COLORADO, USA — Mail delivery woes have been plaguing mountain towns so much that lawmakers are getting involved, and a lawsuit is being considered.
But, it's not just a mountain issue.
The problems in Summit County and other mountain communities were just the first to come to light. Mail customers in several areas of the Denver metro have been facing their own delays.
"For the last couple of month it's been sporadic," said Kenneth Hanson, who lives in west Aurora.
Lately, he hasn't been seeing the mailman as often as he'd like.
"I do my mailman a favor, I leave him candy when he does come. This candy's been in there since Monday," he said with a laugh.
Hanson has been waiting on some letters to arrive, but besides candy his post box has remained empty for the last four days.
"Two weeks ago my wife passed away and I've been expecting some legal documents in the mail and they haven't come yet," he said. "I just want to get that process over with and I can’t do it until I get the documents.”
So Thursday, he headed over to the post office to try and pick up his mail.
After waiting half an hour, Hanson said he was told by a supervisor they just don't have the manpower.
"She couldn't find out where my address was in the back so I just left," he said. "There was three people behind me that had the same problem and they were from different areas of town."
When the mail does come, Hanson said it's usually after dark — sometimes as late as 9 p.m.
"Dangerous to him and it's also dangerous to our community that mail is in the mail boxes and nobody knows it's there until the next day," he said.
Hanson's not the only one dealing with delays. There have been multiple reports across the Denver metro.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has also apologized to customers in Steamboat Springs and Silverthorne that haven't received mail for weeks.
Recently, four mail carriers from Colorado Springs were relocated to Buena Vista to help out there.
"I hope that they can solve their issues quickly and get their staffing up and let's get back to normal," said Hanson.
USPS blames the national labor shortage for the delays.
This week it held job two fairs looking to fill 600 positions across the state, half of them along the Front Range. USPS said 200 people showed up to the job fairs in Jefferson and Adams counties.
Hanson said he wishes he could help out.
"I'm pushing 80 years old and I'd love to work but I don't have that energy to do it anymore," he said.
USPS said if they are unable to deliver to a particular neighborhood due to short staffing, they try to make deliveries a priority for the next day.
"We would like to thank our customers for their understanding and patience as we continue to hire and deploy employees to serve our community," said James Boxrud, communications specialist for USPS. "We will continue using our available resources, maximizing our local personnel, and augmenting from other locations around the state to help with the workload."
Boxrud said they will gladly work to address specific issues from the community when it's brought to their attention.
Customers can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or go to usps.com and click on "Contact Us" at the bottom of the homepage. You can also ask for help on their Twitter account: @USPSHelp.
Potential applicants interested in one of the 600 open positions in Colorado can go to usps.com/careers. Additionally, the Denver General Mail facility (7500 E. 53rd Place, Denver, CO 80266) has personnel on site every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions and walk future employees through the application process.
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