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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
For Immediate Release
Walden Encourages Use of Fax, Email to Speed Communication with Washington, D.C. Office
Alternate mail options encouraged due to slow pace of new security measures following ricin attacks; mail delivery to be "measured in weeks, not days"
WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) is encouraging Oregonians who send mail to his Washington, D.C. office to instead use fax or email to communicate with him whenever possible. Walden’s request comes in response to new security procedures for screening mail that will significantly delay the delivery of letters and packages sent to the U.S. Capitol complex. Congressional offices received mail containing the deadly substance anthrax in the fall of 2002, and a small amount of the poison ricin was discovered in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) on February 2.
"Receiving letters, emails and faxes from the people of the Second District is a tremendously important way for me to learn about the issues that are most important to Oregonians, and I want to make sure that every message that is sent to me reaches its destination," said Walden. "As long as these new security measures are in place, I’m encouraging the use of email and fax rather than regular U.S. mail. While this new process gets sorted out, the mail that has been sent in recent weeks will likely take many weeks to reach me. I appreciate the public’s patience during this time, and I continue to place a high priority on replying to mail from Oregonians."
Due to the suspension of mail delivery over the past two weeks, a backlog of more than 600,000 pieces of mail and packages has accumulated. This mail will undergo a new screening process before new mail deliveries are processed. From this point forward, all mail to congressional offices that is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, as well as national carriers like UPS and FedEx, will go through a four-step security process before being delivered. Each piece of mail will be irradiated, tested for contaminants, opened and searched, and then placed in quarantine until test results show no sign of a potential hazard. According to a memo circulated to House members last week, for the next several months mail delivery will, "continue to be very slow and measured in weeks, not days."
Walden’s Washington, D.C. fax number is (202) 225-5774. Oregonians wishing to email Walden can visit his official web site at www.walden.house.gov and click on the "Contact Me" link to send an email. A short form must be filled out to verify that the sender has an Oregon mailing address before the email will be delivered. Web site visitors can also fill out an online survey to register the issues that are most important to them.
Congressman Walden represents the Second District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon. He is a Deputy Whip and a member of both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Resources.
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