PORTLAND - While small town post offices face possible closings across the country, they can all breath easy-- for five months, at least.
The U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Senate announced Wednesday that no post offices would close within the next five months, allowing Congress to seek alternative routes to reform postal legislation. Postal woes have been in the news for the past few years, as one of the nation's first big federal bureaucracies struggles with its budgets.
Citizens in Portland lobbied hard to keep their post office, a luxury they've kept for more than a hundred years. A petition in the small town garnered almost 200 signatures before being sent in to the Postal Service on December 7.
Residents said they would accept almost any other option proposed by the Postal Service, from losing Saturday mail, to paying a special surcharge to maintain the services. Communities like Portland may have fewer than 100 residents, but the post office operates as an unconventional community center.
Opponents to the closings said older people rely on the convenience of the post office to retrieve Social Security checks and medication. Closings could force people to drive more than 15 miles to collect their mail.
The delay is scheduled to end May 15, 2012.