New Post Office Hours Go Into Effect Monday
On Friday, February 18, my colleague Ralph Nichols reported on what he discovered upon visiting the Riverton Heights post office:
The last daily mail collection time was listed as 6 p.m., not 8 p.m. as it has been since the midnight collection was eliminated a few years ago.
I was on my way to a meeting and it slipped from my mind – until SeaTac City Councilwoman Pam Fernald called about an hour later with the news.
“As of February 28, 2011,” Fernald told me – and is informing SeaTac residents in a letter, “the Riverton Heights Branch post office is planning to change their hours of operation during the week to close at 6 p.m. rather than close at midnight as it currently does.”
Ralph added that “Fernald said she has learned that postal workers at the Riverton station ‘have been told they cannot discuss this change of hours with customers,’” what one can only assume is an effort to keep an already bogged-down staff from sinking deeper into the mire.
He followed up with another report the next day:
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.
Despite the best efforts of Fernald and Dave Upthegrove of Des Moines, however, attempts to get USPS to relent have apparently been fruitless. At the conclusion of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting this week, Fernald mentioned that the fight continued… but that, at that point, about the best hope was more letters to Congressman Adam Smith. And since then… no action.
I’ve got a long history with Riverton Heights. I grew up a couple blocks from Lewis & Clark Theaters, Art’s Grocery, G.O. Guy Drugs, and Coast to Coast Hardware. I cut my eye teeth on books checked out from the McMicken Heights library. I started elementary school at Cascade Elementary. My nearly ruptured appendix was yanked out at Riverton General Hospital. My high school paper route ended at 154th and Pac Highway. Summer football practices concluded with Slurpee runs to the 7-Eleven on Military Road. Somewhere in there, the Riverton Heights Post Office was built, and we were all thrilled.
After I graduated from Foster High School and went off to college, I swore I’d never come back to the South End. But of course I did. And the Riverton Heights Post Office was again a huge staple of my existence. After the airport mail facility shut down and I became a big eBay seller in the auction website’s early heydey, Riverton Heights became the go-to destination in the wee hours for drop-off before or after work. Misty and the gang all became kind of like family… you know, the type you know you have but don’t really tell friends about.
And that’s all changing, I guess. Once again, the hours are going to get cut back and there’s nothing to be done about it. Barring, of course, some Wisconsin- or Cairo-type protests from a disgruntled populace. But Washingtonians rarely get that disgruntled. I’m sure there’s a poll that’s been done placing Seattle at the top of the Most Gruntled Cities in America list. I just haven’t found it yet.
But with Lewis & Clark demolished, Art’s and G.O. Guy converted for other uses, Coast to Coast gone to Ace, Riverton General not even really a hospital any more, the old MacDonald’s just getting bigger and bigger and bigger with every passing decade, my own USPS habits running to Click-and-Ship, and now Riverton Heights having Just Another Vanilla Post Office, this is the big takeaway from this story: The only thing you can ever really count on is 7-Eleven. Oh, thank heaven.