Due to budget cuts and hoping for better efficiency, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had planned on closing the mail sorting facilities in Yakima and Wenatchee, opting to send the mail to Spokane to be sorted.

That plan is now on hold.

In the Tri-Cities it's still true that if you want to mail something from Kennewick to a Richland or Pasco location, or any combination of the three, it all goes through Spokane first.

That was going to be the code for Yakima and Wenatchee until the postmaster general of the USPS came under fire for some of the sweeping changes being implemented across the country. The postmaster general announced he was suspending those changes at least until after the election.

The state of Washington and some 20 other states had begun challenging changes to the U.S. Postal Service in court, so Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was not surprised by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's announcement that all pending initiatives would be put on hold until after November 3rd "to avoid even the appearance of impact on election mail."

Despite the announcement, Ferguson said the state's lawsuit is moving forward. He said he won't cancel the lawsuit based on DeJoy's pledge alone, and will instead wait to "get that in writing."

Looking ahead, overtime will be approved "as needed" for postal workers, retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and boxes will also remain as no facilities will be closed.

Mail will continue to be processed in Wenatchee, Yakima and Tacoma. Up until Tuesday morning, those facilities had been targeted for closure, with most Eastern Washington mail being processed in Spokane and the mail processed in Tacoma being sent to Seattle.

The thinking behind closing three of the state's five processing facilities is to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Critics says important mail like prescriptions to seniors and veterans and mail-in ballots would be unacceptably compromised.

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