The Skyway Post Office is one of 39 United States Post Offices in Washington state under consideration for closure.
But the Skyway community isn’t about to let the venue go.
About 15 people gathered outside the post office on Wed., Oct. 12 for a rally from noon to 3 p.m. The first rally, held on Aug. 26, drew between 20 and 25 supporters, who gathered signatures to keep the post office in operation and off the closure list.
The Skyway post office is a gathering spot for the community, said Reverend Richard Rivers of the Greater Skyway Community Church, and the organizer of both rallies.
“There are about 9,600 residents in Skyway, and about 60 percent of them are seniors,” he said. “This is where they come to for their mail and for community information.”
Just inside the door to the right is a well-used community bulletin board with all forms of postings.
During the snowstorm of 2008, Skyway residents couldn’t get down the hill, said Rev. Richards, so they went to the post office to meet with their neighbors and exchange information.
“If they take this post office away, it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” he said. “These seniors will have nowhere to come together, to connect with their community or to keep in contact with the outside world. Not everyone is online – these folks depend on their mail service and they are dependent on this Skyway post office.”
Since the first rally in August, Rev. Richards and other Skyway post office supporters have gathered more than 5,000 signatures. Local businesses are in on the petition, too, he said, adding that the Dollar Store, Skyway Water District Office and the Bowling Alley all have copies of the petition for their customers to sign.
National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 79 President Jo Ann Pyle also joined the rally.
“The thing that really bothers me — every little town has a postal office. I think it’s just a shame to consider closing those,” she said. “What’s unique about this closure is the community is actually rallying to keep it open.”
When asked how much, and if, rallies can help save a post office from closure, Ernie Swanson, spokesperson for the USPS in Washington state, said the rallies themselves may not do a whole lot, but the petitions and letter writing are all put into the record.
It’s the public record that will help weight the decision, in addition to a public meeting that will be scheduled if the Skyway Post Office becomes a candidate for closure, he said.
Residents will be notified in two to three months, if that’s the case.
“Skyway is on the list of offices that are under consideration for closure, but it’s not a definite,” he said.
Wednesday’s rally was held in conjunction with the Washington State Labor Council week of action on creating and maintaining good jobs.