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Changes planned for mail delivery

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | June 23, 2021 1:00 AM

MATTAWA — Mattawa residents will get home mail delivery, with the goal of initiating mail routes by the end of the year, and a second carrier route will be added in Desert Aire.

Thomas MacDougall, Mattawa and Royal City postmaster, said Friday the post office is working with Mattawa city officials to verify addresses within the city limits and plan delivery routes.

“We will be delivering,” he said.

Speaking to the Mattawa City Council Thursday, MacDougall estimated it will take about three months to verify all the addresses and another three months to hire and train carriers.

Home delivery is available in Desert Aire and in rural areas with Mattawa addresses, but not within the city limits. Mattawa has a contract office, with post office boxes, but it’s not an official post office, MacDougall said.

About 1,000 boxes are available in the contract office, he said, and that’s not enough for Mattawa’s current population.

Two carrier routes are planned for Mattawa, in addition to the new route in the Desert Aire area.

MacDougall said one option is to put a bank of locking mailboxes in each neighborhood, but that’s expensive. The other is for residents to install their own mailboxes. Postal officials haven’t decided yet whether to install neighborhood boxes, he said. Owners of apartment complexes and mobile home parks will be required to install banks of mailboxes for their residents, he said.

Mattawa is growing, and postal officials have to find ways to accommodate that growth, MacDougall said. The town has outgrown the contract location, but a separate post office for Mattawa is not under consideration right now. It’s been discussed, MacDougall said, but so far there’s no plan for it.

Mail delivery is changing also, he said. People are mailing and receiving fewer letters and bulk mail, but they’re ordering and getting lots of packages. The lockboxes have room for some packages, but some will be too big or the lockbox could already be full. In that case, the packages will be left at the home, he said. Residents will be encouraged to take precautions against package theft.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.