Questions regarding Cascadia Post Office’s future intensify

The loss of Cascadia’s Post Office doesn’t mean the end of Cascadia’s effort to keep a Post Office in the community, according to Jean Burger, the community’s unofficial “mayor.”

“They said that, temporarily, we have to get the mail at Foster. Ruth’s (Powers, postmaster) boss told me in the dead of night this is just a temporary thing. We’re still working to save it.”

The Post Office is among many throughout the nation that are being considered for closure in a U.S. Postal Service effort to cut costs.

Some 45 Cascadia residents turned out to an Oct. 5 public meeting at Cascadia Bible Church, conducted by USPS officials to discuss whether the Post Office should stay in Cascadia. Residents vociferously demanded then that they not lose what they said was one of a few remaining community gathering points.

U.S. Postal Service Public Information Officer Ron Anderson couldn’t say what impact the fire might have on the decision whether to close Cascadia Post Office. It’s not something anyone locally has any control over, and the proposed closures are all-new territory for the organization, he said.

Right now, the Postal Service is operating on an emergency basis, with alternative quarters at Foster Post Office because there were no buildings it could use at this time, Anderson said. Carrier service will continue as usual for residents, but those with boxes will have to pick mail up at Foster.

They will need to show identification when picking up the mail, Anderson said. “Our number one priority is to make sure the right people get the right mail. It’s difficult, certainly, for the residents in Cascadia.”

It’s also difficult for the Postal Service, he said.

“Customers that have problems getting to Foster can appoint a specific person as an authorized representative to pick up mail,” said Foster Postmaster Bob Barnes. “They will have to come in and show their ID, so we can do it properly.”

Anyone with questions or concerns may contact Barnes at (541) 367-6388.

Burger said the incident is just another tough blow for the community. Cascadia lost Maples Store, which was a hub for communication. That just left the Post Office, where Cascadia residents would check the bulletin board for important information and meet each other.

“These little communities are just going away,” Burger said. She worries for communities like Crawfordsville, which had its school closed this year. Cascadia is where Crawfordsville might be in another 40 years if the momentum isn’t stopped.

– Sean C. Morgan