At the beginning of New Year and following the aftermath of inclement weather, many islanders reported that mail had not been delivered to their addresses for some time.
Last week found the Vashon post office with lines out the door, and the parking lot filled to capacity. On Wednesday, afternoon, two postal employees were seen working the main counter and assisting islanders.
Throughout the week, islanders continued to post on social media about the situation or reach out to The Beachcomber.
Deb Stuart, who lives on Pt. Vashon Drive, just off of SW 112th Street on the island’s north end, said in a phone call on Wednesday that she had not had mail delivered since Dec. 24.
The next day, she said that she flagged down a mail truck on her street, and was told by the driver that he was delivering packages only and that he had no idea of when regular mail would resume.
Stuart said that only one of her neighbors had reported receiving regular mail since Dec. 24 — and that one of these neighbors depended on receiving prescription medicine by mail.
Islander Susan Hormann, who stopped in at the post office to put a hold on her mail, said the recent delays in mail delivery were “not a big deal” for her, and expressed gratitude for the hard work of the postal workers in Vashon during this time.
The Beachcomber requested to speak with the Vashon Postmaster on Thursday, Jan. 6 but was redirected to David Rupert, Manager of United States Postal Service Strategic Communications for the WestPac area.
“All throughout the state we’ve been having transportation issues,” said Rupert, referencing inclement weather issues that have made navigating difficult not only on Vashon, but also in many other communities. He declined to comment whether the problems were also related to absenteeism of postal workers due to COVID-19.
According to KING 5 reporting on Jan. 5, some residents in Covington, Snohomish, Gig Harbor and Issaquah have also seen spotty or no mail delivery since Christmas Eve.
KING 5 quoted a statement from the postal service that mentioned not only weather disruptions but pandemic-related problems as well.
“The U.S. Postal Service is hard at work to maintain consistent delivery during this unusual pattern of weather throughout western Washington State and elsewhere,” the statement read. “Loss of power, road closures and transportation availability have all been challenges these last few days. We’re flexing our resources in response to these weather issues as well as local COVID 19 personnel impacts.”
On a return visit to the Vashon Post office at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, a line stretched again around the outer lobby of the post office, but some of the islanders in line said they had been receiving their mail regularly.