You’ve still got mail!

Postal Service will keep coming to rural area near Monroe


Herald Writer

MONROE — It looks like Sandy Delvecchio will continue to get her mail after all.

Delvecchio was expecting to see an empty mailbox at the end of her gravel road last week.

But after several attempts to negotiate for some road maintenance with the company logging in the area, a truck full of gravel arrived Wednesday.

Delvecchio experienced what many people discover when they move into the woods, away from public roads and services.

"Living in the country has its advantages," she said. "But this isn’t one of them."

For the second time in 18 months, the U.S. Postal Service had informed Delvecchio and 16 other residents that their mail delivery will stop at the end of the week.

The post office said it could no longer take its trucks up her road because it was in such bad shape.

"It’s understandable," she said. "I can barely get my car up and down the road. But we just can’t afford to keep fixing the road and having it get all torn apart over and over and over."

Delvecchio lives about a quarter-mile beyond Cedar Ponds Road, a paved road maintained by Snohomish County. The mailboxes sit near the turnoff to her driveway.

The area beyond the homes is forested. Logging trucks use the road to haul timber. Property records show that Citifor, a Chinese company, has the rights to log the area, and Miller Shingle, a Granite Falls company, contracts to do the work.

Delvecchio, who has lived there since 1990, said she and her neighbors have kept up the road. In the spring of 1999 they encountered their first problem with mail delivery.

"That spring, someone began logging in the forest beyond our houses," she said. "After making a lot of calls, I found the companies and went to them for help."

As they have this time, Miller Shingle agreed in 1999 to buy a load of gravel if the residents would do the work to repair the road.

Leo Smith, county road maintenance supervisor, said he often gets calls about similar situations.

"If it’s a county road, we can help," he said. "But if it’s a private road, it’s up to the landowners to maintain it."

In most cases, if the road is used by trucks, landowners meet with officials of the companies using the road and negotiate a maintenance agreement that spells out who will do what.

"If it is a private road, the landowners have the right to say who can and can’t use it," Smith said. "In most cases there are agreements for maintenance of the roads at the time that the companies work out the deal to buy the logging rights.

"In this case, it looks like something was overlooked or is not being paid attention to."

Fred Johnson, spokesman for Miller Shingle, said the company is willing to do its part as long as the landowners do theirs. He questioned whether routine maintenance is really getting done.

"We’re only going to be in there for another month or so," Johnson said. "We’re going to help with the road. But it’s going to need more maintenance in the future and that’s going to be their (the landowners’) responsibility."

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