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Tulsa mail processing will move to Oklahoma City

USPS mailboxes are seen in downtown Tulsa.
Max Bryan
USPS mailboxes are seen in downtown Tulsa.

After months of public feedback, the United States Postal Service is moving some functions of Tulsa’s Mail Processing and Distribution Center to Oklahoma City.

USPS will move outgoing mail operations from the Tulsa facility to its corresponding facility in OKC while still processing incoming mail.

A news release says the move is part of a $22.5 million effort to convert the Tulsa facility into a local processing center, which USPS officials say “will result in expanded and streamlined package and mail processing and distribution capabilities for the facility.”

The news release also says it will be located alongside a sorting and delivery center, which the postal service said will lead to “faster and more reliable mail and package delivery over a greater geographical area.”

The OKC move aligns with plans communicated to the public. But those plans were heavily opposed by USPS workers and public officials who said it would impact postal workers and delivery times to rural northeastern Oklahoma. USPS collected public comment through mid-March on the proposed move.

“I wonder if they really cared what we thought about the move,” said Tulsa County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Karen Keith.

The plans to move functions were opposed by:

  • Tulsa City Council
  • Tulsa County Board of Commissioners
  • Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
  • U.S. Senators James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin
  • U.S. representatives Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, Stephanie Bice and Kevin Hern

In an April 15 U.S. Senate hearing, Lankford questioned Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over consolidation moves in places like Atlanta, which came under fire at the same hearing. Lankford specifically brought up proposed moves in Oklahoma when voicing his concern.

“I know you’ve said over and over again, ‘Give us a little bit more time, the service will get better on it.’ What do you anticipate?” Lankford said.

“We have opened up other (regional processing and distribution centers) that have not been as consequential,” DeJoy said, adding that he expects the Atlanta center to stabilize.

The news release says career USPS workers will not be laid off, and the money associated with the announcement will be used for “modernization and maintenance” of the building, including upgrading mail sorting.

“For example, these funds will be used for new workplace amenities for Postal Service employees such as new lighting and renovated bathrooms and breakrooms,” the release states.

USPS workers who spoke at Tulsa City Hall in early April were concerned about who would be laid off, and said the proposed amenities were decades overdue.

The investment and processing move is part of USPS’ 10-year Delivering for America plan “to modernize the nation’s aging postal network.”

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.