Letter to the Editor

Outdated law blocks post office renovation


DASH (Disability Awareness Starts Here) has been working for more than a decade to convince the U.S. Postal Service to make changes to the Port Townsend Post Office that would allow all citizens accessibility. USPS substations were established in Port Townsend to allow access but subsequently closed. All other public buildings in Port Townsend are accessible, including the historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

The public can only enter the Port Townsend Post Office after climbing 13 steep steps, which makes it inaccessible for individuals with disabilities. Also, parents with babies in strollers and older individuals are among those who find it dangerous to climb the steps, especially with packages. The lack of accessibility also prevents disabled veterans or others with mobility challenges to work for the Port Townsend Post Office.

DASH has proposed a convenient, low-cost ramp, which USPS has refused to consider. The Port Townsend Post Office was built in 1893. Therefore, the USPS states that it has no legal obligation to make the building accessible for all since it is exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act only requires access to buildings built or altered since the law was passed in 1968.

DASH is working with our federal elected representatives and other communities whose post offices are not accessible. We encourage you to ask your elected representatives to amend the Architectural Barriers Act to require accessibility to all facilities built with federal funds.

Nancy Johnson,

Vice President, DASH

Port Townsend


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