Postal workers ‘bear down’ for historic Sunday mail

January 14

For the first time in Hood River County history, mail was delivered on Sunday.

Fourteen carriers delivered an unknown number of letters, bills and flyers on all routes in Hood River and The Dalles.

The historic Sunday delivery happened because all incoming mail had been held up for nearly a week with the closure of Portland International Airport and the off-on closure of Interstate 84 to Hood River.

“By not having delivery days we owe it to our customers to get them one,” said postmaster Kevin Branson.

The mail build-up in Hood River was “very horrible,” Branson said.

“Here in Hood River we were able and capable of driving around but there was nothing to deliver,” Branson said.

He said Sunday was “like a Monday in that volumes were heavier because Sunday is not a delivery day.”

Like a Monday, but with three truckloads to process instead of the usual one that arrives on Sunday to deal with the next day.

“Mail is still coming through, heavier than usual,” Branson said, adding that the crew worked hard to get it all ready to deliver.

“They bore down and went after it,” Branson said. “The employees were generally enthusiastic, because they knew it would help us later in week,” Branson said.

Branson brought in coffee and snacks, and set to work helping handle mail and going to the computer to coordinate logistics with The Dalles, where all mail to and from Hood River is routed.

Branson said his staff was also committed to getting mail distributed to post office box customers on Sunday.

“It was a very productive day,” Branson said. “It helped us get a jump on (Monday and Tuesday).

“The more we move the more emptier the building gets,” Branson said. “And that’s the way we all like it.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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