We are thrilled to release Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices: A Community Organizing Toolkit! Sharing our success stories and lessons from rural Oregon in the last year, Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices is being used across the state and the nation to help folks educate their communities and prepare for the loudest round of pushback from rural America against privatization of the Postal Service yet!
ROP created this tool kit in response to the US Postal Service’s latest national plan – the POStPlan – that cuts rural post office hours, closes processing facilities, and would eliminate thousands of living wage Postmaster positions. Currently, 124 small town post offices across Oregon are on the chopping block – nearly one-third of Oregon’s post offices. Right now the USPS is sending surveys to these towns and scheduling community meetings to present their plan. Rural Oregonians in towns from Gilchrist (Klamath County) to Alsea (Benton County) are organizing in response.
ROP mailed out 124 copies of Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices, one to every Oregon Post Office affected, and several dozen more were distributed through organizing meetings facilitated by ROP staff. Within 24-hours, a small town “Postmaster Relief” (non-career replacement for a Postmaster) contacted us for help in saving her post office, another Postmaster informed us that USPS surveys were being returned from patrons but everyone was frustrated with the lack of options for their post office, and ROP recieved an anonymous letter from a Postmaster explaining the security issues of having privatized village post offices (but didn’t sign the letter in fear of losing their job). These are just a few of the stories coming out of rural communities fighting to save their post offices.
Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices was quickly picked up across the country. After the toolkit went up on Save The Post Office’s website – a national resource for postal workers and community advocates alike – the office has been receiving calls from across the country to compare notes, to get resources, and to discuss next steps. From Tennessee to Florida to New Hampshire to California, folks have remarked that this is the only resource they’ve seen available specifically for rural post office closures.
It is hard to believe that ROP has been working with rural communities to defend their post offices for an entire year! We started because of a call from Western Lane County from two small town residents who had never organized before, but were willing to try Occupying their Post Offices with hundreds of their neighbors. Nearly a year later, we have had two incredible statewide actions, a statewide petition that caught the attention of our legislators, a significant shift in the United States Postal Service’s tactics thanks to rural America’s sheer volume, and dozens of communities organizing to keep rural Oregon connected.
With the USPS changing their tactics in order to pacify rural Oregon and silence our voice in the only space for democratic participation in this decision-making process, we have faced a new round of trying to educate ourselves with limited information and another round of outreach to new communities who are feeling increasingly isolated to equip them for this fight. That is why ROP developed Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices: A Community Organizing Toolkit.
Do you live in or near a community that will be affected by the POStPlan? Check out the list of impacted post offices here. Let us know and share Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices:
Help us support as many rural communities as possible through this process! We are looking for volunteers to make calls, to do research, and to attend these USPS-facilitated community meetings and communicate back to us how their tactics are shifting so we can stay on the cutting edge of this fight. Give me a call at the office at 503-543-8417 or email me at email@example.com!