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Postal Service Trims List of Possible Closure Sites

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 3:40 p.m. ET

Nine postal facilities in the District and three in suburban Maryland are still under consideration for possible closure or consolidation with other nearby facilities, according to an updated list of sites released Friday by the U.S. Postal Service.

Just 371 sites remain under consideration for possible closure, down from approximately 3,600 first considered over the summer.

By law, each zip code in the U.S. must have a post office, but most suburban and urban zip codes have additional postal locations called retail branches or stations that are often smaller and provide limited mail services. The Postal Service is only targeting those types of locations.

The sites in the District and Maryland are:

Station Branch Name City/State
Columbia Heights Finance Washington, D.C.
Fort Davis Washington, D.C.
Friendship Heights Bethesda, Md.
Landover Hills Hyattsville, Md.
Ledroit Park Washington, D.C.
Naval Research Laboratory Washington, D.C.
Navy Annex Washington, D.C.
Northeast Washington, D.C.
Petworth Washington, D.C.
Randle Washington, D.C.
Silver Spring Center Silver Spring, Md.
Woodridge Washington, D.C.

Source: U.S. Postal Service

Review the list of all sites under consideration nationwide here

Facilities selected for closure are unlikely to close before January, Postmaster General John E. Potter said Thursday. Though Potter and his colleagues will make the final decisions on closures, it must consult with the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent government agency led by five commissioners.

The often confusing arrangement has led to criticism from lawmakers, customers and businesses, especially after the first list was released by Congressional staffers and the PRC in July.

"We're disappointed," said Julian Mansfield, village manager in Friendship Heights. The community of mostly seniors remains on the list of offices being considered for closure. While residents have sent petitions and enlisted the aid of their congressman and senators, they feel as if they've made no progress. What they'd really like is to make their case in person.

"There's no way to talk to anybody [at the Postal Service]," Mansfield said. "There's no face-to-face with anyone."

A PRC spokesman said concerned customers could submit their concerns through the commission's Web site. The panel, which has overseen postal operations since 1970, has since held two field hearings (in Independence, Ohio, and the Bronx, N.Y.). It also met last week in Washington with postal officials, postal unions and representatives of the mailing industry and consumer groups. A final advisory opinion from the commissioners is expected in November, according to multiple sources.

Adding intrigue to the process, the commission is chaired by Ruth Y. Goldway, who was named to the panel by Bill Clinton in 1998 and reappointed twice by George W. Bush. President Obama named her PRC chairwoman in August, making her the longest-serving Senate-confirmed presidential appointee in the Executive Branch.

Friday’s release comes as the Postal Service is still reeling from a miserable fiscal year that ended last week. The mail service lost billions of dollars, cut tens of thousands of jobs and man hours and needed Congressional action to avoid paying billions of dollars to pre-fund future retiree benefits.

As the new fiscal year begins, Potter has launched a public relations effort to rally support for a five-day mail delivery schedule and permission to study the possibility of selling other products and services at postal facilities. He reminded a lunchtime crowd at the National Press Club on Wednesday that the Postal Service operates more retail operations than Starbucks, McDonalds and Wal-Mart combined, but can only sell a limited number of mail-related products and services. He suggested that U.S. postal facilities should be able to sell products and services found in many European and Asian post offices, including banking or insurance services, pre-paid cell phones and other products.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 9, 2009; 11:59 AM ET
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I don't see any post offices that got renamed during the waning days of the last congress for all those politicians that wanted a living memorial.

Posted by: ernestoman | October 9, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

AP Style for ZIP code includes capital letters. It is an acronym for Zone Improvement Program.

Posted by: bmcclos325 | October 11, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Typical GOP insanity again. Bush wanted the USPS union "busted" as he and his admin hated unions. But look at them crying now. Boo hoo! You can't close a post office in MY district. Close them in my opponent's districts!!

Posted by: pkbishop | October 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"By law, each zip code in the U.S. must have a post office, but most suburban and urban zip codes have additional postal locations called retail branches or stations that are often smaller and provide limited mail services."

The quoted sentence makes no sense. There is no law requiring that the Postal Service use ZIP Codes, and many ZIP Codes are assigned to geographic areas that contain no post offices, branches, or stations. It is the case that every post office serves at least one ZIP Code (and many serve more than one), but that's about as far as it goes.

Posted by: Armbruster | October 13, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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