Riverton Post Office Hours Cut Back, SeaTac Councilwoman Fights Back
Thursday morning (Feb. 17), while dropping a letter into the outside mailbox at the U.S. Postal Service Riverton Heights station at 15250 32nd Ave. S. in SeaTac, I noticed something different.
The last daily mail collection time was listed as 6 p.m., not 8 p.m. as it has been since the midnight collection was eliminated a few years ago.
I was on my way to a meeting and it slipped from my mind – until SeaTac City Councilwoman Pam Fernald called about an hour later with the news.
“As of February 28, 2011,” Fernald told me – and is informing SeaTac residents in a letter, “the Riverton Heights Branch post office is planning to change their hours of operation during the week to close at 6 p.m. rather than close at midnight as it currently does.”
The USPS website link for postal stations in SeaTac (http://usps.whitepages.com/post_office/WA/SEATAC) says it all:
Last Daily Collection
There is no announcement or explanation of this change on the website – and no indication that the change won’t go into effect for another 10 days.
Fernald said she has learned that postal workers at the Riverton station “have been told they cannot discuss this change of hours with customers.”
But, she added, “I’m just as serious about keeping this post office open as they are about closing it early and making sure no one gets in their way.”
A USPS representative could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The only indication a change was in the works is buried in a Feb. 9 USPS news release that announced a $329 million first quarter loss (Oct.-Dec. 2010) for the current fiscal year:
“The Postal Service is aggressively pursuing a plan to reduce total expenses….The Postal Service projects $2 billion in cost savings in fiscal year 2011, including a reduction of some 40 million work hours across the organization.”
Fernald said she expects a letter from the city of SeaTac, which “strongly urges the Riverton Heights Branch hours to remain at the current level provided,” to be delivered in person to the Seattle postmaster next week.
When the USPS Sea-Tac Airport facility, about half a mile north of the terminal on Air Cargo Road, at one time open 24 hours a day, was closed to the public, that service was transferred to the Riverton station.
Since then, Riverton’s weeknight hours have been reduced from 1 a.m. to midnight, and the last collection has been moved up from midnight to 8 p.m.
This action will leave post office closest to the state’s largest airport – and the greater Seattle area – with no late-evening customer-assisted postal services.
Keeping the current hours at the Riverton station “will enable citizens, the business community and anyone who needs same-day postmarks late at night or international mailing services, from all over our region, to continue this important service,” Fernald said.
“In the meantime, if the greater community wants to speak out, I would like them to e-mail the officials whose contact information is contained” in the following letter she sent out:
As of February 28, 2011, the Riverton Heights Branch post office is planning to change their hours of operation during the week to close at 6 p.m. during the week rather than close at midnight as it currently does.
If you feel that 6 p.m. is too early to close, please contact the people below with your reasons. Share this email with others.
The most common reason I have heard is that because of work, people cannot get to a post office before it closes. This is the only post office, which is open after 6 p.m. and people come from all around to use it to mail packages, etc.
No matter the time of day, this post office most always has a line. If they shorten the hours, it will be worse.
This is the only post office in the region (state) where an official midnight time stamp for IRS or mail in ballots is available.
I understand that the machines they intend to install in the lobby will not handle international mailings.
If you have a computer and a printer, you can print labels on line, but not everyone has the equipment. We would like to see this branch remain open until at least 10 p.m. That still saves the post office money and gives the customers time to get to the post office. However, the actual goal is to have the post office remain open until midnight.
As one citizen emailed me, “The Post Office is breaking its promise/commitment that it made to not only those in SeaTac, but all customers in the South County. I don’t know if you are aware, but Riverton was officially designated as the “replacement” for the USPS SeaTac Airport Post Office, when public access to that facility was closed.”
The Tukwila Branch at Southcenter closes at 5:30. The Burien Branch at 150th closes at 6 p.m.
Please contact each of the following:
Senator Patty Murray: Email. Phone: Toll Free: (866) 481-9186 Washington, D.C. Phone: (206) 553-5545 Seattle. Toll Free: (866) 481-9186.
Zack Hudgins: Website.
Bob Hasegawa: Website.
Tina Orwall: Website.
Dave Upthegrove: Website.
Margarita Prentice: Email.
Western regional Postmaster: Sylvester Black, 1745 Stout St. #1000, Denver, Co. 80299-5000 • 303.313.5100 phone • 303.313.5102 fax • email: [email protected]
Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260-0010