Postal service slashes Burton office’s hours

Next month the Burton post office’s hours will be drastically reduced.

Beginning July 5, the small post office will be open just over 13 hours a week, less than half the 31 hours a week it’s currently open. Due to budget cuts at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), officials cut the office’s weekday afternoon hours, leaving it open from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, when it is currently open until noon, it will be open for just one hour, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Susan Griffin, Vashon’s postmaster who works out of the post office in Vashon town, said the cutbacks would be “an inconvenience to customers.”

“So may people work off the island then come and pick up their parcels in the evening,” she said.

The Burton post office was one of more than 13,000 branches nationwide targeted by the cash-strapped USPS this year for cuts, Griffin said. The decision was made based on the low traffic at the office and the nearness of the Vashon post office, which is 4 miles away.

Griffin said she was happy officials didn’t choose to completely close the post office, something they’ve done with other small branches. Due to ongoing budget shortfalls, USPS also proposed ending Saturday delivery nationwide in August, a plan that was stopped by Congress in April/

“This is just something they’re doing gradually across the nation,” Griffin said of the reduced hours.

Griffin said Burton’s PO boxes would still be open 24-7, but she thought the new office hours would be an inconvenience for those with businesses in Burton as well as residents who don’t get curbside delivery of packages or aren’t able to drive to Vashon town during the day.

She said the post office was working on a method of perhaps moving packages from Burton to the Vashon office if customers wished to pick them up in the afternoon. She also suggested some customers may want to switch to curbside delivery, though mail theft could also be a concern.

“We’ll work it out; I just don’t know how yet,” she said.

No jobs will be lost in the cutbacks, Griffin added. The one employee that has staffed the Burton office will begin working part-time in Burton and part-time at the Vashon office.


Editor's noted: The print version of this article incorrectly stated that USPS still plans to end Saturday delivery.

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