Broadway post office drama continues — Congress could enable ‘consolidation’

post office, originally uploaded by box of birds.

Despite a Senate bill that would prevent such an action, the United State Post Office may be forced to close its Broadway location and consolidate operations at its 4th and Lander facility because of new legislation making its way through Congress, officials say. The possible cutback is one of the hurdles clouding the negotiations for a new lease for the Broadway facility that CHS reported on in March.

“We’ve pretty much agree to wait and see what the House of Representatives does” before making the decision, Seattle USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson said. The Senate has already passed a bill that would prevent such consolidations, but the bill the House is currently considering is very different from the Senate version.

USPS would also move its services from its 23rd and Union location to the 4th and Lander center.

If the consolidations happen, USPS hopes to keep a retail presence in the areas that lose facilities. Though the letter carriers and the vehicle fleet at 23rd and Union would move, residents could still be able to meet their mail needs either in the current space or a nearby spot, said Swanson.

“If that hapens, we would make every effort to find a suitable alternate location or just keep the retail where they are if that looks like the better option,” said Swanson.

USPS has significantly reduced its workforce in recent years, hiring very rarely and letting people retire or leave voluntarily. Swanson said they hope to avoid further layoffs if the consolidation occurs, but nothing is certain.

Last July there was a list of some 3,700 post offices that would close or consolidate. The Broadway branch was not on the list and has not yet been added, according to officials. As USPS waits to work out a new the lease, the House legislation could enable such a cut

Mark Rozgay, manager of the trust that owns the land at Broadway and Denny where the post office is located, told CHS us he is in the process of negotiating a new 10-year lease with USPS. In March, postal officials said there were no “concrete plans” to shutter the Broadway office or consolidate it at another location.

“For many years we’ve been trying to find another location,” Swanson said. “It’s small, old, there’s no customer parking, no employee parking, and we have to rent space offsite to park the trucks. We just haven’t been able to find a replacement. It’s tough to find space in the Broadway area. That’s not to say something might not change, but there are no plans to close or consolidate.”

Plans for upgrading the Broadway post office building have been in the air for years — here’s our report on the situation from May 2009The current lease runs out later this year CHS has learned the lease is through 2015.

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26 thoughts on “Broadway post office drama continues — Congress could enable ‘consolidation’

  1. There is no reason for this distribution center to be on the hill. A retail center, yes, absolutely there is enough density to support one. Many post office buildings were sited and built because mail was delivered on foot or by horse and cart. We don’t do that anymore. Every carrier has a car large enough to store the mail for the entire route, and even if they don’t the carrier can drive back for another load if there are no other alternatives. It is time to drag USPS into the 1960’s. I’d settle for that. And cancel Saturday deliveries.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! That building is butt ugly besides and a pathetic use of space. With everyone carping about density here is an opportunity to build some 7 story monster with retail on the first floor etc etc. More expensive hutches for the young, monied and hip! Just what we need!

  3. I think that realistically every other day service might be justified at least for residential areas so I’d keep Saturday service so everyone gets 3 day a week service. Businesses might qualify for 5 day a week service or just rely on PO boxes as many do right now. Individuals can go to PO boxes too if every other day USPS, UPS or FedEx isn’t adequate.

  4. …they’re not thinking about closing up a coffee shop! Hopefully they’ll find a new tenant soon so they can preserve this historic building that brings so much character to the neighborhood. It’s demise will be the demise of the Hill. I hate to think of thinks looking differently than when I moved here in 1963.

  5. It’s a den for vagrants and peddlers. It stinks. They layout is atrocious. The building looks like it’s condemned. And I’ve never been treated so poorly by a postal employee as there. I don’t have the time to walk downtown and it pains me every time I have to go to mail something. Frankly, I’ve paid more to mail it through UPS, just so I didn’t have to wait in line and end up being treated like crap in such a condescending way as with those people at that branch.

  6. Actually I have generally had pretty good experience with the workers there. And they seem to do enough business to justify keeping a PO open on Capitol Hill.

    Separating retail from distribution may be more difficult than one might think. Delivery of registered & certified mail is generally attempted several times, with it being kept at the local PO between times so that the recipient can come and pick it up. This is part of what makes a local PO valuable. Mail carriers would need to stop by the local PO at both the beginning and end of their route just to deal with this.

    This particular building is pretty ugly. I cannot imagine that the owner would not want to replace it with something much larger that would generate more income, especially with the light rail station across the streets.

  7. Why don’t we won’t to save this building and business like Bauhaus? The building isn’t much worse than the melrose space…

  8. Is it really that ugly? What’s ugly is another condo that resembles the other crappy looking condos that are springing up everywhere. People used to say how the area around 21st and Madison was an eyesore. Did they get their wish with those massive, pukey looking yellow condos built all over there? It looks more like a ghetto now than it did when Deano’s and Oscars ruled the place. I can easily live with the post office being there and what it looks like.

  9. It seems pretty simple, really… the Post Office should secure themselves a retail space in the new development across the street so that they can continue to serve the neighborhood. A short-term lease on the old building would get them through to 2015 or so. If they made an early and long-term commitment, I’m sure they could secure a good deal in the new site AND influence the buildout of their space. The old building is inadequate and doesn’t represent what the PO wants and needs to be in order to survive in the future.

    As for a distribution center, while I don’t like to see more cars on the road, it may be time to let go. It’s not very reasonable to think that a distribution center, with parking, will be availble in the most densely populated neighborhood in the city.

