Possible mail processing closure might affect Yakima employees

YAKIMA -- Just two months after announcing a proposal to move Yakima's postal processing to the Tri-Cities, the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing its mail-processing operations in Pasco.

"The situation has gotten a little more serious since we initially announced we might be moving our Yakima operations to Pasco," Seattle-based Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson said. "We're continuing to lose mail volume, continuing to operate under a tight financial situation."

A July hearing on the proposal to move processing from Yakima to Pasco -- which likely would end a Yakima postmark and cost 19 jobs -- drew 300 people angry about what they believe would be delayed delivery and major inconveniences for businesses that depend on the service.

The Postal Service is looking at 252 processing centers nationwide for closure or consolidation, and Swanson said a public meeting may be scheduled in Pasco in the coming weeks as officials continue to weigh their options. Swanson said a decision would likely be made regarding the Yakima and Pasco processing centers by the end of December.

"If it doesn't look feasible to close them, then obviously we won't proceed, but at this point it's worth looking into," Swanson said.

Consolidation also could make mailing letters overnight a thing of the past locally and nationwide, Swanson said.