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Historic post office to stay

Tue., Nov. 15, 2011

Postal Service reverses closure plan at 102-year-old downtown building

Postal Service officials have changed their minds and will not close the historic downtown Spokane post office on Riverside Avenue.

Spokane Postmaster Karen Fairlee said the decision was made at the U.S. Postal Service’s Seattle district office. Fairlee was not available Monday to explain what was behind that decision, said Sharon Wesselman, Spokane’s USPS customer relations manager.

Seattle USPS spokesman Ernie Swanson also declined to provide additional information on the change in plans. “The Riverside Station will remain as is,” he wrote in an email.

The Postal Service said in August that the Riverside Station would close and its services would move to another downtown building.

The relocation, scheduled for sometime in 2012, would have included the challenge of transferring about 1,000 postal rental boxes to another downtown site.

The planned closure was expected to save the $350,000 annual lease the Postal Service pays the federal General Services Administration for using the 102-year old Riverside Avenue building.

In addition, postal administrators are trying to sublease about 24,000 square feet of space in the Crescent Court building in downtown Spokane as a means of addressing severe budget cuts. The Crescent Court location costs the Postal Service $490,000 per year.

The downtown post office has about 15 postal service workers using the first floor and a loading dock in the basement.

The plans to close the post office would not have affected the federal Bankruptcy Court, which operates on upper floors of the building.

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