A spokesman for the United States Postal Service confirmed that the agency has removed four blue boxes from Portland, and 27 from Eugene this week. The USPS plans to remove a few more boxes from Portland next week.
"The reason we're doing it is because of declining mail volume," USPS spokesman Ernie Swanson told WW. "Ever since the pandemic came along, people are mailing less for some reason."
Earlier today, a photo surfaced on social media that depicted a person lifting multiple USPS boxes into a truck in Northeast Portland, sparking concern among residents.
Swanson said USPS is only removing mailboxes where there were already multiple boxes stationed next to each other. USPS has not removed any mailboxes in locations where there was only one, Swanson said.
"In locations where we have more than one box sitting in the same spot side by side, we leave one behind," Swanson said.
Swanson said the directive came from USPS headquarters about a week ago and that boxes are probably being removed nationwide.
The removal of mailboxes arrives amid a change in leadership at the USPS that many postal workers contend is intended to sabotage the agency during an election year. Portland postal workers warned earlier this month that voters should be wary of using the mail to deliver their ballots in the final week of the August special election.
Earlier today, President Donald Trump said he is intentionally undermining the USPS to make it more difficult to vote by mail, causing concern among Americans as the November election approaches. Many citizens are planning to vote by mail to avoid venturing into crowded polling areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.