KGVO: Montana Senator Wants Mail Sorting to Stay in Missoula, Not Spokane

by Dennis Bragg

Senator Jon Tester is telling the head of the U.S. Postal Service that he should immediately halt consideration of a plan to shift major mail sorting operations from Missoula to Spokane.

Last month, USPS said it was earmarking the Missoula Processing and Distribution Center as one of the facilities across the country for possible upgrades under a new 40-billion dollar plan to improve mail operations.

But contained within that news was the proposal that the Postal Service to transfer “some mail processing operations” currently handled in Missoula to the Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Spokane.

Postal Service sees efficiencies with the change

The agency says a “significant percentage” of the mail collected is heading into the USPS network, and that it might be more efficient and “cost-effective” if that mail could be combined with other parcels in Spokane headed to the same destination.

However, in the letter to Postmaster General Louis Dejoy, Tester says he “fails to see” how the transfer would “result in improved mail service for Montanas.” He notes how small businesses depend on “timely USPS service” while many people need to send checks and mortgage payments to the bank, or seniors receive life-saving medications, including veterans.

Tester worried about Missoula USPS workers

He goes on to note the Missoula center employs “over a hundred Montanans and has served the community for decades,” saying the change would mean the mail would have to be shipped to Spokane over “two mountain passes”, only to be sorted and sent back.

USPS has said no jobs would be lost in the transition, which is still just in the idea stage.

Tester wants Dejoy to “halt” any further consideration of the change, and focus on improving mail service to rural communities.