Occupy Our Post Offices
Rural and small town communities are some of the hardest hit by the economic recession. More and more of our Main Street businesses are shutting down. As our economy has declined, we have also lost many of our community gathering places. There are fewer active granges, fewer grocery stores and community centers. Even libraries are shutting down and reducing hours. Post offices remain one of the few places in rural communities where neighbors meet neighbors, where we get the latest news, post flyers about local events, and where our community can come together.
Now, more than 40 rural Oregon towns are slated to lose their post offices – this is the next chapter in the deprioritizing and defunding of our public institutions, felt all the more strongly in rural towns. While Wall Street gets bailed out, rural communities are being sold out. That is why rural and small town Oregonians will be Occupying our post offices on Monday, December 19th.
What is the Activity? Swisshome and Deadwood are two of 40 rural Oregon towns that will lose their post offices as early as March 15th unless immediate action is taken. The communities of Swisshome and Deadwood have aligned to fight the closure of their Post Offices. In early October, they sent the Postmaster General and our legislators a petition with over 350 signatures (note that their combined population is around 500). After fighting this closure by the book, inside of the Postal System’s procedures and out, Swisshome and Deadwood STILL expect to receive 30-day closure notices in the next couple weeks
Join Swisshome, Deadwood, and dozens of other communities on Monday, December 19th anytime between 8AM-5PM as we Occupy Our Post Office with signs, banners, and holiday spirit to demonstrate our commitment to our communities’ health, even when a vital resource “fails to show a profit.”
December 19th is the busiest day during the holiday season for our post offices. This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is to organize an “Occupy the Post Office” action in your community on December 19th! This Occupation is about connecting with our neighbors and demonstrating support for our local post office, while drawing attention to the mismatched priorities that put such a vital community center and resource at risk. Circulate the petition, ask folks to sign holiday postcards for our Members of Congress, and deliver a holiday card to your local postmaster. Let’s send a clear message that rural Oregon will not sit idly by while one of our few remaining community institutions is dismantled.
STEPS TO COMPLETE THIS ACTIVITY
1. Download the Occupy Our Post Office Planning Guide now! (.doc)
The Planning Guide provides these resources for communities in danger of losing their post office:
- Event Planning Guide and Timeline
- Statewide Petition for a 6-mo Moratorium on Rural Post Office Closures
- Outreach Strategies
- Email Invitation Template
- Occupy Our Post Office Flyer Template
- Occupy Our Post Office Letter to Legislators
If you are organizing a solidarity Occupation, be sure to check out these resources:
- This informational flyer about the proposed closures
- This postcard to have signed and sent to your Congresspeople
2. Get educated!
Read “Understanding Occupy Our Post Offices” to get a broader understanding of how rural American infrastructure is being gambled away.
3. Write your legislators NOW!
The only way vital rural Oregon Post Offices will be saved is through national legislation. Ask Representatives DeFazio, Walden, Schrader, and Blumenauer and Senators Merkley and Wyden to impose a 6-month moratorium on rural post office closures while they find a real solution that does NOT sacrifice crucial community infrastructure.
4. Occupy YOUR Post Office on Monday, December 19th!
Swisshome and Deadwood want YOU to Occupy YOUR Post Office during the busiest day of the year with rural Oregonians who are at risk of losing their community identity!
- Use the Planning Guide to make it an exciting event!
- Have people standing in lines send holiday cards to legislators.
- Circulate the petition that will be distributed statewide.
- Remember that ROP is always available to support your work! Just send us an email or give us a call!
5. Tell ROP about your amazing work! Send us photos, articles, and stories so we can share it with the rest of the state!