‘It is a huge problem’: Vashon residents report USPS delivery issues, thefts

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On Vashon Island, some residents say they are dealing with a mail delivery crisis. They say that staffing shortages are having a damaging domino effect.

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. — On Vashon Island, some residents are dealing with a mail delivery crisis. 

Staffing shortages are having a damaging domino effect, and residents worry that it will only get worse as the Christmas holiday approaches, they said.

Toby Nichols, an 11-year Vashon resident, said the way packages are being delivered is part of the problem. Everyday he makes the five-minute walk from his house down the driveway to his mailbox. He said a year ago, packages used to be delivered to his doorstep. Now the packages are left on top of the mailbox along a busy road, a quarter of a mile from his house.

Nichols said those deliveries are becoming more of a target.

“We had that one package that my wife ordered. We never saw the box. Somebody helped themselves to it,” Nichols said.

Nichols heard from neighbors who have dealt with package thefts too. He began documenting deliveries that didn’t look right to him.

“It is sort of a photo montage of what I call post office fails,” he said.

He has taken pictures of packages, some labeled fragile, left along the street or piled high.

“Here is some prescription medicine stuffed in my newspaper tube,” Nichols said, pointing to one of the photos.

Nichols said he has taken his concerns to his local post office at least a half dozen times, and he is not the only one.

“These guys are carrying a load that is not even expected of other places,” said Mary Marin, a Vashon resident.

Marin said on Vashon, postal workers deliver Amazon packages too.

Rebecca Davies, a long-time resident, said a lot is being asked of the postal workers.

“They are overwhelmed with Amazon packages. We have heard that several times from the employees. It is too much mail for them to deliver,” said Davies.

“The responsibility is not at the postmaster position. It is above the postmaster. Systemically what’s going on, it is a huge issue for us,” Marin added.

In a statement, a USPS spokesperson acknowledged that they are dealing with a staffing shortage and are working to hire more employees.

“The good news is we have two new employees who are currently in the pipeline and who are in the orientation and background process that we hope will help the operation. We have several more openings and we will continue to recruit and hire into these jobs. To meet the unique challenges on Vashon, we are shuttling temporary employees from the Seattle area who work around the ferry schedule,” a statement reads. “We appreciate the understanding and the patience of our customers, and we will continue to work toward permanent, long-term solutions to stabilize our service.”

Nichols sees postal workers doing the best they can, but he said leaving packages piled on mailboxes or along busy streets is creating problems.

“The post office shouldn’t be a part of that. They should not deliver packages on the road a quarter mile from your house and expect everything to be fine because it is not fine,” Nichols said.

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‘It is a huge problem’: Vashon residents report USPS delivery issues, thefts

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