Community will voice opinions to Postal Service reps at a meeting July 29

by: OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Brides come from London, Thailand and all over the world to have their wedding announcements postmarked at the tiny Bridal Veil Post Office.  The Bridal Veil Post Office — an icon of the Columbia River Gorge — may shorten its hours of operation as the U.S. Postal Service looks for ways to save money.

A community meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 29, to discuss the future of the Bridal Veil Post Office — one of the smallest free-standing post offices in the United States.

The 6 p.m. meeting will held at the Franciscan Sister home in Bridal Veil.

Peter Hass, spokesman for the Postal Service, said the agency is proposing to cut the number of retail hours the office is open from six hours a day to four.

“It is not being proposed to be closed,” Hass said.

The meeting notice has caused concern for locals, including Bridal Veil’s sole postmaster, who have long fought to keep the 100-square foot post office open.

The tiny building, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012, is special not only to residents in the small Columbia Gorge town, but also to brides from all over the world who bring their wedding invitations to get the Bridal Veil postmark from Geri Canzler, the postmaster and the only employee.

Canzler said the support of brides and the local community has helped keep the post office open for as long as it has.

But each time the economy goes a little slack, the Postal Service looks for ways to consolidate, and smaller, unincorporated post offices are usually the first to receive scrutiny.

Canzler said that while the community’s input will be heard at the meeting, there will likely be no choice but to accept the shortened hours.

“Either you do the four hours or close the post office,” she said.

She would prefer a compromise.

“If we can figure out how to make a compromise, then there will be a choice,” Canzler said.

To increase efficiency, Hass said the Postal Service, which does not receive tax dollars, has been reviewing facilities around the country for the past several years.

“In reviewing this one, it was determined a four hour per day level would work,” he said.

Bridal Veil Post Office is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The proposal to cut hours back is based on the amount of traffic the facility receives, revenue gains and how much it is used by the community, Hass said.

“We do meet with the community and get their input, prior to making that change,” he said.

Surveys were also distributed to customers in Bridal Veil and have been asked to be returned by July 15, so USPS can provide a summary of responses at the community meeting.

Hass said surveys will also be accepted at the meeting.

Representatives will be at the meeting, Hass said to “take community input” on which hours of operation will work best for the customers who live in the area.

He said customers have a choice of moving to the four-hour day, or they can choose to have mail box delivery, or use an alternative location, such as a nearby business or other post office.

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