January 7, 2015
The Blencoe Post Office is again open for business, nearly two years after the small Monona County town "temporarily" lost its post office for an emergency suspension. The Post Office reopened on Wednesday in a new location across the street from the former Post Office at 501 Main St. The U.S. Postal Service temporarily shut down the post office in April 2014 due to structural problems with that building's foundation. Read more.
Empty, bare and “For Rent” is how the building formerly utilized as the Nemo Post Office now sits. There are rumors - depending on the generation asked - of the post office previously being housed in a nearby corner store and even those who claim it was once housed in a house. Either of which may be a necessary place of relocation - that is, if there is to ever be a relocating of the office housed just a few hundred yards off of S Farm-to-Market 199. It is not uncommon for the U.S. Postal Service to cite a lease dispute prior to notifying residents of an “emergency suspension,” as was the case in Nemo. In fact, a quick Internet search will pull up more than a dozen post offices where the exact same instance occurred. Most of those can be found on the first few pages of the search, most of those closed after 2010 and most of those have still not reopened. Read more.
October 4, 2015
[Note: Please see the correction/update at the end of this story.]
The post office in Petworth, a community in Washington, DC, closed at the end of July. The closing didn’t get much attention, but the story of what happened in Petworth is a useful case study of how the Postal Service has been conducting suspensions, closures, and relocations.
The Postal Service notified the community a month in advance that the Petworth Station at 4211 9th Street, NW, would be closing. On June 26th, a notice was posted on the door of the post office saying, “The Postal Service will suspend service at this location effectively on July 28, 2015 due to the termination of our lease.”
The Postal Service often helps create a lease renewal problem and then uses it as an opportunity to close a post office, but in this case the landlord may have actually wanted the Postal Service to move out. (A USPS Leased Facility report from 2012 says the landlord was the Praise Temple Church.)
As reported in a post on POPville, DC’s neighborhood blog, a clerk in the post office told a customer that “the District has signed a long lease to build a Community Outreach Center. They’re going to occupy the entire building and will open at the end of the year. The Post Office has to move sometime in the coming months but he doesn’t know where they’re going to go.”
That blog post was dated January 22, 2015. It was also cross-posted to the Petworth News Facebook page on January 23, 2015.
The Postal Service thus knew in January —if not before — that the post office would have to move out “sometime in the coming months.”
In fact, the Postal Service probably knew exactly when. As the Leased Facility report shows, the lease on the Petworth Station was due to end on July 31, 2015. The Postal Service had good reason to believe that it would have to vacate the space by the end of July.
Now, it’s possible that something happened between January and June that led the Postal Service to believe it might be able to remain in the space. Perhaps the District did not end up signing a lease to build a Community Outreach Center, or perhaps the center didn't want the entire space. A photo of the building in a June 30 article about the suspension shows a “For Lease” sign on the building. Maybe there wasn't a new tenant for the whole space and the post office could have remained. But the photo is from Google Maps, so it's not clear when it was taken. The for-lease sign could date back to before the District signed the lease on the whole building.
In any case, the Postal Service probably had plenty of notice it would need to leave the location, and the situation did not really call for an emergency suspension. It wasn't much of an "emergency."
When the Postal Service knows well in advance that it will be losing the lease, it is supposed to do one of two things — initiate a discontinuance procedure to close the post office permanently, or find a new location. There is a set of regulations for both procedures, and it doesn’t look like the Postal Service followed either of them.
It may be understandable when postal officials out in the Hinterlands don't always follow the regulations, but the Petworth post office was located less than four miles from USPS headquarters in L'Enfant Plaza. Some of the people who work in HQ probably live in Petworth.
The Postal Service suspended service in Almo, Kentucky after employees smelled sewage and noticed a spongy feeling to the floor, which may mean that mean mold. The Postal Service will spend the next few days trying to find and fix the problem. There is no time-line to reopen the post office. PO boxes have been moved to the post office in Dexter, Kentucky. Read more.
Service has apparently also been suspended in Lowes, KY, for reasons unknown.