Ozzie in Oregon

Mailboxes

Last updated:    January 12, 2008 (PST)

mailbox

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Where I come from

Over here

Oz postbox     Oz postbox US mailbox

Postboxes come in various shapes and sizes.  There is quite a lot of individuality, and they can look even more different in rural areas.

Mailboxes are all the same shape, approved by the US Postal Service (USPS).  They are often found on only one side of the road for quicker delivery. 

Oz postbox     Oz postbox US mailbox with flag up

Every house will have a postbox in front of it, and the postman (postie) delivers mail on a motorbike.  In the olden days (when I was a child), the postie rode a red "PMG" bicycle and would blow his whistle every time he made a delivery.

You can let the mailman know to pick up mail for delivery by putting up the flag on the side of the box. Special ridges on the bottom of the box help the letters stand up to make it easier for the mailman to grab them.

USPS mail delivery truck

The mailman drives a right-hand drive delivery truck called a Grumman LLV (Long Life Vehicle), which was specially designed for the USPS.  In older parts of the town, there are no roadside mailboxes and mail is delivered direct to the door. Many houses have a slot in the door for letters. This mail truck sits vacant while the mailman goes about his/her deliveries on foot.

US 'barn' mailbox with painting of pig

One of the rare non-standard mailboxes, at a farm west of Hillsboro. Steve had to chuck a Uey, er, "make a U-turn" so we could get this photo.

Newspaper boxes

US mailbox with newspaper delivery container

The yellow plastic container is for delivery of the major Portland newspaper "The Oregonian".  Occasionally it comes in a plastic bag with advertising on it (e.g. Macy's).  In Oz the paper would be wrapped in clear plastic and then thrown onto the nature strip or driveway. 

By the way, junk mail in Oz is delivered to the postbox by private contractors. Many people have a "no junk mail" sign on their boxes to avoid this. In Oregon, all mail delivered to the mailbox has to be personally addressed. So the junk mail is all in the newspaper, particularly the Sunday edition. The first time I saw the size of the paper over here, I gave up there and then any hope of trying to read it all!

Oh, and it is not as large as a broadsheet nor as small as a tabloid. When we went to Oz in June '07, Steve couldn't believe how big the paper was!

Ozzie in Oregon