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In the anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle’s Central District, a neighborhood celebrates its new post office

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Marking “a blow against the right wing attacks on social services,” community members and United States Postal Service officials gathered inside the new E Union post office Monday morning to celebrate the opening of the new Central District facility.

The new post office is “dedicated to the service of the people of the United States of America” and “represents a move in the right direction for not just post office employees, but more importantly, for this community,” Myrna Umali, president at Local 28 of the American Postal Workers Union, said before cutting the ribbon on the new retail location for the USPS. “This branch is part of the tree that represents the life of the community,” she said.

“Hopefully this will be our final destination for years to come,” USPS manager Eddie Lee Smith said.

District 3 city council member Kshama Sawant announced the re-opening of the Central District post office in its new location last week after it was “closed two years ago due to gentrification in the neighborhood.”

CHS reported here on the USPS’s selection of a former e-bike shop in new construction at 23rd and Union as its home for the new office after the larger original facility in the Midtown Center was lined up for demolition as part of a three-piece, seven-story mixed-use apartment development with more than 400 market-rate and affordable apartment units, a quasi-public central plaza, and a huge underground parking garage.

Sawant was not in attendance at Monday’s ribbon cutting.

A spokesperson for the Socialist Alternative political group credited Sawant’s leadership and community pressure for the reopening and celebrated the “blow” against the “unprecedented and vicious attack by the Trump administration” on the postal service.

“They would like nothing more than to tear down this vital public service,” putting it in the hands of “big business profiteers,” the spokesperson said.

CHS reported here on worries about locked and missing mailboxes across Capitol Hill as part of nationwide concerns about Trump administration efforts to cut postal services and resources. While the post office contends many of the boxes were locked as part of standard procedure due to ongoing unrest and protests in the area, worries persist. The disappearance of another mailbox from 15th Ave E, meanwhile, has added another example to ongoing worries.

Meanwhile, Monday morning brought a new round of propaganda from Washington D.C. in its efforts to criticize responses to the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and major efforts to defund police departments. Monday, Attorney General William Barr announced he was designating Seattle, Portland, and New York City as anarchist jurisdictions — cities “that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities” —

  • For nearly a month, starting in June, the City of Seattle permitted anarchists and activists to seize six square blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, naming their new enclave the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) and then the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP).
  • Law enforcement and fire fighters were precluded from entering the territory.  The Seattle Police Department was ordered to abandon their precinct within the CHOP.
  • Person-related crime in the CHOP increased 525% from the same period of time in the same area the year before, including by Mayor Durkan’s own count “two additional homicides, 6 additional robberies, and 16 additional aggravated assaults (to include 2 additional non-fatal shootings).”
  • The CHOP was allowed to stand for nearly a month, during which time two teenagers were shot and killed in the zone.
  • The Seattle City Council, Mayor Durkan, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee publicly rejected federal involvement in law enforcement activities within the city of Seattle.

The designation could line Seattle up for the Trump administration to attempt to justify withholding of federal funding. Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city have previously called similar threats unlawful and likely to end up in court.

The new post office is located at 2207 E Union. Its hours for counter services are 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. The counter and the lobby are closed on weekends. Learn more at


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30 thoughts on “In the anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle’s Central District, a neighborhood celebrates its new post office” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. “A spokesperson for the Socialist Alternative political group credited Sawant’s leadership and community pressure for the reopening and celebrated the “blow” against the “unprecedented and vicious attack by the Trump administration” on the postal service.”

    Oh FFS. The building it was in before got redeveloped and it was always coming back. Not everything is a sinister plan by the Trump administration or Amazon that Kshama needs to save us from.

    • Yes, and the 23rd and Union development was a partnership with Africatown.. The post office had moved to a temporary space knowing that the whole area was planned to be razed.

      Not sure why this post cant be ‘hooray we have a local post office again!’ instead of a stretch into overcoming the villainous forces of tyranny to open a branch. It’s amusing how Sawant’s statements always sound like something straight out of a Chinese state media outlet.

      • This new Post Office is great and why can’t our elected council member just acknowledge a much needed return to normalcy?

        I am a never-Trumper whom is seriously considering voting for Trump. And if a liberal Seattleite is having these conflicting thoughts, imagine what the voters in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. are thinking. Thanks Kshama, keep it up. I hate it that I am at this crossroads, but the leadership on display in Seattle these last 6 months roughly dovetails with what a Biden administration will bring to bear.

