Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

ZIP code ripped

June 21, 2007

Three numbers drew the ire of Arboga residents in a ZIP code dispute, but a name change could help make the transition a little easier.

A 90-minute meeting Tuesday night with postal service representative on the front lawn of the Arboga Community Center drew about 80 people to discuss moving the town’s ZIP code from 95901 to 95961.

ZIP code boundaries in the area were redrawn by the post office because growth in the area caused one of the codes to run out of plus-four codes, said Distribution Manager Dale Robbins. Those four numbers give a more precise location for mail to be delivered.

The new lines shifted Arboga residents from the Marysville post office to the Olivehurst post office. This angered those who didn’t like the new name’s image and left them worried about their mail delivery.

“We don’t want Olivehurst,” many people said, complaining they would be associated with a town that has a higher crime rate, which they argued would affect property values.

Two appraisers reassured residents that their property values wouldn’t be affected, but residents were still concerned.

“You’ve got a bunch of unhappy people who won’t change their minds,” said Richard Webb, 76.

Also of concern was the actual delivery of mail. Residents complained that in recent weeks the mail has been delivered roughly two hours later than usual.

With a new ZIP code, they wondered if there was a chance their mail might get lost in the shuffle.

“If I can’t get these checks, I can’t pay my bills,” resident Dwaine Jones said about his military payments.

Those fears were settled somewhat by Olivehurst Postmaster Cheri Smith, who said that by the official changeover on July 1, she will have control over their mail and will personally make sure service is as smooth as possible.

Underlying the meeting was tension about changing something residents wrote in their return address for decades and the fact the post office made such a significant change without talking to the community during the two-year process of redrawing the lines.

However, there was a little hope in the end. After a brief brainstorming session, community members saw an opening to start a petition that would change the Olivehurst post office’s name to either Plumas-Arboga or simply Plumas Lake.

Neither Robbins or Smith would comment on how much time it would take for a name change to take place, but were happy that something productive came out of the meeting.

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