NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

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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One Ping

  1. […] 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 […]

    Ping from Links 6/29/12 « naked capitalism :: June 29th, 2012 at 1:52 AM