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Post Office To Suspend Closings

March 17, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Small-town post offices have a new lease on life.

Postmaster General Marvin Runyon announced Tuesday that he is suspending local office closings intended to consolidate routes and services.

``Local post offices are essential elements in our ability to provide this nation with universal postal service,″ Runyon said.

The announcement failed to satisfy Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., however, who is pushing a bill to require the Postal Service to work with local residents and officials whenever it closes, relocates or renovates offices.

``I want meaningful community involvement,″ he said, calling Runyon’s announcement ``no substitute for real reform.″

While management-initiated closings will halt, the post office said emergency suspensions will still occur when necessary. Those are closings caused by the retirement of a local postmaster, fire, earthquake or other disaster or inability to find a new location for a post office.

The Postal Service has about 28,000 offices.

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