As many Eastmoreland neighbors noticed, between May 4 and May 17 a freestanding United States Postal Service (USPS) mail collection box, across the street from Reed College, was missing.
The concrete pad it was bolted to remained intact, facing their landmark Linden Allée on S.E. Reed College Place along Woodstock Boulevard. Thieves, likely using a battery-powered hacksaw, cut the mailbox loose at the "feet", and carted it off.
Noticing the missing postal receptacle, an alarmed Eastmoreland neighbor, who'd dropped off her Primary Election Ballot there, contacted Multnomah County Elections officials, who told her that the Postal Service was aware of the pilfered mailbox, and sent her a new ballot.
Not responding to reporters directly, but in a press release, the USPS stated,
"This theft happened after the mail had already been collected for the day. We have requested the involvement of the Postal Inspection Service in locating the missing box and any contents."
On May 17th Bryan, a USPS worker, arrived to install a replacement mailbox at the same intersection.
"You'd be surprised how often these get stolen," he commented to THE BEE. "We're out replacing boxes pretty much every day. See the beat-up-looking box in the back of the truck? It was stolen in Sacramento, California! — and was dumped off in Portland." Bryan seemed to consider theft of mailboxes to be routine, but the theft of this one made all the local TV newscasts — and we can't remember the last time the loss of one made the news around here, so such crimes may not be nearly as common around here as he believed.
At any rate, THE BEE was there as the worker proceeded with the job of drilling holes, and sinking 8-inch deep concrete anchors into the holes to secure the box's feet in place. After installing each fastener, he made sure that the box hadn't been warped in the process, by opening both the deposit and collection doors to make sure they moved without obstruction.
So, if you paid bills on May 4, and deposited envelopes in that postal box after 11:35 a.m. that day — that was before the mailbox was stolen, but after the posted letters inside were collected by the USPS — you might want to make sure your creditors did receive your payment.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.