Neighbors fight to keep local post offices open

Portola Auto Service owner and neighborhood resident Paul Giannini has been using the McLaren Station Post Office for 34 years, and he was dismayed to learn that the location may be slated for closure.

Two and a half months after the U.S. Postal Service notified the public that three post offices in The City were being considered for closure, residents have begun campaigning to keep their doors open — or, as Giannini calls it, a “revolt.”

In addition to McLaren Station, which is located on San Bruno Avenue near Wayland Street, the Bernal Heights Station Post Office on Tiffany Avenue and the Federal Building post offices might also be shuttered to help close a budget gap of billions.

The post offices considered for closure were chosen based on the amount of mail service they provide, and whether other options are nearby.

The Postal Service was scheduled to hold meetings in each of these neighborhoods this month, but decided to postpone them until updated figures on the amount of mail each office processes are available, Postal Service spokesman James Wigdel said.

The recession has not been easy on the U.S. Postal Service, which has seen its mail load drop from a peak of 213 billion pieces of mail processed in 2006 — the most it had ever handled — to what’s expected to be 175 billion this year, he said.

In order to cut costs, in addition to considering the closure of post offices, this summer the Postal Service also quietly closed its Pacific Carrier Annex on 19th Avenue in the Sunset district and moved the facility’s services to another carrier annex in the Bayview, Wigdel said.

Next year, it will close its seven-story Embarcadero Postal Center at Main and Harrison streets, which Wigdel said is 40 percent empty and will be sold. The USPS has already purchased a new, smaller building several blocks southwest, on Townsend Street near Sixth Street.

Wigdel said the USPS won’t make a final decision about closing the three post offices until it hears from each neighborhood.

“The Postal Service can count on hearing from Bernal Heights,” said resident Terry Milne.

“It would be just devastating for our community to lose our post office,” he said. “They moved the post office across the street a few years ago, and even that transition confused people and created anxiety. If they close it, it’ll be much more difficult.”

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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