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Westmoreland's First Citizen takes new job in Brooklyn

by: ERIC NORBERG - If the face on the right, Dana Beck, looks familiar to you, you've probably been a patron at the Sellwood-Moreland Post Office during the past twenty years, or an attendee of a SMILE Board, History Committee, or Sundae in the Park Committee meeting, or at a recent Sundae in the (Sellwood) Park in August, where he has been MC. But now, he will behind the counter of the Brooklyn Post Office. With him at his former Post Office, at his farewell reception on February 9th was his wife, Lyn Ann.For twenty years, Dana Beck has been a fixture at the counter of the Sellwood-Moreland Post Office branch on S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland. His has been the unfailingly cheerful face who asked about the kids and commented on the weather to everyone visiting the post office.

In addition, he has long been the leader of the SMILE History Committee, and a force on the SMILE Sundae in the Park Committee – and, in recent years, the Master of Ceremonies at this premier summertime event in Sellwood Park.

However, recently, USPS cutbacks eliminated his job. He was offered another at the same Post Office branch – but it would have run from 6 am to 3 pm, and required him to get up at 4 am or earlier to go to work, and since he lives in the Gateway District, it could have caused him the occasional wintertime nightmare commute.

Fortuitously, a retirement at the Brooklyn Post Office branch on Powell Boulevard offered him another 9 to 5 job, with less time on his feet and higher pay. Not surprisingly, he took it – leaving the Sellwood-Moreland office on February 8, and starting at the counter of the Brooklyn office on Monday, February 11.

The Brooklyn Post Office is located halfway along the eastbound 17th Avenue exit on S.E. Powell, on the south side of the street in a small shopping mall, at 1410 S.E. Powell Boulevard. As one might expect, there is a BEE free newsstand out in front.

However, the day after he officially left the Sellwood-Moreland Post Office, Beck was in front and in the lobby of that branch 11-11:30 am, with his wife Lyn Ann, greeting and saying farewell to local residents who wanted to say they’d miss his presence behind the counter. Some of them brought gifts. Photographer Gary Wilson was on hand to document the moment, from a high ladder, taking a group photograph using a two-story-high tripod.

Beck said, “During the last twenty years of my career I have laughed, cried, and enjoyed sharing the lives, stories, and personalities of everyone who has crossed my path here.” He added, however, “I won’t be going far – I’m just accepting a new position and upgrade at the Brooklyn Post Office down the street.”

He plans to remain active on the two SMILE committees, and likely will again be the MC at Sundae in the Park on the first Sunday in August in upper Sellwood Park. He pointed out that he has actually been active in the Brooklyn History Committee even longer than in the SMILE committee, and he doesn’t expect his participation to change in either one for the time being. He also plans to continue to offer Inner Southeast history articles regularly in THE BEE, as he has been.

As for the future? Beck expects to retire in a few years, and when he does, he and Lyn Ann plan to move to their vacation home in Manzanita full time. But even then, he promises, we will not have seen the last of him, because “people in Manzanita go to the big city to shop!” – and he will want to remain active in the history and affairs of Inner Southeast, which he says is like a second home to him. “I love everyone, and will always consider you part of my family, and a permanent part of my life,” he commented at the Saturday morning event.

In the meantime, look for Dana at the Brooklyn Post Office on weekdays, and you may also see him walking the streets of Inner Southeast, at meetings of the two SMILE committees and the Brooklyn History Committee, at Sundae in the Park – and having coffee now and then at Schondecken Coffee Roasters, across the street from where he was a daily presence for twenty years.