Closing of local post office sparks complaints

Photo: The Park Station Berkeley Post Office will close on April 30, to the dismay of many residents in the area.
Zully Juarez/Staff
The Park Station Berkeley Post Office will close on April 30, to the dismay of many residents in the area.

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Eighty-five-year old Velma Holmes, who has lived around the corner from the Park Station Berkeley Post Office for more than 20 years, said mailing packages and letters has always been easy, but in a few weeks, that part of her routine will become an inconvenience when the office closes April 30.

Community members were notified as late as last week about the decision to close the Sacramento Street office after residents, American Postal Workers Union Local 47 representatives and city officials spent over a year lobbying to keep the facility open.

"This is going to be a real hindrance to my aunt," said Malikah Taylor, Holmes' niece. "She has a car, but she would rather wait for me to take her to run her errands."

Augustine Ruiz, spokesperson for Bay-Valley District postal services, said the department considered other locations before making the final decision to close the Park Station, which is a financial center that has no PO boxes or letter carriers. Ruiz said closing the station will allow the United States Postal Service to streamline their costs.

Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore, whose district includes the post office, said he did everything he could to keep the office open - including sitting in on community forums and personally writing a letter to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, asking for her help - but he never heard back from postal service officials.

"They never made the process clear," Moore said. "The information we gave them just seemed to go into a black hole. The community probably feels disrespected because they never received a response."

Some neighboring business owners, including Sacramento Market owner, Mohamed Ali, said they were disappointed with the decision to close the Park Station office.

"If they need to trim the budget, they can do it with something else," Ali said. "(It) doesn't cost the government that much (with) only one worker there."

Ruiz said the postal service realizes people go to their neighborhood post offices to do more than just conduct business - it is a place where they socialize and meet friends, he said.

Though the nearest post office is less than two miles away, Stephen Lysaght, president of the APWU Local 47, said the Park Station neighborhood has a large number of elderly and disabled residents who will have difficulty making the trek to the other office located at 2111 San Pablo Ave.


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