Popularity of postal boxes proves potent

Anyone interested in obtaining a Post Office box in the city of Ashland can expect to wait up six weeks, according to the Ashland branch of the United States Postal Service.

With 1,268 post office boxes in use at the Ashland Post Office and a four- to six-week waiting list for an open slot, former Postmaster Tim Ross said customers are encouraged to sign up to the list as soon as possible or use Contract Postal Units at Rite Aid.

Ross said he doesn't believe the wait list for postal boxes is an issue because many larger Post Offices have extended wait lists over a period of time. Medford, although a larger city than Ashland, has four Post Offices, Ross said. The public has not complained, Ross said, but remembers a time last year when the postal boxes at the Ashland Rite-Aid location were to be removed and placed elsewhere. At that time, there were complaints and the Ashland Postal Service, and new Postmaster Becky Robson has since made strides to ease the wait for a postal box by introducing turntable post office boxes, that if approved, will be in place at the Ashland Post office by Fall.

Robson took office as postmaster July 29 and comes to the Ashland Post Office from the Grants Pass branch. Former Postmaster Ross will take her position as Customer Service manager at the Grants Pass Postal Service branch.

Patrons utilizing post office boxes and contract postal boxes do so for reasons ranging from routine to security concerns. Several customers at the Rite-Aid Postal Unit complained of mail theft in areas of Ashland, including 68-year-old Ashland resident, Anthony Palazzola. Palazzola believes that postal office boxes keep his mail safe from theft he otherwise might encounter in the neighborhood where he lives.

Palazzola said he has had social security checks as well as valuable pieces of mail stolen straight from his Ashland residence.

"All my mail comes here now," referring to the Ashland Rite-Aid, located on 234 Ashland St.

Louchere Brown believes that Post Office boxes reduces the hassle that moving brings and said she uses the boxes, "because if I move, I don't have to change my address."

David Shearin said he's, "really glad they kept the Rite Aid Postal Boxes," and uses them for security.

"I don't trust my mail box," Shearin said.

There are 536 Contract Postal boxes in use at the Ashland Rite-Aid location serving people in and around, according to the Postal Shift Supervisor Lola Zinn, who operates the counter and services all postal boxes daily.

The box is similar to the Post Office box at the Ashland Postal Service and mail arrives at the same time at around 10:30 a.m. Zinn also said Contract Postal Units are more readily available at the Rite Aid location than at the Ashland Post Office where there is a four- to six-week wait.

For those interested in having a Post Office box, Ross advises people to get on the wait list as soon as possible. Contact the Ashland branch of the United States Postal Service or Rite-Aid for Contract Postal Units which have only a four- to five-person waiting list at the moment, according to Rite Aid staff.

For more information about how to obtain a Post Office box at the Ashland branch of the Post office, call 552-1622. For a contract postal box at Rite Aid, contact staff at 482-7409. Those online can view the Post Office Web site at .

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