West Seattle Junction Post Office mailbox followup: No news isn’t always good news

(WSB photo from January, before damaged mailbox was removed)

Since we reported back in January on the out-of-service West Seattle Junction Post Office drive-up/ride-up mailbox – which commenter Tim reported was removed a day after our story – we’ve continued to ask the US Postal Service when its replacement will arrive. So have customers, and some have contacted us with the question too. We asked again, and basically, local USPS media liaison Ernie Swanson replied this afternoon, they still don’t know:

The Manager of the West Seattle Station is still waiting on delivery of the new drive-up mail collection box. He does not have a date when the box is expected to be available. The Postal Service apologizes to its customers regarding the inconvenience this is causing.

No word on the root cause of this – backlog at the mailbox factory? or? – so we are now pursuing that angle.

46 Replies to "West Seattle Junction Post Office mailbox followup: No news isn't always good news"

  • Gatewooder March 7, 2017 (3:13 pm)

    This is ridiculous.  Mailboxes are standard across the country, with many, many thousands of this same type being used.  If it takes this long to replace a box that is damaged. how confident can we be for our mail to be delivered promptly?  The same exact thing happened at the post office at Westwood Village, it took months to replace the damaged box there.  A replacement of a simple component should take 2 days, not 4 months.  I’m getting really tired of having to park my car and then go inside to mail letters.  It’s already bad enough that I have to drive to a post office in the first place, now that I can’t simply walk to my neighborhood mailbox because it was removed a few years ago.

  • Craig March 7, 2017 (3:38 pm)

    I understand Gatewooder!  Getting into a car, driving, parking, entering a building, waiting in a line….AFTER having to fold the correspondence AND licking the envelope!  Thanks Obama.  

  • Eric1 March 7, 2017 (3:40 pm)

    Wow you must have a different carrier than I do.  I’m not at all confident that my USPS carrier delivers mail to my house at all let alone promptly.  I only use the USPS when the item isn’t more than $10. Everything else goes UPS/FEDEX or to my workplace which seems to have a competent USPS employee.


    Perhaps it is just the Westwood Village post office that is bad. When our metal drop box was out of service, the post office probably lost its most competent employee.

    • Katie March 8, 2017 (6:26 am)

      Wow. That’s sad. My mail carrier is great. Friendly and always makes sure to put my packages out of sight to reduce the chance of theft. Never had an issue getting or sending anything. 

  • Colette March 7, 2017 (3:43 pm)

    I don’t understand what the delay is.  While I have gone over  to using the  internet for most things (such as paying bills), sometimes you need to mail a card or special payment.  How does this affect those who can’t easily walk to a post office?

  • Just Wondering March 7, 2017 (3:49 pm)

    Maybe the shop class at West Seattle High School can build one?

  • Seattlite March 7, 2017 (3:51 pm)

    I would like to add that the WSJunction Post Office needs to restripe their arrows for ingress and egress before installing the new mailbox.  I’ve noticed a few drivers pulling into the exit driveway from the street which creates a lot of problems.

    • Dave March 7, 2017 (5:58 pm)

      Yeah I was the one that got them to install the arrows about 2 years ago. Can’t believe people don’t know how to enter and exit with or without arrows. I see it all the time, just last week in fact.

    • Dave March 7, 2017 (9:04 pm)

      People can’t use the correct enter and exit lanes at the Safeway gas station either, despite white painted arrows and words.

  • Lola March 7, 2017 (4:23 pm)

    They are probably going to close down this post office but do not want to tell anybody yet.  They probably do not have a mailbox on order at all. 

  • sw March 7, 2017 (4:28 pm)

    There are options for mailing besides the two Post Offices:  Mailboxes West in Morgan Junction, Admiral Junction Mailing Center and Alki Mail & Dispatch in Admiral.  I believe you can even do USPS mail at The UPS Store in Jefferson Square.  

  • Rick March 7, 2017 (4:41 pm)

    Maybe people should start driving through and dropping a penny in the “mail slot.”  They might feel a little more motivated when they have a parking lot full of pennies.  At least the impact/size of the problem would the visible.

  • Jon Wright March 7, 2017 (4:46 pm)

    I have NEVER had what I would deem a positive interaction with that particular post office. This is just more of the same. I feel like everyone there has just stopped caring and is playing out the string until the whole organization is shutdown, relegated to irrelevance in the modern age.

  • norskgirl March 7, 2017 (4:54 pm)

    I wonder if it has even been ordered? 

  • old timer March 7, 2017 (5:03 pm)

     Too bad,  with POs closing , I’m sure these drop boxes are not an item kept in the “warehouse”.

    Did anyone speak with Westwood to see how they got theirs replaced?



  • JHC March 7, 2017 (5:18 pm)

    You all act like this is the one and only mailbox in West Seattle. There is literally another mailbox you can drop mail into up the block. 

