Address change causes delivery aggravation

A change of address is one thing when you move to a new location, but people in a neighborhood near Renton say their addresses were changed without their knowledge and, more importantly, without them moving.

The roughly nine homes on 145th Place SE all have Renton addresses. Virtually everything around their private, dead-end road is in the City of Renton. But the homes on 145th place SE are technically in unincorporated King County. The City of Renton has expanded all around them.

Four years ago, city leaders decided to annex the street. Anticipating the annexation, the City notified the U.S. Postal Service of the pending address changes and assigned new numbers to the cluster of homes -- changing the street name from 145th PL SE to Kitsap Avenue NE.

"We were never notified that the address would be changing," said a frustrated Cheryl Dobes, who lives in the neighborhood.

Dobes said the neighbors on the street appealed and blocked the annexation, because they just did not want to be part of Renton city proper. But the new addresses stayed in the postal service database, putting them on Kitsap Avenue NE- which does not exist in that area.

For months, residents say they had problems getting their mail. That was finally rectified when a new letter carrier was advised of the dual address situation. A number of residents say they still have trouble getting deliveries from FedEx and UPS. They order item using their 145th Place SE address, but residents say the USPS data system automatically calls up the new Kitsap Avenue NE address, so private delivery drivers have trouble finding their homes.

John Buxton said he runs into problems ordering items on EBay because sellers get suspicious when the 145th plase address check comes back as "unconfirmed."

Cheryl Dobes said some of her bills come addressed to 145th place and some to Kitsap Avenue from the same companies. The address confusion is costing her nearly $12 more a month on her cell phone bill, because she's being charged extra city taxes for Renton. There's also concern the confusion might hamper police and fire response in the event of emergencies. The neighbors say they've been going in circles with the city and the postal service trying to get things straightened out - with no success.

"We were told that City of Renton did contact the local post office, but they keep telling us they haven't," said Dobes

It took me several conversations with officials at the USPS and Renton City Hall to get to the bottom of things.

"There was a change within the post office in terms of how they wanted that information to be submitted from us," explained Preeti Shridhar, Deputy Public Affairs Administrator for Renton.

While address managers at the City of Renton confirm they did send email requests to the address managers at the U.S. Postal Service, for whatever reason, it appears the city was not providing the exact information the postal service required to permanently remove the Kitsap address information.

Shridhar says upon learning that fact, the city sent an official letter to USPS. Renton says the latest letter contains the entire list of addresses that should stay, and the addresses that should be removed from the postal service master data base.

The neighbors should soon see an end to their address aggravation. But they admit that their small, unincorporated street being surrounded by the City of Renton, and given the way Renton is growing, it's only a matter of time before annexation is attempted again.