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USPS hosts meeting to hear public comment about Missoula processing center

The United States Postal Service is looking at potential plans to move some operations from Missoula to Spokane
Missoula Post Office Kent Street
Posted at 8:56 AM, Mar 18, 2024

MISSOULA — If you drive by this post office on Kent Avenue in Missoula, you might think it's just that.

But inside is a processing and distribution center that processes and delivers mail locally.

A few months ago the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced potential plans to take some operations and move them from Missoula to 200 miles away to Spokane.

USPS officials held a meeting on Friday evening to discuss those potential plans.

“Missoula was looked at this study because, number one, the mail does fly out of here so it is already getting trucked out to fly out of here. And logically Spokane — being about four hours by truck from here — is logically a place that could work if there could be savings that could be gained from that,” said USPS Senior Division Director Brian Gaines.

Among the main concerns mentioned by the public are environmental impacts, response time, costs, and safety for postal workers at Friday night's meeting.

Gaines was asked about the mail impacted and he said it depends on the type of mail.

"On the package side, it's not the local stuff. If you mail a package to another package in 598 to a zip code in 598 that will stay in Missoula," Gaines explained. "There will be some volume of stamp letter just in the nature of how we process the mail that will travel to Spokane get canceled and travel back to Missoula the service on that is a two-day service standard and that what it is right now so that service standard does not change.”

Right now, the mail that comes to Missoula for processing mostly comes from Billings, the outgoing mail mostly goes to Great Falls to be flown out. If the proposal were to be implemented, the incoming and outgoing mail would be processed through Spokane, consolidating mail to one location.

If the plan were to go into effect, things such as Social Security checks, prescriptions and ballots would not be affected.

Prescriptions and Social Security checks are dropped into Missoula and that process will not change. So the volume designating to Missoula — so if you are getting a prescription through the mail, that volume will stay in Missoula and will be processed in Missoula," Gaines said "That will not be a part of the volume going to Spokane.

The study is not complete and the USPS is taking public comment until March 30, 2024.