    • Dave March 7, 2017 (5:55 pm)

      I wish the blue boxes were as prevalent as they used to be. About half have been removed over the years. To save money? More people mail stuff now with ecommerce being so popular. This post office is run over all the time because population has boomed and this PO is the same it was in 1962.

    • West Seattle since 1979 March 8, 2017 (6:16 am)

      There might still be one at the southeast corner of 42nd and Alaska, in front of Jefferson Square. You’d have to park though–there’s no drive-up slot.

  • Lindsey March 7, 2017 (5:38 pm)

    Good grief people! There are so many options for USPS mail drop off including Mailbox West, Alki Mail & Dispatch, leaving outgoing mail for your carrier to pick up, taking your outgoing mail to your work (if that is an option), or one of the other USPS drop boxes that can be found by using the Find Location tool on their website. It literally took me 30 seconds to search for this and find several Blue Boxes within 1 mile of my zip code. Just use the drop down and select “collection boxes” or any of the other services you might need.

    Be contentious of the fact the these are PEOPLE who work for USPS and while you may not like the organization that handles your mail, we should respect those individuals as human beings who are likely doing the best they can with the resources they have. Some of them are locals in our community, like my postal carrier Tim who even visited his routes “Night Out” picnics to say hello.

    If you aren’t happy with your service, you can in fact contact the post office and place a formal complaint with the manager.   The postal workers are just doing their job and if you don’t think they are providing the customer service you expect, you are certainly able to report that.  I’m sure that there are protocols that must be followed when
    placing/executing an order for replacement, as likely with any large
    organization,  even if you think those protocols are unwarranted, a road block, take too long, etc.

    • Jon Wright March 7, 2017 (6:09 pm)

      Yes, I can leave outgoing mail in my box at home. What’s one of the number one topics posted about on the blog? That’s right, mail theft. Not so sure I want to leave a bunch of envelopes full of checks where someone could get them. And since the mail carrier literally comes to my house at a different, unknown time every day it’s not like I can wait to put stuff out right before they come.

      Plenty of other places to leave mail? You are correct! I have three young kids. I suppose I could park the car somewhere and run in and mail stuff but last time I checked leaving my kids in the car unattended is against the law. Schlepping all three kids out of the car and back in is a headache just to mail a stinking letter. Most of those other blue boxes that are findable within 30 seconds have scaled back their pickup time to be very early, like noon.

      I have had plenty of problems with the West Seattle post office for which I have filed plenty of complaints. I either got an ambivalent response or no response whatsoever. There is a saying that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution so I don’t buy the innocent bystander theory about the people working there.

      It’s not like a secure, drive-up mailbox is some ridiculous ask. What is ridiculous is our local post office’s inability to deliver a basic service like this.

    • HappyOnAlki March 7, 2017 (6:19 pm)

      Hear, hear, Lindsey! Ditto everything you said!

    • M March 7, 2017 (7:22 pm)

      I have filed complaints with the manager in the past and he is worthless in addressing issues.  I even filed complaints against the manager to the main post office in Seattle.

  • Kadoo March 7, 2017 (5:40 pm)

    A friend who retired from the PO said commenting on USPO is the only way to get things done if you have a problem. Ridiculous that the drive through has been gone for so long. 

    • Kadoo March 7, 2017 (5:57 pm)

      I just went to US Postal Service.  Click help, contact us.  Customer Service.  Send an email.  No tracking number.  Click on postal facility.  Select equipment.  Broken equipment.  You’ll have to give an estimate of when (date and time) the problem occurred.   I seem to recall that the mailbox was damaged, people were depositing mail although it wasn’t being monitored consistently, and then the mailbox was simply removed.  I mentioned that we’ve received vague answers from the local post office.  It’s worth a shot.  

  • PO customer March 7, 2017 (5:45 pm)

    The Junction isn’t the only PO without a drive-thru mailbox. The Des Moines post office also had its drive-thru mailbox removed.

  • Dave March 7, 2017 (5:51 pm)

    I was just thinking about this today. 2 plus months is more than enough time. This is ridiculous unless we are a 3rd world country.

  • TA March 7, 2017 (5:52 pm)

    I am amazed at all the negativity about the California and Genessee post office staff. I have had wonderful, kind, and patient service from everyone at the counters there. Each mail carrier has become known by name to our family and all have been trusted as if they were a member of the family! In an emergency, it was the mail carrier who ran into the house to turn off the water that was feeding a broken faucet as well as the mail carrier who shooed the dog back into the yard and closed the open gate. The same carriers were also the ones to knock on the door to let us know a door had been left open or a light had been left on in the car. Perhaps those of you who feel you have been treated unsatisfactorily by this staff should consider getting to know them as well as imagining yourself in their shoes for a day!

    • M March 7, 2017 (7:25 pm)

      Our regular mail carrier is great.  It’s the substitutes that continue to mis deliver mail. 

