North City Post Office: Good News - Bad News

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Current post offices. North City, in the center of the map
will be closed December 31, 2017

By Diane Hettrick

Greg Shelton, from the U.S. Postal Service Real Estate division in Colorado, held a meeting on Monday evening at Shoreline City Hall to inform patrons of the plans for the North City Post Office functions.

As you may recall, the North City Post Office is on land the Federal postal service leased from a private owner. The private owner sold the land to new owners, who are developing the property and building an apartment building on the site. The area is zoned Commercial Business. (see previous article)

The Good News:
  • No employee will lose their job. The work still needs to be done - it will just be done in a different location. They will probably be inconvenienced during the process and parking may be a challenge.
  • Postal box holders will be able to keep their addresses and get their mail.
  • Residential customers will not notice any difference in mail delivery.
  • They have the capability to move the entire North City operation in one day and be up and running the next.
The Bad News:
  • They have to vacate the current premises at NE 175th and 15th NE in North City on December 31, 2017.
  • They have no prospects for a new site.
  • They absolutely cannot stay past December 31. The building will be demolished right after the first of the year.
  • They cannot lease space in the new building. They asked. 
They need space for both retail operations and carriers. Retail refers to the postal boxes and the counter. "Carriers" refers to the employees who sort and deliver the mail and their vehicles.

They would need 19,648 sq ft for everything, with parking for customers, employees, and the carrier vans. Retail alone would be 4,329 sq ft with parking for about 25. Carrier only would be 15,785 sq ft with parking for about 125.

There are a lot of ideas under consideration.
  • Move to one or two temporary locations while continuing to search for a permanent location.
  • Lease some space for the postal boxes to sit in large units like those used in apartment buildings.
  • Lease some space to set up a drive-through for blue collection bins.
  • Direct people to the existing blue bins around the city.
  • Direct people to other post offices to drop off their mail.
They are open to leasing or buying property. They are pretty desperate for ideas and welcome input from the community. If you know of possible locations, mail them to:
U.S. Postal Service
Attn: Greg Shelton - Shoreline
200 E. Kentucky Ave
Denver CO 80209-9950
Monday is a start of a 30 day comment period, which would go to the same address.

Shelton is working with CBRE and went out looking at property on Monday. Some possibilities - the former Office Depot in Mountlake Terrace just off Ballinger Way. There is some empty space in Ballinger Village. Gateway Plaza has a large available space previously occupied by a liquor store and a handbag store; however the parking is already full there. Parkwood Plaza, 15200 Aurora, has space but it's very close to the Bitter Lake post office. The current police station on 185th is a real possibility, but it won't be available until May. 

Aurora Square was on the list but crossed off because Sears has leased the space. However, there are other spaces in that complex and a lot of parking and loading docks.

Shelton said that perhaps the North (Brugger's Bog) maintenance yard could be used to park carriers.

Other ideas that were rejected:
  • No, you can't use the church property on 15th NE. North City Water District is in full swing planning for that site.
  • You might be able to negotiate with the water district for use of their old maintenance facility but it's too small for them, so would not be big enough for the post office.
  • Fircrest belongs the the state. DSHS has their own ideas for the property.
  • The open land by the Blue Bridges is already in the permitting process.

Shelton seemed unaware that there was another city in the 98155 zip code and had not contacted the City of Lake Forest Park, but said he would. 

They will send notices to Shoreline Area News for publication to let people know where to pick up their mail.

Members of the audience had a variety of concerns. A business owner said he had to have uninterrupted access to his postal box. An employee of the state public health lab next to Fircrest was concerned about mailing and receiving their samples for newborn testing. A snowbird said she was leaving town in December and having the post office hold her mail until April. "How will I know where to pick it up?" (I gave her my card).

Rep. Pramila Jayapal's representative was there to see if there was anything her office could do to help. Shoreline City Manager Debbie Tarry was there.

This looks to be a long process. Watch this space.

Updated 10-25-17 with more Bad News points
Correction: the reference was to the North Maintenance Yard, not the Hamlin Park yard


Ann Erickson,  October 25, 2017 at 9:36 AM  

Thank you Diane, for this excellent news coverage! This will affect many people and is a real need to know for our community.

Janet Way October 25, 2017 at 9:57 AM  

I have to say this is an absolute disaster for Shoreline! It is a mega planning failure on a scale with the Hamlin Park fiasco!

The City Council needs to step up and DO SOMETHING!

Dan Eernisee, what were you thinking?

Our Post Offices should be considered an essential part of our community. Not an afterthought,

And what is with the allowance for the development in a Community Business Zone to have no Community Business? And what is with Councilmember Keith McGlashan, when asked at the Briarcrest forum to have no knowledge about this topic or understanding that it is a Community Business Zone?

What is wrong with the planning in Shoreline that all we seem to do is make propose stupid ideas that have a negative impact on our citizens.

Wake up Shoreline!

New management Needed!

