SEATTLE (AP) More than 300 jobs will be cut by the Postal Service in Washington as it consolidates eight mail processing centers into two, the agency said Thursday.

The facilities are being consolidated because of a 25 percent decline in first-class mail since 2006.

“It’s unfortunate it had to come to this,” said Ernie Swanson, a spokesman for the Postal Service. “We have to do something. We’re in a dire financial situation.”

Processing and distribution centers are closing in Everett, Olympia and Tacoma as operations are transferred to Seattle. Processing operations in Yakima, Wenatchee and Pasco are being transferred to Spokane.

The Postal Service hopes the cuts can be made through attrition without layoffs, Swanson said. Employees losing jobs can request transfers or move into jobs such as letter carrier, if there are openings,

The facility in Everett will lose 97 jobs, Olympia 29, Tacoma 139, Yakima 19, Wenatchee 20, and Pasco two.

As a result of the consolidation, most mail in Washington is likely to bear only postmarks from Seattle or Spokane. Patrons can still request a hand-stamp postmark at a local post office, Swanson said.

The consolidation decision came after a five-month study. Specific dates have not been set for the transition.

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