Post offices may be moving, closing - agency seeking written comments
EVERETT - The U.S. Postal Service intends to move its downtown post office and shutter its post office at Paine Field.
The timeframe for the changes is unclear. The announcement at last week’s Everett City Council meeting surprised city officials, who said the agency is not providing the public an adequate amount of public notice.
The agency wants to downsize its downtown post office to somewhere one-third its current size. The agency hopes to remain in the downtown core, Postal Service real estate spe cialist Angela Kuhl said at last week’s Everett City Council meeting.
To comment or appeal the decisions, the public has until March 1 to write letters to Kuhl at:
Angela S. Kuhl, Real Estate Specialist
U. S. Postal Service
7500 E. 53rd Place Room 1108
Denver, CO 80266-9918
The agency is moving its downtown location both because the Postal Service’s long term lease will go up in July and the current facility is much bigger than what the agency needs.
Right now the Postal Service has an underpriced lease deal for its 56,000 square foot post office at 3012 Hoyt Ave. The Postal Service only needs a 12,500 square foot space, Kuhl said.
“You will get a brand-new main post office,” Kuhl said.
The new site would be a full-service post office, Postal Service regional spokesman Ernie Swanson said.
Last week’s council meeting went anything but smoothly when Kuhl made the announcement. The Postal Service’s announcement wasn’t on the public agenda and only one resident spoke up about the changes.
Running up to the Jan. 29 meeting, the agency tried to take over the council meeting to hold its own public meeting on the closures, but city administrators did not allow it.
The council was left in the dark about the Postal Service’s arrival and the agency’s appearance simmered with council members.
The Jan. 29 meeting is the only public forum the Postal Service plans to hold on the changes because it “constitutes a public meeting” for Postal Service regulations, Kuhl said.
Post-meeting, she reaffirmed this stance to reporters.
Council President Jeff Moore sets the weekly agenda and he learned Kuhl would speak just three hours before the meeting. Moore and others told Kuhl the public wasn’t given adequate notice.
“This is not the appropriate forum for this,” Mayor Ray Stephanson said, adding he is not satisfied that the Postal Service held a true public forum.
Notices at both post office locations encouraging people to go to the council meeting were taped to the front door at least four days before the meeting.
The downtown post office has stood at Pacific and Hoyt avenues for decades, Everett postmaster Don Hatch said,
The agency plans to exercise its right to purchase the downtown building and then sell it, Kuhl said.
In 2011, the Postal Service largely shrunk operations at its mail processing facility on Hardeson Road and turned it into a hub for deploying Snohomish County mail. All local mail is now processed in Seattle.
The U.S. Postal Service “is facing the most critical period in history,” the agency wrote in its Jan. 22 letter to city leaders, which it sent by email and certified letter.
The agency faced a $5 billion net loss in 2013, Kuhl said.
First-class mail volumes, the Postal Service’s bread and butter, have made a precipitous drop from 98 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to 68 billion in 2012, according to the agency.
It raised the price of first-class stamps from 46 cents to 49 cents on Jan. 26.
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