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 11:21 AM  

What about the 18336 Aurora have north buy the Bartell's,Starbucks,Becu and Little Caesar it used to be the old liquor store plenty of parking in the back just down the road is the police station.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 11:37 AM  

I'm so grateful that Janet continues to pay attention and speak out on issues like this - this city needs more gadflies! If North City is going to be a robust enclave new development should have retail at ground level - even if store fronts are empty now, they probably won't be once all the apartments are developed. And if they are still empty after all the new residents move in, that should necessitate some inquiry as to why - startup expenses too high? burdensome taxes to support grandiose dreams of city council?

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 11:40 AM  

Let's put the post office along Aurora on the interurban trail. That grass seems a waste of water and taxable ground - and the sculptures would be enhanced by blue mailboxes and little white trucks.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 12:09 PM  

Agree with Janet way. Do we really need another apartment house dot-dot-dot or anywhere? The city is already overcrowded and is going to pot. Enough is enough. Why don't we kick the access buses out of their location at 5th and NE 165th. It is a nuisance to have them in that location. They are using the residential streets to test the buses after working on them. They use Northeast 160th for eating their lunch or taking breaks. Come on council , wake up!

Dave Lange,  October 25, 2017 at 12:37 PM  

I believe the USPS is looking at the Bog Maintenance Yard, not Hamlin Park.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 12:52 PM  

The city council can zone all day long, if the business community does not choose to include a post office that needs 125 parking stalls in their apartment building design, how can anyone make them do so? And why would we exert communist level control over private businesses?

I am sick of Janet Way using every difficult issue to attack the Shoreline City Council. The council does not have a magic wand to make businesses and landowners lease to who you want them to. Why on earth did the USPS sign a lease that allows such short notice termination?

This will all work out, stop twisting everything to blame the city council. if people wanted Janet Way to stay on the city council after it was discovered that she colluded in illegal back room meetings, they would have re elected her.

DKH October 25, 2017 at 10:30 PM  

Dave - you are right - I've corrected the article.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2017 at 10:43 PM  

Anonymous at 12:09 pm. Everyone is clamoring for more affordable housing. The only way to get back to affordable is to increase supply to meet- or better yet exceed - demand so demand does not drive up prices.

And how is the city council supposed to tell a landowner that they cannot sell their property for a use it is zoned for? Were you thinking the planning commission could zone that parcel for post office only?

Do people really think these crazy things, or is this just campaign BS getting dragged into every possible issue? Let's blame climate change on the city council, and while we are at it, I am sure they are responsible for that lemon car I bought last year. off with their heads!

E October 26, 2017 at 12:44 PM  

Janet is right in my opinion. Our council seems more interested in developer relations than community ones. Why have they not step up, talked with the state and get use of the old Food Lifeline building at Fircrest even just short term a year or so as we all know the state wont do anything with it for a long while.

Are there any old school sites not being used?

Hey council...your community is hoping you care enough to step up and do what you should be doing. And hopefully we all can remember and vote.

reader October 26, 2017 at 12:50 PM  

They should check out the North Park Heating & Sheetmetal property at 19204 Ballinger. It seems the company has closed, and there is a retail building as well as a couple of warehouse/outbuildings.

Anonymous,  October 27, 2017 at 12:25 PM  

Wow. Shoreline needs to have proper infrastructure if it wants to be a city, if not, then do we go back to being unincorporated? I do not think it is a good idea to kick out other needed neighborhood amenities (e.g., Bartells, BECU, etc.) to add the Post Office, we need to have amenities too. I like the idea of using the old police station since it already exists. I also like the idea of combining to save money. Can a second story be added to a large structure like Costco to provide a place? Just a thought. I hope others come up with some ideas. Argh!

Anonymous,  October 27, 2017 at 3:13 PM  

Why in the world are all of you people beating up the city over a screw up made by a FEDERAL agency?

This property wasn't rezoned.

The post office never owned it.

The property owner is exercising his right to sell or develop property he owns as he sees fit. Would you accept any less for property that you owned?

It isn't the city's fault that they couldn't be bothered to thoroughly read their own lease agreement.

Too many of you have drunk the Janet Juice and left behind critical thought.

Janet Way October 30, 2017 at 9:29 AM  

Because “Anonymous” (genius), it should have been the City’s responsibility to prevent this fiasco! Not to make excuses and scramble after the fact to find some location for an essential public facility like the Post Office!

Anonymous,  October 30, 2017 at 5:31 PM  

I think many people missed this point made by Janet "And what is with the allowance for the development in a Community Business Zone to have no Community Business?" This is important. It is not telling the property owner what to build, it is enforcing the zoning for that property. Also, I remember when Shoreline had 3 post offices, and now we're down to 1 that will be gone at the end of the year. We are a city of over 53,000 people, we need our onw post office!

Anonymous,  November 18, 2017 at 11:15 AM  

I'm glad to see the old Post office with obnoxious front end staff gone

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