09/18/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2020 14:35
'This is a win for the Central District community and for public services, powered by hundreds of activists who worked with our office to demand that the federal government restore our neighborhood Post Office'
Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council's Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, welcomed the re-opening on Monday, September 21 of the Central District's Post Office, which was closed two years ago due to gentrification in the neighborhood.
The new Post Office, at 2207 East Union, will officially open on Monday at 9:00 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Councilmember Sawant encouraged community members to attend, wearing masks and observing proper social distancing because of COVID.
'The return of our Central District (CD) Post Office is a welcome development, especially given the current attacks on the Post Office by the Trump administration,' Sawant said. 'This is a win for the Central District community and for public services, powered by hundreds of activists who worked with our office to demand that the federal government restore our neighborhood Post Office. Thanks also to the US Postal Service, the members of the Greater Seattle Local of the American Postal Workers Union, the members of the Central Area Senior Center, and the hundreds of other neighbors who wrote letters and signed petitions demanding restoration of the Central District Post Office.'
'In late 2018, the US Postal Service closed the Post Office at 23rd and Union, without any plans to re-open another CD Post Office. For years, the 23rd and Union Post Office had served tens of thousands of people who lived in Central Seattle and who depended on it for buying stamps, mailing and receiving packages, maintaining postal boxes, and getting help with mailing services. The closure left the entire area from Mount Baker to Montlake effectively as a Post Office desert, which especially affects working people, the elderly, communities of color, and struggling small businesses.'
'As a socialist City Councilmember, I am committed to defending public services, and as many people reached out to my Council office about this issue, we put together a plan,' Sawant said. 'Our Council office, along with community members and members of the American Postal Workers Union, organized a community petition in the spring of 2019, garnering more than 660 signatures, which we presented to US Postal Service managers at a public meeting attended by more than 80 people. Several dozen people wrote letters as well. As a result of our advocacy, the Post Office announced in mid-2019 they would open a new CD facility. Renovations were delayed because of COVID but they are now done, and we can look forward to having a new CD Post Office.'
Sawant pointed out that the issue is indeed about more than the neighborhood's Post Office.
'Our community is dealing with massive gentrification and displacement of working-class people - disproportionately affecting communities of color - due to profit-seeking developers and a political establishment that has served the corporate agenda. The Democratic and Republican establishment in the State Legislature have overseen chronic underfunding of public schools, affordable housing, and social services, while offering a tax haven for big business and the super-wealthy.'
'The community that needs the Post Office is the same community that is struggling to hold on to affordable housing. Far too many working-class homeowners and renters are being driven out of our city. That's wrong. And when we see the public institutions that symbolize a healthy community disappear, that's also wrong. I congratulate everybody who wrote letters, signed our petition, and came to our community meeting to advocate for our community. This Post Office victory builds on our historic Tax Amazon win earlier this summer which, among other things, commits the City to invest a minimum of $18 million/year in affordable housing in the CD beginning in 2022, to help bring back Black households.'
'And this issue goes beyond our neighborhood: We know that the Post Office is under unprecedented and vicious attack by the Trump administration. They would like nothing more than to tear down this vital public service, and put mail delivery in the hands of big business profiteers. We are in solidarity with the American Postal Workers Union and allies, who are fighting back against this attack. In a small way, the re-opening of our Post Office at 2207 East Union is a blow against right-wing attacks on social services,' Sawant said.
Sawant also encouraged community members to continue to patronize local mail-service businesses, such as The Postman, a local Black-owned small business on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.