Fate Unclear for Closing House Post Offices’ Space

Posted September 6, 2013 at 1:47pm

Room 2106 of the Rayburn House Office Building has that distinct post office smell —stamp adhesive, Priority Mail cardboard and paper — but the packing labels and shipping boxes lining the blue-carpeted room will disappear by Sept. 30.

The Rayburn Post Office is one of three mail facilities on the House side of the Capitol that are scheduled for closure at the end of the month because of low usage. The others are located in the basement of the Capitol near the West Terrace exit and on the second floor of the Cannon House Office Building.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, the Rayburn Post Office’s sole employee, Tony Addison, sorted through a stack of envelopes. The sound of peeling packing tape screeched through the small room as the lone customer wrapped her package.

House Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel confirmed the offices would be closing in an Aug. 30 letter to members and staff.

“In an effort to reduce expenses and increase efficiency, the United States Postal Service and the Chief Administrative Office have mutually agreed to consolidate Capitol Hill postal facilities,” Strodel wrote.

The fate of all three rooms is unclear.

The House Office Building Commission, part of Speaker John A. Boehner’s office, determines how to fill the space. A source close to the process said the rooms would not sit empty, especially in the basement of the Capitol, where space is at a premium.

Red, white and blue stripes line the perimeter of room H-101, the current home of the Capitol Post Office. Construction of additional storage units has narrowed hallways near the office, suggesting that storage could be an option for the tiny, nondescript space.

USPS employees at the closing locations will be incorporated into the consolidated mail service at the surviving locations, according to a supervisor at the Longworth Post Office.

On Thursday, Addison said that he would be moved to either the Longworth or Ford Post Office in October. Both locations are tucked away in basement hallways, so Addison will lose his window.

Gesturing toward the sunny view of Independence Avenue Southwest, Addison joked, “This is prime real estate.”