Grand Junction to retain mail processing facility, for now

Tom Hesse
The Downtown Grand Junction Post Office location at 241 N. 4th St.

Updated 9:35 a.m. May 15, 2024

The USPS is pausing its overhaul of West Slope mail delivery after another round of pushback in the United State Senate.

The plan to convert Grand Junction from a regional processing center to a local processing center was announced last month, despite significant local resistance. The transition would mean that local mail for Grand Junction and other Western Colorado towns would be sent to Denver for processing before returning west for delivery. The change is a part of the larger United States Postal Service Delivering For America initiative that seeks to modernize mail delivery services and make the postal service sustainable.

Concern about the initiative isn’t limited to Grand Junction; the plan has drawn the ire of several members of Congress whose states would also see changes similar to what was proposed for Western Colorado. 

“The nature of these changes creates concerns that local and rural service could be degraded,” a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote in a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “For example, USPS proposals to remove all outbound mail operations from local processing facilities seem to particularly harm local mail – since mail sent to a nearby locality would first have to go through a far-away processing facility, often in another state.” 

Colorado’s Michael Bennet was among the senators to sign the May 8 letter. It was not the first time Bennet and other senators wrote opposing the changes. 

DeJoy responded the next day in a letter to Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, writing: “In response to the concerns you and your colleagues have expressed, I will commit to pause any implementation of these moves at least until January 1, 2025. Even then, we will not advance these efforts without advising you of our plans to do so , and then only at a moderated pace of implementation.” 

In a social media post on Tuesday Bennet said he was pleased with the delay and “I'll continue to work with USPS to ensure they address the potential effects on local mail delivery, especially in rural areas.” 

Shane McDonnell, vice president of the Grand Junction area’s postal carriers union, said members were pleased with the announcement, though he’s not celebrating yet. 

“I'm glad that DeJoy — because of the senators’ testimonies and questions to him — that he's actually admitted mistakes because up till now he really hasn't. I'm really skeptical as far as the pauses go,” McDonnell said. “I'm used to upper management kind of double-speaking everything.” 

McDonnell added that he’s still concerned about another proposed change, the local transportation optimization push, which essentially reduces the number of mail pickups for rural post offices. McDonnell says this would mean outgoing letters and packages dropped off in rural post offices like Collbran, may not get picked up right away and will be delayed in entering the “mail stream.” 

“We're scheduled in September to have those changes go into effect still, and I have not heard anything about that. And I think that alone will slow down the mail quite a bit,” McDonnell said. 

The transportation optimization push was among the concerns raised by Bennet and other senators in their letter to DeJoy. 

McDonnell said he’s hopeful Colorado’s congressional delegation will continue to push the issue. 

“I think it's good news because it does show that the politicians and the consumers getting involved are making changes, at least perceptively,” he said. “But what it does overall, I think there's still a long ways to go.”