by: Stover E. Harger III SIGN TO SAVE — Craig Frasier, left, greets residents using the Scappoose Post Office on Dec. 19 while the Rural Organizing Project’s Amanda Aguilar Shank, right, collects signatures from locals eager to share their belief that the government should keep rural post offices open.

Dozens of activists 'occupied' 23 post offices in Oregon Dec. 19 with the goal of promoting their belief that the government can do better than close access to the postal service in rural areas.

While the group used the ubiquitous 'occupy' moniker, the Scappoose-based Rural Organizing Project's (ROP) goal was not to hinder access to the post offices, but instead show support for the local federal buildings that sometimes serve as community hubs in small towns.

'This is really about preserving the 99 percent and rural Oregonians are the 99 percent exactly,' said Jessica Campbell of the ROP. 'It fits right in with that message.'

Originally, the ROP planned to have a presence at 17 post offices, but they ended up at 23.

After a four hour signature gathering effort in Scappoose Monday afternoon, where volunteers handed out cookies, organizer Amanda Aguilar Shank said they were able to get around 100 signatures.

The signatures will be delivered to Oregon politicians.

To deal with a financial crisis within the United States Postal Service, the agency has proposed closing nearly 3,000 post offices across the country, including 41 in rural Oregon.

No Columbia County post offices are on that list.

The USPS said last week that it would hold back on closing post offices for five months as pressure mounts from politicians and others against the closures.

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