When this nation was formed and the Declaration of Independence was signed, all of the people had a voice. After the oppression endured by the American colonies under British rule, it was necessary for the colonists to instate a form of democracy to provide all with the power to help prevent wrongdoing. As the Declaration of Independence states, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form.”
Today we wonder whether our voices are heard or whether our protests are acknowledged. We wonder whether a letter to the government is simply a waste of time. Has the Occupy movement made a difference? Has the “save the post office” movement made a difference?
As of May 9, 2012, we can proudly say that our voices have made a difference. After a long stretch of debate as to which post offices would be closed and whether Corvallis was in danger, the Postmaster General stated “we’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear – they want to keep their Post Office open. We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability.”
The rumor of post office closings came from the original decision to do so by the Postmaster General due to a lack of revenue. The post office is not funded by the government; it runs entirely on postage and retail purchases in the individual post offices. The problem is that the current mail rates do not meet the cost demand to provide the actual service– so, like any business, cut-backs were debated.
Furthermore, the post office owed 5.5 billion dollars to fund future retiree health care payments. The possibility of getting this money seemed hopeless as the Postal Service has seen a 25% decline in mail volume in the past 5 years. Seeing this, the Postmaster General once again felt that closing offices was the only option.
The new plan, which saves our post offices, will call for some closings, but it won’t be as drastic as originally planned. Only small towns will be affected, such as towns with a population of less than 1,000 people. The nearest affected office to Corvallis is Alsea and they aren’t even being closed.
The new plan will call for modified hours in the retail post offices that take into consideration the busiest time of the day and the slowest. Changes will begin this summer and then break after August as to not interrupt the vote-by-mail system for the Presidential election. The changes will then resume at the start of 2013 and be completed by September of 2014.
Furthermore, by 2014, 229 post office consolidations will happen all over the country in order to tighten the post office network. The volume of mail coming through USPS right now does not require such a large network of locations as currently exist.
With the large amount of local businesses in Corvallis that depend on using the post office every day, we can be assured that the Corvallis post office is safe. The loss of the local post office would cause significant problems for local businesses that need to mail packages and buy mailing products daily.
As citizens of these United States we have come together to form a powerful voice that has averted community disaster. With this victory we must remember for the future that “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Information about which post offices will be affected can be found at the USPS website under “Newsroom” and then under “Affected Post Offices.”
By Cristina Himka