Meetings planned in Clallam, Jefferson on reduced postal hours
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Renée Rowland, postmaster relief at the Joyce Post Office inside the Joyce General Store, makes a label for a postal box Friday.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

The closures of post offices in Jefferson and Clallam counties are all but off the table, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said, as meetings to garner public input on proposed post office hour changes in the two counties start this week.

“We're not really looking at closing post offices now,” said Ernie Swanson, a spokesman for the Postal Service in Seattle.

Swanson said the agency initially was considering 3,700 post offices across the country for closure starting in 2011 but shifted its focus instead to looking at reducing hours of operation at about 13,100 offices nationwide.

Reducing hours to between four and six hours a day from eight was one of four options the Postal Service included in surveys sent out to customers of the Joyce and LaPush post offices in Clallam County and the Nordland Post Office on Marrowstone Island in Jefferson County.

Community meetings

Community meetings to reveal results of customer surveys are set for noon Tuesday at the Joyce Post Office, 50883 state Highway 112, and 4 p.m. Tuesday at the LaPush Post Office, 500 Ocean Drive.

Surveys have not yet been mailed to customers of the Sekiu Post Office, so a public meeting has not been set, Swanson said, though the survey program extends until September 2014.

The Nordland Post Office, 7180 Flagler Road, will host a public meeting March 5, Swanson said.

Swanson said the Joyce, LaPush, Sekiu and Nordland post offices are the only North Olympic Peninsula ones currently being considered for reduced hours.

Swanson said he expects final decisions on new hours for the affected post offices to be made a week to 10 days after the public meetings are held.

Other options

The other options presented in the customer surveys included closing down the post offices and relying on P.O. boxes at a nearby post office, or individual mailbox deliveries and contracting out a smaller “village” post office to a private company.

The Postal Service announced these proposed changes earlier this month as part of nationwide cost-reduction measures.

The agency is losing roughly $25 million a day as more Americans opt for email and the Internet for communication.

Other post offices in Clallam County are in downtown Port Angeles, Sequim, Carlsborg, Clallam Bay, Forks, Beaver and Neah Bay, while Jefferson County's other post offices are in Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Chimacum, Quilcene, Port Ludlow and Brinnon.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 23. 2013 5:42PM
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