by Clarissa Liening
Last year Olga residents learned that their beloved post office was in jeopardy of closing when the property that US Postal Service leases in “downtown” Olga was listed for sale. A time-sensitive opportunity exists to save this historic and vital part of Orcas Island. A similar situation occurred a few years ago on the west side of the Island where the Deer Harbor post office was threatened. The community was successful in keeping their post office open by having the community purchase the post office building, ensuring that it would remain a community building. We hope to do the same with the Olga post office. A group of concerned citizens formed the SOPO (Save Our Post Office) committee with the mission to save the Olga post office.
Retaining all three USPS on the island makes sense not only for east side residents but the entire Island by helping to reduce the traffic at the already busy Eastsound post office. It also serves the purpose of preserving this important and charming historical building by paying homage to and honoring our history of the time when mail was brought over via boat to Doe Bay and then moved to the distribution center in Olga, which has served the east side of the Island since 1960 (as well as other outer islands).
An account is being established through the Orcas Island Community Foundation, where direct (tax-deductible) donations to this project can be made. Additional details on the effort will be presented at the first of a series of community meetings. The first meeting is on Sunday, March 17 from 3-4 p.m. and a second is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20 from 6-7 pm at the Olga Community Club, 23 3rd Street in Olga. At these meetings, the SOPO Committee will report on the work that has already been done and will outline the work that still needs to be completed to make this a reality. Interested community members from all parts of the island are encouraged to attend because community participation is vital to ensure this effort is successful. Additionally, there will be many opportunities for the community to be involved as the project progresses. Bring your talents, interest and ideas for saving this historical treasure and be part of another landmark project on Orcas! The immediate need has already been identified for someone who is willing to establish and maintain a social media initiative, complete with the creation of a website.
There will be more updates on the project at frequent intervals. Anyone who is interested in being involved in this project in any capacity is asked to contact Clarissa Liening at (360)317-6179.