Service.
Trump’s Post Master General Louis DeJoy (a donor to the Trump campaign who was appointed in June) has had an impact on mail operations already. According to an Aug. 13 report from Street Roots in Portland, DeJoy’s initiatives have resulted in late packages and even special election ballots. And one new initiative called Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation, a pilot program also being tried out at the Eugene 97401 post office location, is forcing mail carriers to sort mail during delivery, according to an unnamed mail carrier in the Street Roots story.