Tempers flare at USPS meeting in Stateline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tempers flare at USPS meeting in Stateline

Griffin Rogers
Belinda Olson, district manager for the U.S. Postal Service's Nevada-Sierra District, talks to about 75 residents in November regarding issues facing the post office in Stateline.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

STATELINE, Nev. — A man standing in the crowd of a hostile U.S. Postal Service meeting in Stateline, Nev., on Wednesday perhaps described the scene best when referring to it as “chaos.”

Tempers flared at the meeting with several residents shouting over each other and not giving USPS District Manager Belinda Olson enough time to fully answer a question before the next cry of disapproval was heard.

“There is a problem here, and it’s not with us,” yelled one lady in the audience.

With little information given to them prior to the meeting, most people in attendance seemed to think the meeting was about the highly rumored closure of the Stateline post office. After all, the post office was under threat of closure just a few years ago, when previous meetings on that exact issue were held.

However, Olson tried several times to assure the crowd of about 75 people that the post office is not closing, despite what some of the public may think.

“This is not a meeting to close anything,” she said. “This is a meeting to open a conversation.”

Olson explained that the Stateline post office faces a number of challenges. The 36-year-year old facility needs extensive improvements, including work to its roof and parking lot.

Many of the facility’s issues were already dealt with before last winter, but several more need the Postal Service’s attention — and soon, she said.

“This is one thing I do know, that I’m very concerned with the facility going through the winter. I am,” Olson said.

The Stateline post office is also sitting in an area of concern to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, she said, which has reportedly told the Postal Service that drainage from two neighboring properties is flowing onto the mail organization’s land.

Because of these growing issues, Olson said she called a meeting to figure out the most cost-effective strategy for fixing the problems moving forward.

Whether that means moving the post office into a nearby building in Stateline or contracting through another business, she doesn’t exactly know yet. But she did want to hear suggestions from the community in order to find a solution that works for both the Postal Service and local residents, she said.

About 2,200 customers are currently served through the Stateline post office. Only a few employees are on staff, however, which also led to some complaints at Wednesday’s meeting.

Olson said the Postal Service has posted job openings for the Stateline location, but nobody wants them.

“They don’t want the jobs because they can’t afford housing up here,” she said. “They won’t take our jobs.”

One staff member — the former postmaster for the facility — was to blame for another point of contention Wednesday, she said, which was that most people learned of the meeting through a recently posted hand-written note on the facility’s doors.

Many people in the audience questioned why better notice wasn’t given, to which Olson replied that the employee was told to do so, but never followed through.

Despite the disorder, Olson did say she was able to walk away from the meeting with some helpful suggestions.

Among other things, she learned more about the TRPA, and at least a couple people suggested taking a look at the recently available Bank of America building on Kingsbury as a possible relocation site for the post office.

Several people in the audience also suggested scheduling another meeting so the public has a better chance of attending. No meeting has been scheduled at this time, but Olson expressed that it is a possibility.

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