Port Townsend hopes to take over historic post office
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
The post office on Washington Street in Port Townsend was opened in 1893 as a Customs House.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A property swap agreement between the city of Port Townsend and the U.S. Postal Service is proceeding but will take several years to resolve.

“It all has to pencil out,” City Manager David Timmons said.

“If we come up with an agreement with the post office, then we'll have two years to build a partnership.”

Under the proposed agreement, the city would take over ownership of the 119-year-old Customs House, leasing the service desk and the postal box area back to the Postal Service.

The space on the top two floors of the landmark building on Washington Street would be leased out by the city.

In exchange, the city would construct a mail-sorting facility in the business park adjacent to Howard Street at the south end of town.

The agreement was developed after the Postal Service announced plans to “surplus,” or sell the building.

The Jefferson County Assessor's Office does not list values on government buildings for which no property taxes are paid.

In June, the City Council directed Timmons to develop an agreement with the Postal Service in 180 days.

Timmons said he will ask to extend the deadline.

The city is also seeking to strike an agreement with Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, renting a space in the building to house its Maritime Heritage satellite office. “We have wanted to set up an office in Port Townsend, where the trust started, for some time,” said Jennifer Meisner, the trust's executive director

“It is the perfect location to manage the Maritime Heritage efforts.”

Meisner said the creation of the Maritime Heritage area is now the subject of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives which, if approved, would provide the go-ahead to establish the Port Townsend location.

With this activity, there is a management change.

The Port Townsend Post Office will be seeking a new postmaster as Cindy Bryant, who has worked in that job for six years, has been promoted to the Port Angeles office, where she will serve as postmaster.

Bryant replaces Lisa Jones, who retired.

She is expected to take over in Port Angeles in mid-November, according to Port Townsend Assistant Postmaster Butch Marx.

Marx, who has been appointed to run the facility until a new postmaster is named, said he expects the replacement process will begin in January.

Marx, who has worked at the post office for 12 years, said he “probably” would apply for the postmaster position when the job is posted.

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 15. 2012 6:02PM
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