The Kenwood Press
News: 04/01/2018

Changes at Kenwood P.O.

If you get mail at the Kenwood Post Office you’ve probably noticed that the lobby has a new bank of large lockers. They are part of a revamping of how packages are going to be delivered from now on, allowing box holders to retrieve their packages and other large items without having to wait for the main office to be open.

A locker key in your box is your package notice. When you open the locker, the key will stay in it – you can’t pull it out.

You will still have to wait for regular office hours to retrieve packages that require a signature. Look for the yellow card in your P.O. box.

Dorothy “Dot” Henderson is now the permanent Postmaster for both the Kenwood and Glen Ellen post offices, at least until she retires in three years. An old hand in Sonoma Valley, Henderson brings a wealth of knowledge about the area that will be welcomed, although it will take time to learn a lot of new faces and names in Kenwood. She will split her time between the two offices in an as-yet-to-be-determined schedule.

One of the big changes impacting longtime residents is the turnover of the entire USPS staff last year, leaving no “institutional” memory. Locals came to rely on the fact that Michael or Angelo or Maria would just know a person’s box number, and put a mis-addressed letter in the right P.O. box without further fuss. That’s not how it’s going to work going forward, as the USPS has been developing smarter address-reading machines that require a different form to work right.

Letter mail arrives pre-sorted in numerical order by P.O. box number, Henderson said, often over 5,000 pieces a day, in addition to several hundred packages.

“Customers can no longer rely on the knowledge of local clerks and carriers to deliver a piece of mail that is incorrectly addressed,” Henderson wrote in a memo she gave the Kenwood Press last month.

The key to getting mail on time is getting the address right in the first place. For letters and flat mail, always use your P.O. Box, not your street address.

For packages, there are two guidelines. In general, always default to the two-line dual address:

John Smith
123 Main Street
P.O. Box 222
Kenwood, CA 95452

However, when a shipper says it does not deliver to P.O. boxes, put the street and box number all on one line:

John Smith
123 Main Street POB 222
Kenwood, CA 95452

And be sure to use “POB” and not “P.O. Box.”

In either case, the package will end up at the Post Office and you will get a key to a locker with your package inside.

Henderson wrote, “We would like to express our gratitude to the 75 percent of P.O. box holders who have worked with the Postmaster and staff, and have begun to utilize the correct mailing address. Due to your efforts, the amount of mail entering Kenwood Post Office that requires additional handling has been significantly reduced, thus helping us improve our service to you.”