  • valvashon March 7, 2017 (6:00 pm)

    On the plus side, since you have to go in, it has created about two new parking spaces where the blue box used to be.  Why not?  Park with your wheels next to (but not on) the sidewalk and you won’t be blocking anybody who chooses to drive through the lot for whatever reason.  Yeah, that’s my car you’ve seen parked there.

  • Carole A Allen March 7, 2017 (7:12 pm)

    I have no issues with staff, because I can never find a parking spot anywhere closer than my own home.  Cant get near enough to even use the automatic machine.  Today I drove to the Westwood office to buy stamps and mail some letters.  Lots of parking.  Also used Chase bank for a deposit  (no parking at Admiral branch either)  and hey I was there, so added a few other errands that otherwise would have been done in the junction.

  • steve March 7, 2017 (7:26 pm)

    Good idea valvashon. I certainly don’t mind walking in to send my mail, but it’s ridiculous when I have to park at holy rosary and have to walk in. There’s never any parking. I guess it’s not the slow ol’ w seattle I used to know. Oh well. 

  • Gina March 7, 2017 (7:31 pm)

    Of course if you mail packages at Mailboxes West or Admiral Mail or Alki Dispatch they have to add a surcharge mandated by the USPS. But for dropping off stamped items they are convenient.

  • Judy March 7, 2017 (7:52 pm)

    It seemed like an eternity before the Westwood Mail Box was returned.  People got used to parking in the drive through line….and some still do!

  • Chris Cowman March 7, 2017 (10:33 pm)

    Yet they spend millions on new stamp designs…

    • Katie March 8, 2017 (6:31 am)

      Millions?  What’s the cost breakdown there?  Millions over 25 years? 1 year?  Including the cost of manufacturing?

  • 22blades March 8, 2017 (8:04 am)

    Not one of these posts have even mentioned the real root of the problem. This is a hit & run of property, in this case Federal infrastructure. Some irresponsible driver took it out and left. My motto; you break it, you buy it. We’ve gotten to the point that it’s normal to act like it’s not a crime until you get caught.

    Don’t rail on the USPS for this one. “We” did it to ourselves.

    • WSB March 8, 2017 (8:12 am)

      When was the hit-and-run to which you refer? When we first reported on this in January (linked above), the description was that the mailbox “has been run into by vehicles and tampered with by vandals over the years.” Unless it happened the night after we took the picture on the 19th, the mailbox was still standing (albeit banged up as shown) until removed on the 20th. (P.S. I’m still trying to find the company that makes – or made – these boxes! Have been pinging a few possibilities but so far haven’t found it.)

  • Eman March 8, 2017 (8:31 am)

    Why is the U.S. Post Office in financial trouble? Hmmm.

    • Craig March 8, 2017 (11:48 am)

      Republicans and a little poison pill requiring the USPS to fund retirement 75 years out.

  • Chuck March 8, 2017 (9:07 am)

    At a loss why a new mailbox wasn’t ordered AHEAD of the removal of the old? They could’ve swapped it out the same day and then rehabbed the old for the next swap out.    Thought the same when the Westwood mailbox was gone for months.   I don’t know how many of these get replaced annually, can’t be many.  Would it be such a bad idea to have one in inventory ready to replace a damaged one as needed?

  • zark00 March 8, 2017 (11:14 am)

    They removed a bunch of blue boxes after the anthrax thing in 2001 – they freaked people out.

    And those are, I assume, made to order by AF Florence right?

    You wouldn’t just make blue collection boxes constantly – they last for 50+ years unless people on phones run them over.

    I can easily imagine it taking a few months for a government agency, currently under attack by the right who want it dismantled and destroyed, to get that order approved and through.

    The post office is great; it’s cheap, it’s reliable and they are the largest employer of veterans period. 

    Support your local post office.

  • Thinkaboutit March 8, 2017 (2:33 pm)

    As there are over 30,000 post offices in the US, these boxes are certainly made and stockpiled somewhere. This is not the first drive up drop box to be tampered with or accidentally hit by a car, as cars are lined up all day long  trying to drive past it as close as humanly possible. I don’t think they are waiting at the box factory for a go ahead to make another box, because one got squashed/tampered/burned in west Seattle..

  • Wb March 8, 2017 (10:09 pm)

    “The drive-up mail collection box at the West Seattle Post Office has been run into by vehicles and tampered with by vandals over the years. “

    Nuff said

  • 22blades March 9, 2017 (6:24 am)

    “When was the hit-and-run to which you refer?”

    I guess I could have articulated that better. I am referring to the mailboxes, and other publically placed facilities that get damaged (repeatedly) without anybody owning up to damaging them. If somebody came over and hit your mailbox, fence or landscaping, it would not be right to just drive off. Damaging property, be it public or private can’t just be written off to normal wear & tear. They will both cost you out of pocket or your taxes. It’s also an issue of civility.

    I will say that the design was not the best in that the box didn’t have metal-concrete bollards to protect it. Most public facilities have them for gate readers, mailboxes, ATM’s, etc…

Sorry, comment time is over.