KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two East Tennessee communities are experiencing problems receiving their mail due to issues at the U.S. Postal Service that have plagued the region before.
We have been reporting mail delivery issues for more than a year, first in Blount County, then in Loudon and Monroe Counties. Now, people in Knox and Anderson Counties say they’re seeing issues as well. Residents shared that they are seeing a slowdown of mail delivery in a west Knoxville neighborhood and an east Oak Ridge neighborhood. Coincidently, in both locations, the delay in delivery started around the same time, in mid-February.
When Al Johnson goes to his mailbox at the end of the day, the delivery has been sporadic over the last month. So, he went to the Jackson Square post office in Oak Ridge where he talked with a supervisor.
“I asked a couple of questions like why do we not get mail but two or three days a week? I got nothing but – you need patience,” said Johnson.
About 15 miles from Oak Ridge, Gae Stooksbury is having the same issue with postal delivery in her West Knoxville neighborhood.
“This is the mail I got today, a catalog and advertisements. We haven’t had mail in three weeks,” said Stooksbury.
Stooksbury said she also went to her local post office and talked with the supervisor.
“He told me the same thing that he told some of my other neighbors, we don’t have anybody to run this route,” said Stooksbury.
She has lived in Knoxville for 20 years and said she’s never experienced anything like this before.
“We’ve never had any mail problems. We got mail every day,” said Stooksbury.
Johnson has kept a record of when mail was delivered to his home over the last month.
“On February 15th, we got mail. The next mail delivery was February 26th, that was on a Sunday evening,” said Johnson. “On the 8th of March, I called an 800 number. Amazingly, the next day we had mail delivered twice. In the afternoon and the evening. I had a stack that high, two late bills. On March 14th, we got two deliveries of mail again.”
Johnson said the delay in receiving mail seems to be chronic in several east Oak Ridge neighborhoods.
“Everyone on this avenue and all the side streets have had the same delivery. California Avenue, which is just over from here, same type of delivery,” said Johnson.
In Maryville, last January Jeff Jenkins told us a similar story about long delays in his mail service. Jessica Eubanks told us the same story, she would go weeks without mail delivery. Both of them said they would see postal carriers delivering Amazon packages, but not first-class mail. Johnson said the same thing about his Oak Ridge neighborhood.
“We have postal trucks coming up through here every day, with Amazon boxes,” said Johnson. “Not my mail. If we could get Amazon to deliver my bills, I’d get them every day.”
The US Postal Service responded to our inquiry by saying, “the Postal Service always strives to provide the best possible service. The Postmasters in both Knoxville and in Oak Ridge are focused on continually improving service.” The message went on “like so many other businesses, the Postal Service is experiencing periodic staffing challenges, including in these locations.”
The postal service also told WATE, that it “appreciates the patience of its customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change daily.” The spokesperson said if customers have concerns or questions about their mail delivery service, they are urged to contact their local post office so that any “delays can be investigated and resolved promptly.” You can also a note to the post office on its website, usps.com/help.
“I appreciate you coming today. Thank you for caring about people in Oak Ridge. I’ve had some people thank me. I don’t like to do something like this. I have never done it in my life. But I am worried about people here in this part of Oak Ridge. We just want our mail delivered so we can live a normal life,” said Johnson.