Post office

After two years of talks, officials on Friday confirmed that the Glenoaks post office will be closed. (Raul Roa/Staff photographer / June 21, 2013)

After two years of hand-wringing by residents, the Glenoaks post office in Burbank will be closed and its two employees will be reassigned, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed Friday.

The news comes less than two months after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called the potential closure “misguided,” adding that it would “degrade the quality of service and further debilitate an important and historic part of American life.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Schiff reiterated those sentiments, adding that, over the long term, “it is a slow death by a thousand cuts.”

“Instead, the Postal Service should work with Congress to pursue a larger, more comprehensive approach to its financial health,” he said. “The closure of the Glenoaks postal facility will only hamper residents’ ability to access the mail and hurt local businesses.”

Closing the station at 1634 North San Fernando Blvd. has been on the cash-strapped agency’s radar for two years. The station’s revenue in recent years has steadily declined as access to postal services has expanded to grocery stores, pharmacies, office supply stores and online, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher.

“A generation ago, if you wanted to buy a stamp, you had no choice but to go to the post office. Now we have contracts with almost every grocery store,” Maher said. “Because we’ve expanded access, that actually lowers revenue at our individual post offices.”

Operations at the Glenoaks branch — including its Post Office Box service — will be consolidated to the Downtown Burbank Post Office, located about a mile away at 135 East Olive Ave. Customers will still be able to keep their P.O. Box number and zip code, Maher said.

Post office customers on Friday lamented the planned closing.

For more than 13 years, Angela Holmes, 50, and her mother both had P.O. Boxes at the Glenoaks branch.

When her mother died last year, Holmes kept her P.O. Box, even though another branch sat closer to her Burbank home.

The Glenoaks office, she said, is “more comfortable — it's quick, it's convenient,” she said. “And I feel my mom's spirit here too.”

The convenience of its location was also a cited by Bob Emerson, 53, who said he uses the post office once a week to mail his music to record companies and packages to family on the East Coast.

Emerson, who works walking distance from the branch, said it will be a struggle to get to another location since his lunch breaks are just an hour long.

“Bummer,” he said. “I don't know if I'll have time to do what I have to do at the other [post office.]”

The U.S. Postal Service plans to sell the Glenoaks building after the station closes, though Maher declined to discuss its value. Still, postal officials project a 10-year cost savings of $740,000 on building maintenance, utilities and transportation, Maher said.

The two employees who currently work at the Glenoaks station — neither of whom are letter carriers — will be reassigned to another location in Burbank, he added.

One of them, George Barutyan, said he'd like to see the office remain open. A 16-year postal service employee, he said he has worked at the Glenoaks station for six months.

With just two other full-service post offices in Burbank that are “already busy — they're both going to be worse,” he added.

Last year, the postal service lost $15.9 billion — $11 billion of which Maher attributed to its obligation to pre-fund its retirement health benefit program. And so far, Congress has not delivered legislation that would ease the burden, Maher said.

“Right now, there’s nothing that is close to being passed at Congress,” Maher said. “We cannot reach financial solvency without Congress acting.”

Three years ago, the Magnolia Park Post Office in Burbank closed its doors, the result of the agency’s financial losses due to the economic recession and the digitization of services. When the Glenoaks station closes, two full-service post offices will remain in Burbank, though roughly 15 post offices are located within five miles of the branch.

Appeals to the closure plan must be filed to the Postal Regulatory Commission — located at 901 New York Ave. NW, Ste. 200, Washington, D.C., 20268 — within 30 days. If none are filed, the soonest the agency could close the branch would be in 60 days, Maher said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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