Vandalism at Dillon post office has led to restricted hours, frustrated customers
Postal official says vandal broke sliding door dividing retail section from lobby, leading to building closure.
The Dillon post office has restricted its lobby hours after recent acts of vandalism, prompting frustration from some residents who have arrived to pick up packages or check their mailboxes only to find the building closed.
In interviews, residents expressed concerns about a lack of communication from the post office about the new hours, the length of lines to pick up packages during the busy holiday season and people’s ability to access bills or prescriptions that come in the mail.
The current lobby and retail hours for the postal building at 500 Lake Dillon Drive are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to an email from David Rupert, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service. On Saturdays, the lobby and retail areas will be open from 10 a.m. to noon., Rupert said.
The building has also been closed from about 12:30 to 2 p.m. for lunch some days, according to reports from residents and a sign on the door Wednesday morning, Dec. 28. As of Thursday evening, Rupert could not confirm whether the building will be closed regularly during those lunch hours.
Damage to the sliding divider between the lobby and retail services has meant that the lobby can’t remain open when staff are not in the building, leading to the restriction in hours, he said in the Thursday email.
At first, post office officials thought the sliding divider could be repaired, Rupert said, but they have since learned that the office will have to order another door. He said it could take another two to four weeks for the new door to arrive.
“We continue to press for faster production and delivery of this door knowing the impact it has on our customers,” Rupert said in the email. “This is a terrible inconvenience at the busiest time of year for our customers, and we’re deeply apologetic.”
Rupert said that there should be a sign at the post office indicating its restricted hours and that is being worked on immediately. As of Wednesday morning, when a Summit Daily reporter stopped at the building, there was no such signage.
Around Dec. 14, parts of the lobby were defaced and spray painted, the exterior doors to the building were damaged and the sliding divider separating the lobby from the retail services was broken, a Postal Service spokesperson previously said.
The spokesperson at the time said the incident was being investigated as a break-in due to the amount of damage, but Rupert said the Postal Service now believes it was just extensive vandalism.
On Wednesday morning, more than a dozen people waited in line to pick up packages. One man had brought a folding chair with him so he could sit while he waited.
“Coming here, you have to be willing to spend at least an hour,” said Marin Oschmann, who had come to pick up a package and send a Christmas gift.
Oschmann said she’s had the slip to pick up her package since Dec. 22 and had tried a couple of times to pick it up before, but this was her first success.
“I think it’s just kind of what you get in a mountain town,” she said.
But Gaylyn Meyers, who was also in line to pick up a package, said, “Why can’t they get mail delivered to our houses?”
Valerie Thisted agreed: “It’s really sad. We all pay taxes, but the services we get, there’s such a disparity.”
Though Meyers said she knew the long wait times and vandalism resulting in closures wasn’t the fault of post office staff, she expressed frustration with the fact that there were no signs indicating when the lobby can and can’t be accessed.
Tara Birmingham said she keeps getting yellow slips in her P.O. box, so she keeps having to wait in line. She described long waits, from 45 minutes to over an hour.
And another woman waiting to pick up a package, Amy Boutwell, said, “It gets worse every year, I feel like.”
Rupert said staffing-wise the Dillon post office is currently about five clerks short but has received help from the surrounding area and Denver metro area. The damage to the exterior doors has meant chains had to be used to keep the doors shut, he said, but repairs to those doors were made Wednesday.
In a phone interview, Joel Schwartzman, a local rabbi, also expressed frustration at the lack of communication from the post office about their changed hours. Schwartzman, a military veteran, said many veterans like himself are required to get their prescription medications through the mail.
While the change in hours has not impacted his access to prescription medications, he said he worries that others could be affected. But whether customers are trying to pick up their meds or just receive holiday mail, the Dillon post office has been hard for everyone to access these past few weeks, he said.
“They ruined the holiday for a lot of people up here,” Schwartzman said. “I don’t know why. But they did, and that’s sad.”
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