Postal Spokesman: Fewer Customers Doomed Late Hours At Riverton Station

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by Ralph Nichols

The U.S. Postal Service is eliminating its evening service hours at the Riverton Heights Post Office “because we’re simply losing business,” Seattle-area public information officer Ernie Swanson said Feb. 18.

“Traffic at all our facilities is down 20 to 30 percent in the last two to three years. It’s no different at Riverton – 6 p.m. to midnight continues to decrease and continues to lose money,” Swanson told The B-Town Blog.

Beginning March 1, new hours at the Riverton Heights station at 15250 32nd Ave. S. in SeaTac will be 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.

But local elected officials are not rolling over. SeaTac City Councilwoman Pam Fernald is encouraging Highline-area residents to write letters to Congress, the Legislature and the USPS to save Riverton Height’s evening service.

And State Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines, upon hearing about the reduced hours, “immediately sent a letter to the USPS and sent a letter to Rep. Adam Smith (D-9th District), and had my staff contact his staff.

“Like Pam, I have no authority over a federal agency. We’re both local. But I’m doing whatever I can to help get this overturned by contacting our congressman and contacting the postal service. If anyone is going to have influence over a federal agency, it’s our federal representatives.”

Upthegrove, who encouraged concerned individuals to write Smith, “grew up in this area. This has been the only place to go for after-hours service. I think this is ridiculous that they’re reducing their hours.

“Four to five people have contacted me in just the last couple of days expressing their frustration, so I’m not alone and Pam’s not alone, and people do care about this.”

Swanson agreed that eliminating evening hours at Riverton Heights “is unfortunate for those people” who have utilized this service.

“We do have automated mailing services that will still be available, so it’s not like we will totally be abandoning those folks. But it’s not like having a real person there.”

He added, “We welcome public input regarding this decision. We look forward to seeing their comments.”

A Feb. 9 USPS news release 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,” it reported.

Keeping the current hours at the Riverton Heights station will, however, “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.

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3 Responses to “Postal Spokesman: Fewer Customers Doomed Late Hours At Riverton Station”
  1. CoverOfLight says:

    The USPS is a government service, not a for-profit business. If the community says the service is valuable, then it should continue. The fire department isn’t profitable, yet it continues to operate, and rightfully so. Public services are valuable regardless of profitability.

    A metro region the size of Seattle requires at least one post office with extended hours. There are plenty of government subsidies that benefit only the fortunate few (oil companies, for example); why is there even a debate about properly subsidizing the post office, which benefits everyone?

  2. Rob says:

    I for one use this post office as it is my zip code. I work nights and it is a lot easier for me to get mail that requires my signature. I agree with Cover of Light.
    And also when I need stamps at 11 pm The Automated Service Center at Burien P.O. Is usually down for service– so much for the machines taking the place of living human beings,

  3. Burien Dude says:

    Patty Murray and Adam Smith are the ONLY 2 people who can do anything. Maria Cantwell if you happen to live in her district. The TV Media and Newspapers need to hear about it.

    The Riverton Heights Post Office is definitely going to reduce hours unless enough people get involved.

    The Self Serve machines are horrible.

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