    I know our weather isn’t fantastic, but given the PO motto, why don’t they truck in the mail from another center and then let the mail carriers WALK around Capitol Hill. It’s close enough that they could do multiple trips, reduce the need for a car, and limit the need for a local distribution center. Heck, they could even use those silly Segueway scooters for all I care. It’s an option!

  10. “People used to say how the area around 21st and Madison was an eyesore. Did they get their wish with those massive, pukey looking yellow condos built all over there? It looks more like a ghetto now than it did when Deano’s and Oscars ruled the place.”

    Bull. Obviously you don’t remember the unsavory crowd that used to inhabit the street corners up and down Madison within a few blocks of there each way, especially the old convenience store at 22nd and Madison. Those new condos may not be particularly imaginative, but they’ve cleaned up the street crowd a lot. And let’s be real, that P.O. is sterile, dumpy, and fugly– not an example of architecture worth saving.

  11. Excellent idea. A post office at the light rail bldg is a perfect fit. And the idea that a fleet of mail trucks needs to be housed dead in the middle of CapHill is just silly.

    Where your carrier picks up his/her daily rounds has nothing to do with where you can send out mail from the same neighborhood.

  12. The US Post Office… Those are the people who fill that box in front of my house with a pound or two of garbage every day? I keep asking the guy in the dorky shorts to them to put it all directly in the recycling bin, but he just stares at me like I’m speaking ancient Greek.

    Can’t we just shut the entire organization down and use the money to educate children on why and how to ignore advertising?

  13. I think it’s a great idea to have a mail center in the new light rail station, with the short term lease in the current space as a placeholder. Isn’t it too late for that though? Seems like that should have been part of the planning a couple years back. Would be worth it to see if this is still a possiblity.

    I would hate to lose either the 98122 or the 98102 post offices, but to lose BOTH of them? That would suuuuuuuuck. I do not drive – having to go ot 4th and Lander to pick up an undelivered package/certified letter or to deal with vacation mail hold would be a nightmare.

    Please don’t cancel Sat deliveries, though. If you’re going to choose a day to cancel residential delivery, make it Tuesday or Wednesday.

  14. For those w/o cars who only need to go occasionally to the PO, 4th & Lander may not be that bad, it is only a very short walk from an existing light rail station. For my daily trip, it would not be so great.

  15. You must be on a lot of mailing lists to get a pound of junk mail each day. I probably don’t get that much in a month.

    I also get a lot of mail that I want, but that all goes to the PO Box.

  16. Ah, I see you’re blaming the post office for sending you bulk mail. Makes perfect sense. You’d like to prohibit the postal service from handling anything that would put more money in their coffers. Good idea!

  17. So, you want the mail carrier to take it upon himself to throw away your mail, and potentially lose his job for mishandling mail? Or, do you expect out of all the people he delivers to, he should specifically remember that you don’t want the junk mail?

  18. I cannot believe all the people saying yes just get rid of it. Having a post office here is vital to doing business. I send out a lot of packages and the post office is cheaper than UPS or Fed Ex. At retail outlets (like private mail box places) they often don’t give you the cheapest post office rate (you’ll most likely be overcharged(, or have forms for delivery confirmation, etc.

    When I have a package to pick up, I don’t want to go to 4th and Lander to have to get it. When my mail is held, I don’t want to go to 4th and Lander to pick it up. You can choose where to go to send a package (like downtown or Queen Anne), but the PO tells you where they’re going to hold your packages.

    And how are we going to mail letters? There are no mail boxes in the neighborhood anymore. I walk to the PO whenever I need to mail bills, etc. I don’t fancy going downtown every time I need to mail a letter.

    My mail service is very important to me. When I was a teenager, I was forever writing away for free samples, pamphlets, etc because I so loved getting mail. I rely on it now to receive and pay bills, mail out business related packages, get magazines, mail and receive cards and letters. Oh yes, I receive my paychecks thru the mail.

  19. How are we going to mail letters? At the retail location, just like the article says. What else would they be retailing, coffee? They’re not going to sell you stamps, then refuse the letters you bought them for.

  20. that building is not ugly. i believe it’s mid century with the large windows and open floor space with a somewhat california style. it needs to be taken better care of, but it’s a unique building for capitol hill and speaks 1950’s school house, a building one might see in warmer climates like phoenix or palm springs.

  21. Oh stop being thick, all of you. Exaggeration aside, the poster’s point stands. This is an organization whose utility to most people is a fraction of what it was before email and ubiquitous private parcel delivery businesses. As a result they have whored themselves out into the world’s largest enabler of wasteful and annoying junk mail.

  22. Ryan in the sky Not sure where you think all these Postal Boxes are, but they removed most of them around the city within the past 10 years. There use to be one on every other block on Broadway when I was growing up and there were boxes down in the neighborhoods to the East and West of Broadway as well.
    As for all of you that call the Postal Service a waste of tax dollars, The postal service is not paid for by tax dollars. It is funded only by money raised by postage sales. If you don’t use the post office, you are not paying for it so get over it.
    I for one run a business and use it daily. I don’t understand why they would close the Broadway office, this is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city. Why not close Madison, 3rd and Union or Lake city?

  23. Erie Swanson,
    I don’t understand your comments. I called the Facilities department for the region for USPS and gave them the contact information for the new Bank of America Building which has new retail space for you, both customer and emplyee parking and parking and post office truck parking available at this location. But I suspect that it is easier to just stay in the old run down location than to have to work a little to come up with a new improved location.