Postal Service may close Everett processing center

EVERETT — The bad jobs news just won’t quit in Everett.

First came news earlier this month that the city could lose Kimberly-Clark, its last mill, and all the 750 jobs that go with it.

Then Providence Regional Medical Center Everett announced it could cut up to 175 jobs.

Now this: The U.S. Postal Service is considering shutting down an Everett mail processing and distribution center that employs 290 people.

The Postal Service announced Thursday morning that it’s studying whether to consolidate its operations at 252 locations across the country, including Everett, to help stave off financial disaster.

It’s not clear how many jobs could be lost if the facility is shut down since the Postal Service would try to shift positions to other sites, said Ernie Swanson, Postal Service spokesman.

A closure could mean Everett-area mail customers could no longer expect next-day delivery.

For instance, a first-class letter popped into the mail now in Everett as late as 5 p.m. usually makes it to another Western Washington city by the next day.

With consolidation, that probably wouldn’t happen, Swanson said.

The Everett center also is one of only four Postal Service locations in the region where people can take last-minute tax returns.

The Postal Service is on the verge of financial collapse. Last year it had revenue of $67 billion and expenses of $75 billion.

The closings and service changes could save the Postal Service as much as $3 billion annually. It’s trying to cut a total of $6.5 billion.

Earlier this month, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe suggested that the Postal Service also should eliminate Saturday delivery, close thousands of local post offices, restructure its health plan and lay off 120,000 workers to survive.

Annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and the slide isn’t stopping. The Internet is siphoning off lucrative first-class mail and the stagnant economy is holding down the growth of advertising mail.

Even when the country’s economy improves, the Postal Service expects mail volume won’t return to previous levels.

The facility in Everett, located at 8120 Hardeson Road, processes outgoing letters and parcels mailed in the city. Businesses also drop off bulk mail at a walkup counter.

“We’re trying to make the best use of our facilities,” Swanson said.

The Postal Service expects to make a decision about the Everett facility early next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197; dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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