Melissa Pinion-Whitt and Ed Castro, Staff Writers
Posted: 02/23/2012 09:44:39 AM PST

REDLANDS — The U.S. Postal Service’s mail distribution center here will remain open for the time being, making it the only at-risk center in the state to avoid closure.

The West Redlands Boulevard site, known as the San Bernardino Processing and Distribution Center, and 14 other plants in California were part of a Postal Service study examining where cuts could be made since the organization wants to reduce operating costs by $20billion by 2015.

The study revealed that consolidation of the Redlands site with the Moreno Valley plant would not increase efficiency or service, postal officials said.

“(Redlands) is very lucky because in California, that is the one plant that is not being consolidated,” said U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Eva Jackson.

Redlands officials applauded the decision, especially since it means 758 people will get to keep their jobs. Another 750 at the Moreno Valley center will also remain employed.

“Clearly it’s a reason to celebrate,” said Kathie Thurston, executive director of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been working on this since we found out we were on the list.”

Thurston said city officials lobbied with local and federal lawmakers to save the Redlands plant.

San Bernardino County 3rd District Supervisor Neil Derry said the county couldn’t afford to lose the plant and its jobs, given the area’s already high unemployment numbers.

“I think as a community and region, we pulled together and that we were successful in convincing the government that this was a bad idea,” he said.

Losing more than 700 jobs would have been a setback for Redlands’ goals of creating good jobs in the city, said Mayor Pete Aguilar.

“Thankfully, we don’t have to cross that bridge,” he said.

The distribution centers that have been approved for consolidation, including those in Long Beach, Pasadena, Industry and Bakersfield, won’t close until May 15.

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