April 17, 2018

Udall, Heinrich, Pearce Urge USPS To Maintain Permanent Post Office In Pie Town, N.M.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Steve Pearce sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan to express concerns with the temporary suspension of operations at the post office in Pie Town, N.M. and urged the United States Postal Service (USPS) to keep a permanent post office open in Pie Town. USPS recently announced that beginning close of business on April 27, 2018, operations at the Pie Town Post Office will be temporarily suspended due to the condition of the building.

“Residents across rural New Mexico, including Pie Town, rely on the post office to obtain needed medications, time-sensitive bills, and legal notices, among other pieces of mail and parcels. It is crucial that all New Mexicans have reliable and local access to the services of the USPS,” wrote the members.

“Pie Town is a historic community in New Mexico named after a bakery established in the early 1920s and is celebrated for its annual Pie Festival. Its local economy relies significantly on tourism, and sending post cards from the Pie Town Post Office is an important part of that experience. Further, the Pie Town Post Office is of particular importance to Continental Divide Trail hikers, who routinely use the post office to receive critical supplies while contributing to the Pie Town economy. A permanent post office in Pie Town is essential for both residents and tourists,” continued the members.

USPS plans to install centralized mailboxes in Pie Town for Post Office Box customers while USPS works to relocate into a modular building. However, until these centralized mailboxes are installed, these customers will have to pick up their mail at the Datil Post Office, which is a more than 40-mile roundtrip from Pie Town.

In their letter, the lawmakers urged USPS to install centralized mailboxes in a timely manner to alleviate any hardship for Pie Town residents and address additional questions regarding the temporary suspension.

A copy of the letter is available here and below.

Megan J. Brennan
Postmaster General
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010

Dear Postmaster General Brennan:

It has recently come to our attention that the post office in Pie Town, NM, will be temporarily suspending operations at its current location on April 27, 2018, due to the condition of the building. We are writing to express concern over the lack of a definite timeframe for the temporary suspension and to convey the importance of keeping a permanent post office open in Pie Town. We urge the United States Postal Service (USPS) to remedy this situation as soon as possible. Residents across rural New Mexico, including Pie Town, rely on the post office to obtain needed medications, time-sensitive bills, and legal notices, among other pieces of mail and parcels. It is crucial that all New Mexicans have reliable and local access to the services of the USPS.

It is our understanding that USPS plans to install centralized mailboxes in Pie Town for Post Office Box customers while USPS works to relocate into a modular building. However, until these centralized mailboxes are installed, these customers will have to pick up their mail at the Datil Post Office, which is a more than 40-mile roundtrip from Pie Town. We are concerned that this trip could be a hardship for many residents of Pie Town and the surrounding community. It is pivotal that the centralized mailboxes be installed in a timely manner to alleviate uncertainty and provide continuity for customers’ mailing needs.

We are also concerned by the recent USPS letter to customers stating that “this change is temporary and will not lead to a formal discontinuance proposal unless we conclude that it will provide a maximum degree of regular and effective postal services.” This letter, sent on March 28, 2018, has made the community very anxious and disregards the essential services that only a permanent post office in Pie Town can provide. Pie Town is a historic community in New Mexico named after a bakery established in the early 1920s and is celebrated for its annual Pie Festival. Its local economy relies significantly on tourism, and sending post cards from the Pie Town Post Office is an important part of that experience. Further, the Pie Town Post Office is of particular importance to Continental Divide Trail hikers, who routinely use the post office to receive critical supplies while contributing to the Pie Town economy. A permanent post office in Pie Town is essential for both residents and tourists.

We would appreciate detailed information about USPS plans regarding this temporary suspension. Specifically, please provide answers to the following questions at your earliest convenience:

What is the current mail and service volume for the Pie Town Post Office?
What is the timeline for installing centralized mailboxes?
What is the timeline for moving into a modular building?
What are the USPS plans for locating a new permanent location for a post office in Pie Town?
Are there any services available for Post Office Box customers who cannot physically travel to Datil to pick up their mail?
What additional accommodations and/or precautions does USPS plan to put in place to protect postal money orders purchased in cash?
Are additional resources or personnel being provided to the Datil Post Office to incorporate all of the Pie Town Post Office’s customers and services?
We respectfully ask that USPS communicate updates and answer any related inquiries in a timely manner from Pie Town residents, Catron County officials, and our offices on this issue. Our offices will share letters from residents, stakeholders, and officials with the USPS as we receive them. We appreciate your consideration of our concerns and your continued engagement with the Pie Town community.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Tom Udall
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
U.S. Representative Steve Pearce