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United States Postal Service closing Redmond’s downtown post office in July

Redmond’s downtown post office will be closed and its operations relocated to a mail processing facility in the eastern part of town, the United States Postal Service confirmed this week. As of a month from this Saturday – July 30th – the current location will no longer be open for business.

In a letter dated June 25th and delivered June 27th (today), USPS tersely informed post office box customers (including NPI) of the pending closure and advised that boxes would be moved and be unavailable to customers from July 26th until July 28th. A copy of the letter, printed in larger font, has been tacked to the wall inside the Redmond Post Office adjacent to several rows of post office boxes. The letter does not provide any background about the closure or explain why it is taking place on July 30th. The full text is as follows:

June 25 2012

To Redmond PO Box Customers:

On Monday, July 30, 2012 the Redmond Post Office will relocate to 7241 185th Ave NE, Redmond WA. This location is only 2.2 miles from the current office.

The PO Boxes will be moved and unavailable to customers July 26 -28. During this time the box mail may be picked up at the retail window in the current location, 16135 NE 85TH ST. For your protection, Identification will be required for pick-up.

To minimize any inconvenience you may experience between July 26 — 28, you may consider picking up your mail at the new location on July 30th. The PO Boxes will be installed. The retail hours will remain the same, Monday — Friday 8:00 am — 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am — 3:00 pm.

Please direct questions to the USPS Consumer Affairs Office, at (253) 214-1800. We do apologize for any inconvenience you may encounter during this transition period and appreciate your patience.

The below Quick Read (QR) barcode is provided to identify the new location on your smart phone. The QR also provides directions to the new facility.

Sincerely,

The Redmond Postmaster

USPS previously announced in October 2010 that it had sold the property on which the current downtown post office sits and was looking for a new location nearby. A couple of months later, then-local Postmaster John Logan sent a letter to Redmond Mayor John Marchione announcing that USPS would be opening a smaller new downtown post office only a few blocks away.

But late last year, those plans were scrapped, and after initially claiming it still was looking for a building downtown to lease, the public was told the Post Office would probably (but not definitely) “relocate” to USPS’ mail processing facility in east Redmond, near Cedar Lawns Memorial Park. Since then, the Postal Service has kept quiet about its plans – until this week, that is.

The “relocation” has the potential to inconvenience a significant number of Redmond residents, particularly those who are used to having the post office within walking distance of their apartment. It will leave the city without a downtown post office where people can send packages, buy stamps, or pick up mail.

And it will happen only one week before the last day of Washington’s 2012 “Top Two” winnowing election. I imagine there will be at least a few people in Redmond who will try to drop off their completed and postmarked ballots at the current facility after July 30th, only to discover to their irritation that the Redmond Post Office they have known and used for ten, twenty, or even thirty years is gone.

Whatever happened to the new downtown post office the people of Redmond were promised? Back in 2010, Postmaster John Logan said USPS wanted to develop a new location because it wanted “to provide the community with an upgraded, modern facility that offers a safe working environment for our employees and a level of service expected by our customers.” Well, so much for that.

Instead of a new downtown post office, those of us who live and work in the Bicycle Capital of the Northwest will now have to get used to walking, driving, or biking over to Redmond’s commercial and industrial district just to send a parcel or check a P.O. box. And USPS is doing nothing to ease the transition. Post office box customers are just hearing about the move, and apparently we’re the first ones to know. We got all of a month’s notice. A month!

The city’s quarterly “Focus on Redmond” magazine just went out to residents, and it doesn’t say anything about the post office “relocating”. The city’s website doesn’t yet have an announcement either. It seems the city has been left in the dark about the transition along with the people of Redmond.

USPS is in dire need of new management. The current Postmaster General and his “executive leadership team” seem more interested in weakening the Postal Service than strengthening it. They’re closing post offices, removing curbside collection boxes, laying off workers, and calling for the elimination of Saturday delivery (which would be a stupid move). The austerity measures they are implementing are leading to a decline in the quality of service USPS provides, which is bad news for everyone.

Many conservatives and libertarians have suggested that the death of the Postal Service would be a good thing, wrongly believing that private carriers like UPS and FedEx could fill the void. What they don’t seem to understand is that UPS, FedEx, and other carriers are for-profit companies that deliberately occupy a niche. UPS and FedEx have no interest in establishing and maintaining a postal system that uniformly serves all of America’s communities.

Though it is somewhat independently operated these days, the U.S. Postal Service is still a public service – as its name implies.

Cheerleaders for the death of the Postal Service also forget that the Constitution of the United States explicitly empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”. That’s from Article I, Section 8. Our founding founders thought that having a postal system was so important, they explicitly mentioned it in the plan of government they gave us. Electronic communication may be growing more predominant, but it doesn’t mean we don’t or won’t need a postal system.

The United States Postal Service needs to be modernized and strengthened, not weakened. The people currently in charge don’t seem to have the interest or wherewithal to take on that challenge. They should be replaced – immediately.

And Congress needs to unshackle the USPS from the stupid, senseless pension obligations that it saddled it with in 2006, so that the media stops wrongly reporting that the Postal Service is bankrupt.

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  1. By Links 6/29/12 « naked capitalism on June 29th, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    [...] Role of government: “Cheerleaders for the death of the Postal Service also forget that the Constitution of the United States explicitly empowers Congress ‘To establish Post Offices and post Roads.’ That’s from Article I, Section [...]