For over 60 years, the United States Postal Service has offered door-to-door delivery services on Vashon Island. USPS’s choice to discontinue its services to Vashon Island hit a nerve with Joel McHale, a Hollywood actor, and comedian. The discontinuation of services will happen on narrow roads with limited truck mobility, making a delivery to the areas more dangerous. I want to start by saying that I’m not a knowledgeable resident but simply reporting on the issue.
USPS made this hard choice over concerns for the safety of its drivers. They drive down those roads for delivery, and they can’t turn around easily. McHale has called out the USPS’s decision rash and poorly conceived. He feels confused and even outraged at it due his mother-in-law living there. People such as McHale’s mother-in-law, they will no longer deliver to those locations on Vashon. Due to her being sick and elderly, she needed someone to collect her mail, and the door-to-door delivery made it easier.
After a temporary worker complained about unsafe conditions, USPS on Vashon had to make a decision. The worker complained to his union about the unsafe conditions after USPS upgraded its trucks to slightly larger models.
McHale further complained that they have delivered for over 60 years to this island, but instead of sending out another postal worker who felt safe driving it, they cut off the service. Instead of mail delivered to their door, they will need to pick up mail at the post office. For people like McHale’s mother-in-law, this poses an even greater challenge. Sometimes, it can take up to 40 minutes to get your mail.
USPS told residents that they could buy mailboxes and request an installation. Amazon delivery trucks and garbage trucks continue services to the island. With garbage trucks being larger than USPS delivery trucks, it makes people like McHale wonder why they chose to discontinue their services.
As of right now, residents can choose from two options. They can either visit the post office or they can have a cluster-box unit installed, which serves the whole street. Part of the reason for the discontinued services may stem from staffing shortages at the moment when the local post office already struggles to keep workers. They had already had to bring in a temporary worker to help service the island.
McHale, the host of E!’s “The Soup” and a graduate of the University of Washington, calls it out on the show. John Curley asked McHale what he thought they could do to resolve the problem. McHale couldn’t answer. Eventually, McHale conceded to the issue as being relatively minor. Still, it affects so many residents, and many on the island where they continued the service are elderly. This makes it more dangerous for them to walk out in the rain or the snow, especially if they have no mobility.
McHale continued by saying that several neighbors angrily contacted the postal service, and his brother-in-law Richard tried to contact them as well.
USPS spoke to the media about how it continues to search for new ways to resolve the problem, but it remained firm about discontinuing the service. Instead, they spoke about being in the early stages of a new plan. They said they value their employees’ safety, and the cliff-hugging road on the island poses too much danger for employees to continue the route. Still, they will work with the community to find a better solution in 2023.
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