Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Thursday's Spokesman.com and today's Spokesman-Review had stories about planned mail processing center closures, and the resulting increase in volume to be felt at the Spokane center near the Spokane Airport.
Still undecided are considerations by the USPS to close post office buildings around the country. At one point the USPS said it might close up to 3,600 post offices as part of an effort to eliminate an immense $3 billion budget shortfall.
Several Spokane area post offices have been on the list for possible closure. Ernie Swanson, the Washington state regional USPS spokesman, said no decision on the post offices will be made until May 15, at the earliest.
On a related matter, the USPS is still trying to find a sub-leasor for office space it vacated at the Crescent Court building in downtown Spokane.
Swanson said no new agreements have been made to sublease the 24,000 square feet in the building. The USPS said last year it's paying about $490,000 per year for that space, formerly used when Spokane ran a regional office. That regional office closed and was consolidated in Seattle.
Postal Service employees have been given the word: No more free tape left on retail counters.
Certainly you have to hope even this little bit of savings will make a difference, at a time when the U.S. Postal Service is looking at losses of at least
$10$5 billion in fiscal 2011.
The flyer here, handed out internally to downtown Spokane postal workers, lays out the rules. It sums up the new harsh reality of No More Free Tape. Customers won't find rolls of tape to use on packages or containers. In other words: buy your own, or buy tape from the post office.
Another sign of the new hard reality: The Postal Service is giving customers notice they should return any stolen items.
A Nov. 11 Washington Post story noted: Starting Saturday, the cash-strapped delivery service said, it is giving customers two weeks to return stolen equipment, no questions asked.
The USPS spent nearly $50 million last year replacing equipment that was stolen or inadvertently taken and never returned by customers, officials said this week, labeling such thefts “a serious issue.”
“We are in a financial crisis and simply cannot afford this type of unnecessary expense,” said David Williams, vice president of USPS network operations. “The equipment is federal property, and we want it back.”
They helpfully notified us of their recommended shipping deadlines for customers sending items domestically; so here they are:
First class mail, cut off date Dec. 20
Priority mail, cut-off date Dec. 21
Express mail, cut-off date Dec. 22
Parcel post, cut-off date Dec. 15
First class postage stamp prices are going up by 1 cent starting in January, the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday.
The cost of a first-class stamp — also known as a Forever Stamp — will climb to 45 cents on Jan. 22, the first price increase in more than 2 1/ 2 years, USPS said.
Other costs, including the price of mailing magazines, standard mail and some package services, will also go up. Express Mail and Priority Mail prices will not change.
The goal is generating an additional $888 million in revenue, postal officials said Tuesday.
Some leftovers from last week's big announcement that the U.S. Postal Service will move out of the downtown Riverside post office.
First: some of the area's businesses will feel the impact. Close to 1,000 post office boxes are rented at the Riverside office, and many belong to nearby businesses. Those boxes will also move out, in the first half of 2012, when the downtown station is relocated.
Question One: Who's going to feel the relocation the most? Vote for your choice.
- A) U.S. District Court and its associated offices (judges and magistrates).
- B) U.S. District Attorney's office (in the Foley building).
- C) The big law firms in the Lincoln Building across the street.
- D) The Cowles Company, which relies on the post office for inbound and outbound mail.
Another tidbit: the downtown Riverside office was never known as the “Main” post office, according to our historical research. The “main” office is by tradition the name only for the one that houses the local postmaster's office.
The current postmaster, Karen Fairlee, didn't move into the downtown office until 2000. Fairlee said the head office, before then, was at the old Terminal Annex, where Gonzaga's baseball field is now.
“The postmaster moved downtown in 2000 and since everyone knew (the downtown office) as “Riverside” (because that had been the office name for 90 years), the designation was not officially changed,” Fairlee explained in an email.
“Currently, the proper title is the Riverside Station,” Fairlee added.
Post Office employees are fighting back against a proposal to allow people to “opt out” from receiving bulk mail.
On Monday, the Spokane City Council rejected a non-binding resolution asking the state Legislature to create a registry that would allow people to decline bulk mail.
Spokane Postmaster Karen Fairlee and several postal workers testified against the idea, as did a few owners of local print shops.