      • Pssst, EJ, Trump is President now and he hasn’t done anything but tweet angrily. I don’t know how much worse you expect things to get under Biden, but crime has gone up under Trump and was down under Obama, so there’s no evidence to support the idea that Trump will more effectively reduce crime than an Obama Democrat, and there IS evidence to support the fact that his presidency has lead to increased crime.

        The studies on urban crime show that the two factors that contribute to crime are economic insecurity and racial segregation, the later of which Trump actively promotes, and the former of which he has largely contributed to thanks to his abysmal coronavirus response which has only prolonged the economic hurt.

        And regarding violent protests, how do you expect citizens to react when Republicans are actively stripping away their legal recourse (e.g. minority rule leading to the appointment of three conservative Supreme Court Judges and appointing over 100 ultra conservative, in some cases even unqualified, judges) and electoral recourse (e.g. voter suppression and gerrymandering)? Peaceful protests are great, but it’s certainly understandable that some people believe they clearly have not worked.

      • Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster on Supreme Court appointments when he was majority leader. He’s a Democrat.

        The republicans have gotten to appoint 2 (maybe 3 now) judges under those changed rules.

        Thanks Democrats.

      • @GregM: Incorrect. The filibuster was eliminated for Supreme Court justices by Mitch McConnell in 2017 in order to get Gorsuch through. Reid eliminated the filibuster only for lower court judges, and only after four years of unyielding Republican opposition to every judge Obama nominated.

  2. Sawant had little or nothing to do with it. She was a late comer who saw this is a local issue she could glom onto as her own before last Fall’s election. There were many community members who pushed for this and got it done. It was already in motion long before her involvement. Just sayin. Sawant is good at PR though.

  3. ///A spokesperson for the Socialist Alternative political group credited Sawant’s leadership and community pressure for the reopening and celebrated the “blow” against the “unprecedented and vicious attack by the Trump administration” on the postal service.///

    So the Postmaster-General of the United States is so susceptible to the pressure of a junior city councilor in Seattle that she can compel and command him to construct new facilities at her whim, however, 300 Democratic senators and congressmen/women, 23 governors, and the mass of the popular press are impotent to stop him from uninstalling some scanning machines in Kent?

    Maybe it’s just me but I feel like something isn’t adding up.

  4. ///“This branch is part of the tree that represents the life of the community,” she said.///

    I’m sure there’s a typewriter repair shop, one-hour photo lab, and a Blockbuster outlet who would like to challenge the CD Post Office branch for this trophy.

    I may even take a jaunt down to the corner pay phone booth and call the Seattle Times to purchase a classified ad objecting to the Post Office’s haughtiness.

    • Are you really stupid enough to be suggesting the post office is outdated?

      Why would Amazon offload so much of its delivery service to the post office if it wasn’t the best service available for the lowest price.

      We could nationalize amazon though and absorb it into the post office though. That would do the most good.

  5. Until Sawant was involved there were no public meetings and non planned and no public airing of possible locations. I like Adam Smith’s office, but I had to tell them about the public meeting that set up real opportunities for advocacy for the USPS to centrally locate an office near where the other facility had been. His representative attended as a member of the audience. I don’t know what Adam Smith’s office was doing at the time. I and others had been in contact with him for more than a year. I am just saying that in this case Kshama Sawant’s style seemed to be necessary. I can’t make anyone like CM Sawant, but there is no need to not give her credit when it is due. You don’t have to like her.

    • Except that when the post office closed, they *always* intended to come back, with the implication being that it would be in the new Midtown development. A few people freaked out about having to use The Postman for a few years and Kshama glommed onto them…

      They didn’t even really ‘save’ the post office… they just got it back a year or so earlier than was planned from the very beginning…. sorry, not impressed…

      • Don’t forget the “gentrification” her office is saying the original building was displaced by was actually a new building with over 100 affordable housing units in partnership with Africatown. Oh the horror!

    • this is helpful to know thank you for posting (and for organizing!). While I find her office communications generally very annoying, it’s good to know that they did put in the work to make this happen.
      I don’t understand the USPS office hate that there seems to be in the comments around the office. The Postman is great and I’m also glad that there is a continuation of USPS services in the neighborhood.

  6. Ahhh it was not closed because of gentrification and people in the neighborhood first approached the Postal Agency and got it back not Sawant. More political gadfly aggrandizement fro Seattle’s trump.

  7. Not following the headline “in the anarchist jurisdiction of Seattle’s Central District…” what is anarchist about Central District? And what does it have to do with the Post Office? Can we leave the clickbait to FOX News and focus on the information?

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