Post office woes in the mountain towns of Buena Vista and Twin Lakes have caught U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen’s attention

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen is running for Congress in the redrawn 7th District, against Republican Erik Aadland. Photographed Thursday Aug. 25, 2022, in Lakewood.

Weeks of no mail delivery for some residents in the mountain towns of Buena Vista and Twin Lakes is drawing the attention of the communities’ congresswoman.

Freshman Rep. Brittany Pettersen said she first started hearing about the problem when she was campaigning for the job this summer

“I am a little surprised at how bad it's gotten since,” she said on Thursday.

Now that her office is up and running she’s heard from residents who say the post office hasn’t delivered their mail for more than three weeks and that important items like mortgage statements and prescription drug refills have gone missing even as the tracking status shows them as delivered.

Pettersen has written to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about the “consistent understaffing that has led to persistent and extensive delays in mail delivery.”

She asked questions about temporary staff and what the USPS is doing to mitigate the extensive delays and to fix the staffing issue in the long term.

“We want a clear outline on what they're going to do to solve this problem,” Pettersen said.

She added she also understands the workforce shortages facing the USPS.

“I do recognize that there are barriers that they're facing, but we need to know what the plan is. And this didn't happen overnight. Unfortunately, it's taken this long for them to finally send additional workers to help support the problem and that's unacceptable.”

Pettersen is hopeful that her perch on the Financial Services committee will help her address this immediate problem and the underlying issues that lead to workforce shortages, like lack of affordable housing.

A spokesperson for the USPS in Colorado said Buena Vista has been short as much as half of its needed staff. But they have four employees from Colorado Springs helping in the town for the next few weeks and the service is working on long-term solutions. He added they are prioritizing the delivery of medications.

“We know we have not met service expectations of the community and are working hard to restore the respect of the public,” said spokesman James Boxrud. And he noted the USPS is trying to hire two more full-time carriers, four substitute carriers and three clerk positions in Buena Vista.

Pettersen welcomes those steps. She also urged the agency to better communicate with residents in the communities.