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Mailboxes left wide open at NW Bend apartments leave voters concerned

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With the presidential election just a few weeks away, many Central Oregonians are waiting for their mail-in ballots.

Residents of an apartment complex in northwest Bend were afraid they might have lost their ballots before they even got a chance to cast their vote.

The problem?

Their mail carrier left the entire complex's mailboxes wide open on Thursday.

NewsChannel 21 asked resident Brandon Ham how long he believe the mailboxes were left this way.

"Mail at the latest is usually here by 5 p.m., and it was 8 p.m., so probably (they were open) three hours, if not more," Ham said.

One of Ham's neighbors, Mary O'Laughlin, said a few weeks ago, she was informed that her mail carrier would be training new U.S. Postal Service employees.

After witnessing the mailboxes left wide open, she reached out to the Postal Service for answers.

O'Laughlin said was eventually put in contact with a Bend USPS employee, who she said urged her to "keep it local."

Oregon has been conducting its elections exclusively by mail for over 20 years, so this is nothing new for the Postal Service.

We looked into what other factors could cause issues.

Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson told us letter-type mail has fallen off since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new hires are common this time of year.

"We have done some hiring," Swanson said. "That's in part to get ready for the typical annual holidays, year-end peak season, and those people are all going through training, so they'll be ready to hit the street here soon."

Swanson said the majority of new hires work in processing centers, but any new mail carrier leaving mailboxes open on the street will not be tolerated.

Swanson stressed that the Postal Service's No. 1 priority between now and the election is the secure and timely delivery of the nation's mail.

To our knowledge, no mail was stolen from the incident.

In an official statement to NewsChannel 21, the U.S. Postal Service said, "Extraordinary measures beyond the normal course of operations is authorized between October 24th and November 26th to accelerate the delivery of ballots."

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Election / Government-politics / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



    1. I agree with deleting the spam posting.
      And you’re right, that story is garbage. cnn finally “breaks” a days old story, only to ignore the story.

      1. Who’s “they”? Largescale scandal isn’t and hasn’t happened. I do know that the P.O. has been using temporary employees, at least in DRW. One of them screwed up some checks a friend was expecting….although they did eventually arrive.

  1. The post office problem is nothing new. We have locked mailboxes on our street and more than one occasion I have found the postal carrier side of the boxes wide open. Delivered the neighbor his rent check recently which came to me. Often get others mail and they often get mine. Post office refuses to deliver to my house as it is 100 yards past the half mile line from the boxes. Never an issue in the past. Then I often get the notification from Amazon could not deliver package in my mailbox due to an unknown problem only to find it in my box the next day. It goes on and on. Don’t know if this is because of less staffing and higher work load but I do know our carriers are not what they used to be.

    1. Notice next time, all they really say is “no widespread evidence of fraud”.
      Like that matters to voters who are the victims of “widespread incompetence”.

      1. I’ve read here in the KTVZ comments that NW Bend is overrun by liberals from California, so I’m not surprised that this sort of thing is happening while Trump controls the USPS.

          1. Trump appoints the Postmaster General. I wonder if there’s a lot of “training” happening in places with higher concentrations of likely Democratic voters. It’s at least as likely as the conspiracy theories the konservstive KTVZ kommentators generate on a regular basis.

  2. The broadcast footage proves everything!
    I saw the person inside the Dropbox.
    The fabled “Gnomes of Zürich” inside the ballot drop boxes. Going through our security envelopes probably & definitely changing all the “YES” for the new taxes to “NO”
    I call DO- OVER

  3. Incompetent at best! Our ballots should not be entrusted to the USPS! I am constantly receiving mail in my box that is for a neighboring homeowner. They can’t even deliver on a regular schedule. And it’s rare that the same carrier delivers to our neighborhood for more than a month or two. Never on a timely basis. Millions of ballots? Nope! I don’t think so Slow Joe!

    1. Same story here. Today I had mail from 3 other addresses in my neighborhood. My ballot was there but not so for my wife. I’m assuming someone else has her ballot now.. so let’s keep baling out failed, archaic USPS 😤

    2. Would you rather the delivery happen using a private company owned by a president’s buddy?
      BTW, we get misdelivered often as well. But we get tons of mail these days….not just a water bill and a letter from grandma like it used to be. Stop squawking.

  4. The Hunter Biden thing is going to be a big backfire thing for followers of the current occupant and his re-election prospects. This is the Russians, Giuliani and desperation. I love how his followers always frame their pathetic selves as the victims when they are the perpetrators and accomplices of all of these fake narratives. I guess it’s all they have. We should have pity, if not for the danger they bring to our democracy

    1. These rump kissers of the most corrupt, lying criminal excuse for a president in US history convince me out schools have failed us. Then I remember, these “fine people” flunked the first grade.

  5. It’s probably the same cigarette smoking scumbag letter carrier from Deschutes River Woods who always “misplaces” peoples valueable and important mail.

  6. Just remember, While the USPS works hard to get the ballots out and back to be counted . . . The Postal Carriers Union has endorsed Biden. Now I’m not saying they would do anything to sabotage the election . . . but think about it. I’m also not saying the carriers will do something . . . but contractors have been caught recently dumping mail in numerous parts of the country.

  7. Trump isn’t going to lose because of voter fraud or any of your other conspiracies, he’s going to lose because he’s a terrible President and a large majority of Americans are going to sweep him and the rest of the corrupt repubs out of office.

  8. I just drove Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico & Texas. It was amazing to see Trump signs everywhere especially on the hard working farmlands. Only Park City. Utah was the only Biden city, a bunch of lazy folks there. Love all the Trump 2020 signs. Vote Trump to save unborn babies, they are killing babies up to 9 months now. Also, save this country from becoming Venezuela. Please send all the liberals to Venezuela and leave them there to see how they like it.

    1. Hard working farmlands that mostly rely on government handouts, amiright? Talk about a group of people that have miles between how they see themselves and reality!

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