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Postal Service To Close Midway Drive Processing Plant

The facility that for decades served as San Diego's main post office was included in a list of closures released today by the U.S. Postal Service, but an agency spokeswoman said no changes are expected until the building is sold.

The building on Midway Drive near the Marine Corp Recruit Depot was the main local mail processing center until 1993, when a larger facility opened in Carmel Mountain Ranch.

About 10 percent of San Diego's mail now goes through the facility.

The USPS attempted -- but failed -- to sell the building two years ago, so the Midway Drive location was technically not part of a study that led to today's announcement that 223 facilities nationwide would close, the agency's Eva Jackson said.

The postal service is under a congressional moratorium not to close any facilities until mid-May, she said.

After that, the agency will again try to sell the building. Mail processing and a retail office will continue operations there until a sale is completed, she said.

Jackson said there is a possibility that a buyer would allow the USPS to continue to operate a post office in the building. If not, a retail location will be opened nearby, she said.

The USPS lost $3.3 billion in its past quarter, and is reorganizing in order to save $20 billion by 2015.

The agency's financial crisis is due to the combined effects of the economic recession, increased use of electronic communications, and an obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits, according to a statement to the media.

In southern California, Bakersfield, City of Industry, Long Beach and Pasadena will also be shuttered. In the central part the state, Stockton, Petaluma and North Bay will cease operations as soon as mid-May. Augustine Ruiz with the Post Office said employees will be given the option to follow their jobs to the centers that will be picking up the slack.

“We are currently working with the unions and management associations right now on some kind of incentive or early retirement package. But, right now, we don’t know what that is and it’s still being discussed,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz said overnight mail will be delayed by at least a day if the delivery address is more than 90 miles from one of the remaining processing centers. Redding and Eureka will have their mail processed in West Sacramento and Medford, Oregon respectively.

Bob Moffitt, California Capitol Network. contributed to this report.

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