Postal Updates

Town fights USPS over stamplike mosaic design

Apr 27, 2021, 3 PM

The Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade.

Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamplike mosaic.

But USPS officials have said no to the Tieton Stamp Mosaic Project.

Residents have raised $46,745 for the project which is close to its $48,000 cost.

Unswayed by the initial rejection, there is talk of appealing the project to Tom Samra, the Postal Service’s vice president for facilities at postal headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Backers of the project say their design composed of 41,500 pieces of hand-cut glass tile will “transform this simple building … into a glorious, beautifully crafted mosaic postage stamp celebrating the town, the United States Postal Service, the fruit grown here, the surrounding landscape and the spirit of hope and optimism of an audacious idea beautifully executed.”

And why not? the project website says.

The inspiration for the design are those “classic engraved stamps from the first part of the 20th Century,” the website says.

Those stamps “are miracles of graphic design,” says the Tieton Stamp Mosaic Project. “This style and spirit is appropriate here as small rural towns work to envision a relevant future.”

The project was rejected in a letter dated July 15, according to the Yakima Herald.

According to an e-mail from Ernie Swanson, a Seattle spokesman for the Postal Service, the agency “sincerely appreciates” the efforts to create a new facade for the post office.

“However, at this time USPS is not interested in pursuing the project,” he wrote.

In late July, boosters of the project to put a title mosaic on the post office in Tieton, Washington, gave up on their project, the Yakima Herald reported.

“We are pulling the plug on the project,” Ed Marquand, founder of the Mighty Tieton coalition, told the newspaper.

Tom Samra, U.S. Postal Service vice president for facilities, told the townsfolk that if he approved the Tieton project, dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of other towns might want to redesign their post offices.

USPS spokesman Swanson said the local postmaster did not have authority to authorize the project.

“In general, the U.S. Postal Service does not accept gifts of art or sculpture for our facilities,” he said.