Mail delivery problems leave rural Colorado residents empty handed

The Steamboat Post Office pictured on January 31, 2023.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Hundreds of packages piled up this month behind a U.S. Postal Service counter where a lone clerk faced frustrated residents who hadn’t received mail for a week in the river town of Silt — the latest outbreak of problems intensifying in once-remote parts of Colorado.

A prom dress failed to reach Buena Vista in time, the misdelivery of glass enamels ordered from Canada stalled work for an artist, and scientists at a high-elevation biological lab above Crested Butte sought alternatives to the USPS for handling time-sensitive material.

From Steamboat Springs to Salida, western Colorado residents say they rely on the postal service as never before because Amazon and other delivery trucks often don’t deliver in mountain areas. It’s a matter of being included, residents say, as part of the global economy.

But the USPS is mired in debt topping $144 billion and administrators are cutting costs, which may include closing “rural” facilities, according to a GAO report this summer.

Meanwhile, shortages of mail carriers to deliver packages and post office clerks have plagued communities across western Colorado.

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