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Postal Service to close Wenatchee mail center, cut 20 local jobs

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The Wenatchee mail processing center in Olds Station, serving 41 communities in North Central Washington, has been slated for closure by the U.S. Postal Service.

WENATCHEE — The region’s mail processing center here will be shut down and operations moved to Spokane as part of a nationwide move by the U.S. Postal Service to trim billions of dollars in losses.

The Wenatchee center and five others will be consolidated into two — in Spokane and Seattle — with up to 300 jobs statewide getting the ax. No timeline was announced for the closures.

The Postal Service made the announcement this morning after months of local speculation on the fate of the local mail processing facility and its 49 employees in Olds Station.

The Postal Service said it will transfer operations from mail centers in Wenatchee, Yakima and Pasco to Spokane. Centers in Everett, Olympia and Tacoma will be consolidated in Seattle.

Seattle Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson said Wenatchee would lose 20 jobs, Yakima 19, Pasco 2, Everett 97, Olympia 29 and Tacoma 139.

Swanson said the Postal Service hopes the cuts can be made through attrition without layoffs. Employees whose jobs have been cut can request transfers or move into jobs such a letter-carrier, if there are openings.

Closure of the Wenatchee center, which serves 41 communities in North Central Washington, means the bulk of NCW’s first-class stamped mail will travel to Spokane for processing and sorting before returning to the area for distribution.

Postal officials said merging operations of the agency’s huge Seattle District, which stretches from the Pacific Coast into Montana, would make use of extra operating capacity in Spokane and Seattle caused by a steep decline in the volume of stamped first-class mail.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

Reach Associated Press at or .