To Be Discontinued: The Postal Service identifies 170 suspended post offices for permanent closure

Steve HutkinsBlog, Featured

Earlier this week the Postal Service shared a list with the Postal Regulatory Commission identifying 170 post offices that were “temporarily” suspended several years ago and that will soon be closed permanently.

The list was submitted as part of the PRC’s Public Inquiry into what can be done to push the Postal Service to clear up a backlog of over 400 long-standing, unresolved emergency suspensions.

 

In its filing with the PRC, the Postal Service explains that the effort to resolve these suspensions has been hampered by the pandemic and organization changes made in 2020, but it is now prepared to proceed. The Postal Service says it has “identified 170 sites that qualify for swift official Discontinuance,” and it plans to complete this project by the end of September 2022.

Not that there has been anything “swift” about the discontinuance process on these post offices. Six of the suspensions occurred more than 20 years ago, 63 occurred more than 10 years ago, and with a couple of exceptions, they all occurred at least five years ago.

When an emergency suspension first take place, whether it’s due to a problem renewing the lease (the most common cause), unsafe conditions or damage to the building, the Postal Service almost always reassures the community that the closure is only “temporary.”

After a suspension occurs, the Postal Service is required to reopen the office by fixing the problem that led to the suspension (relocating if necessary), or it can decide that the suspension is a reason to initiate a discontinuance process.

The law doesn’t put a time limit on this process, so the Postal Service can start the discontinuance process by posting a proposal to close and perhaps proceeding to the required public meeting and circulating the customer questionnaires, and then put the process on hold. There’s currently a backlog of 425 unresolved suspensions. A few of these offices may be reopened, but most are headed for discontinuance.

For 32 of the 170 offices now slated for discontinuance, the Postal Service has completed 29 of the 30 steps in the process, and all that remains is publishing a notification in Postal Bulletin. For the other 138, the Postal Service hasn’t made a final decision (although it’s clear what that decision will be), so the final determination notice has not yet been posted.

The notice contains a paragraph at the end explaining that customers have 30 days to file an appeal with the PRC. Normally this notice would be made available for inspection at the post office being closed, but when a post office has already closed by suspension, it can only be posted at other nearby post offices.

It’s not very likely, then, that anyone will come upon a final determination notice at a post office a few miles away from the one that was suspended and learn that it’s now possible, after five or ten years, to file an appeal. Most likely, the people in these communities will not even become aware that the Postal Service has, at long last, made a final determination to close the post office.

If there’s no appeal, the administrative record documenting how the suspension and discontinuance process was conducted never becomes public. That’s unfortunate, especially considering that the process for many of these closures was surely flawed (as discussed in this 2018 OIG report), which could provide grounds for an appeal.

The PRC has shown little interest in how the Postal Service has conducted the discontinuance process on these long-standing suspensions. The focus has instead been on just getting the Postal Service to clear the backlog so that it is not “out of compliance” with the law governing discontinuances. The Commission will probably be content to see that progress is being made.

The Postal Service’s list of the 170 offices identified for discontinuance is here. More details about these offices can be found on this table, derived from the “Save the Post Office” Suspension Dashboard. There’s more about the suspension backlog and the dashboard in comments that I filed earlier this week for the PRC’s Public Inquiry, here. See also the comments filed by the PRC’s Public Representative, here.

(Photo: Former post office in Hacker Valley, WV, suspended in 2009, then appealed, and the subject of a story on NPR in 2010. Credit: Noah Adams/NPR.)

170 suspended post offices, to be discontinued by Sept. 2022
CIVIC CNTR P O BOX UNIT, CA 94102

CIVIC CNTR P O BOX UNIT, CA 94102

101 HYDE ST, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
Suspension date: 4/25/2016
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
CLAREMONT, SD 57432

CLAREMONT, SD 57432

510 6TH AVE, CLAREMONT, SD 57432
Suspension date: 12/30/2008
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
COURTENAY, ND 58426

COURTENAY, ND 58426

112 1ST AVE N, COURTENAY, ND 58426
Suspension date: 2/13/2009
Reason: Damaged - Demolished ...
CROMWELL, KY 42333

CROMWELL, KY 42333

6066 US HIGHWAY 231 S, CROMWELL, KY 42333
Suspension date: 4/13/2012
Reason: Lease terminated by Postal Service/No qualified personnel ...
DALMATIA, PA 17017

DALMATIA, PA 17017

1878 GEORGE ST, DALMATIA, PA 17017
Suspension date: 10/31/2015
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
DANCIGER, TX 77431

