Stateline residents fight potential post office closure |

Stateline residents fight potential post office closure

Dylan Silver

Dylan Silver / Tahoe Daily TribuneTwo post office box-holders converse in the Stateline post office. The branch is being considered for closure by the United States Postal Service.

STATELINE, Nev. – Stateline residents are not taking the potential closure of their post office sitting down.

“Everyone I’ve talked to is opposed to the closure,” said Kingsbury resident Robert McDowell, who’s spearheading the cause. “I haven’t talked to anyone who’s said ‘Good’ or ‘I don’t care.'”

Earlier this month, post office box-holders at the Stateline office received a letter stating that their branch was being considered for closure. McDowell has written a letter to the Postal Service’s district discontinuance coordinator opposing the closure and has encouraged other box-holders to as well.

The Postal Service is considering this branch because more than half the 4,365 mailboxes aren’t rented, the building is in need of repair and the distance to the next closest branch is 1.5 miles, USPS spokesman David Rupert said.

But McDowell and other box-holders are accusing the Postal Service of manipulating the numbers to make it look like the branch isn’t getting very much use. The Stateline office stopped renting boxes two years ago at the direction of management, McDowell said, and an employee at the Stateline office confirmed.

People looking to rent post office boxes are directed to Zephyr Cove.

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“This policy has skewed the numbers to give the illusion of ‘validity’ to closing the Stateline branch,” wrote Kingsbury resident David Lewis in an email.

Rupert responded, saying there were other reasons for closing the branch.

“The biggest thing is that there are two fully functioning post offices within a mile and a half of each other,” he said.

The Stateline building is old and in need of repair, while the Zephyr Cove facility is newer, Rupert said.

“If we’ve got to pick one, why not pick the nicer one?” he said.

McDowell said Stateline branch users were originally offered a public meeting to discuss the closure, but the Postal Service revoked that offer. The Postal Service is not required to have a public meeting to close an office, but the public comment period is still open.

Residents are protesting the closure for a variety of reasons.

“You see how busy they are here,” said resident Rod Mahaffey as he watched people come and go from the post office. “I think it would affect a lot of people if they closed.”

“There’s a lot of old people that use this post office that it would be real hard on,” said Marilyn Burke, who’s held her box there since 1976.

For Kingsbury resident Cheryl Zarachoff, changing her address would be the worst part.

“That’s probably the biggest inconvenience of all,” she said.

McDowell is protesting for other reasons.

“What’s driving me principally is the environmental and social issues that the closure will cause,” he said.

With people driving farther to get their mail, air and water quality will be impacted, McDowell said. And it’s a nice place to visit on a daily basis, he added.

“It’s kind of a social hub,” McDowell said. “Often times, when you’re at this post office you see your friends, your neighbors.”

The potential closure is part of the USPS move to shutter more than 3,600 post offices nationwide.

The earliest the post office could close would be spring, 2012, Rupert said.