DANCIGER, TX 77431

25420 FM 1301, DANCIGER, TX 77431
Suspension date: 7/19/2016
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...
DE PEYSTER, NY 13633

DE PEYSTER, NY 13633

4386 COUNTY ROUTE 10, DE PEYSTER, NY 13633
Suspension date: 11/30/2015
Reason: Lease terminated by Postal Service ...
DEEDSVILLE, IN 46921

DEEDSVILLE, IN 46921

1211 W 1000 N, DEEDSVILLE, IN 46921
Suspension date: 11/9/2018
Reason: Lease terminated by Lessor ...
DODSON, TX 79230

DODSON, TX 79230

581 BROADWAY AVE, DODSON, TX 79230
Suspension date: 3/7/2015
Reason: Lease terminated by Postal Service ...
DOE RUN, MO 63637

DOE RUN, MO 63637

3114 HIGHWAY 221, DOE RUN, MO 63637
Suspension date: 4/23/2011
Reason: Damaged - Explosion ...
DRESHER, PA 19025

DRESHER, PA 19025

1405 DRESHERTOWN RD, DRESHER, PA 19025
Suspension date: 9/21/2012
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
DUBRE, KY 42731

DUBRE, KY 42731

13368 GLASGOW RD, DUBRE, KY 42731
Suspension date: 12/3/2010
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
DUNBAR, KY 42219

DUNBAR, KY 42219

4795 ROCHESTER RD, DUNBAR, KY 42219
Suspension date: 1/10/2014
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...
DUNDEE, NJ 07055

DUNDEE, NJ 07055

Finance Station ...
EAST JEWETT, NY 12424

EAST JEWETT, NY 12424

1263 ROUTE 23C, EAST JEWETT, NY 12424
Suspension date: 9/30/2013
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...
EMBUDO, NM 87531

EMBUDO, NM 87531

1989 US HIGHWAY 68, EMBUDO, NM 87531
Suspension date: 10/1/2017
Reason: Lease Terminated Lessor ...
EXPORT CARRIER SECTION, PA 15632

EXPORT CARRIER SECTION, PA 15632

5820 KENNEDY AVE, EXPORT, PA 15632, EXPORT, PA 15632
Suspension date: 6/26/2008
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FIELD, MO 63108

FIELD, MO 63108

625 N EUCLID AVE STE 110, SAINT LOUIS, MO 63108
Suspension date: 6/13/2013
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FIFTY LAKES, MN 56448

FIFTY LAKES, MN 56448

40475 COUNTY ROAD 3, FIFTY LAKES, MN 56448
Suspension date: 1/17/2014
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FINANCE STATION U, IL 60637

FINANCE STATION U, IL 60637

956 E 58TH ST, CHICAGO, IL 60637
Suspension date: 5/9/2013
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FIVE POINTS, TN 38457

FIVE POINTS, TN 38457

865 RABBIT TRAIL RD, FIVE POINTS, TN 38457
Suspension date: 4/20/2012
Reason: Lease terminated by Postal Service ...
FORT MONROE, VA 23651

FORT MONROE, VA 23651

102 MCNAIR DR, FORT MONROE, VA 23651
Suspension date: 9/1/2011
Reason: Military facility closed under BRAC ...
FRANKLIN SPRINGS, NY 13341

FRANKLIN SPRINGS, NY 13341

3659 ROUTE 12B, FRANKLIN SPRINGS, NY 13341
Suspension date: 1/25/2013
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FREDONIA, TX 76842

FREDONIA, TX 76842

108 MAIN ST, FREDONIA, TX 76842
Suspension date: 11/22/2013
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...
FREEPORT, KS 67049

FREEPORT, KS 67049

102 W MAIN ST, FREEPORT, KS 67049
Suspension date: 9/17/2016
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
FRONT STREET, TN 38103

FRONT STREET, TN 38103

1 N FRONT ST, MEMPHIS, TN 38103
Suspension date: 8/30/2010
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
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GATEWAY, GA 31792


Suspension date: 10/1/2000
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
GIBBONSVILLE, ID 83466

GIBBONSVILLE, ID 83466

DAHLONEGA CREEK RD, GIBBONSVILLE, ID 83466
Suspension date: 4/16/1999
Reason: Lease terminated by lessor ...
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GIVEN, WV 25245

4387 GIVEN RD, GIVEN, WV 25245
Suspension date: 7/14/2012
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...
GLEN, WV 25088

GLEN, WV 25088

4800 BOMONT RD, GLEN, WV 25088
Suspension date: 8/28/2015
Reason: Safety/Health Concerns ...