With only a dozen protesters demonstrating outside the Woodburn Post Office for an hour last week, organizer Karen Linton recognizes the group's collective voice was relatively small. Nevertheless, she wanted to make sure that Woodburn's name was among the hundreds of cities big and little across the United States that saw rallies in support of the U.S. Postal Service.
"It's small, but it's a beginning," she said. "I know I'm probably not going to enact any big changes in Oregon, but ... I wanted Congress to know that there were people in small towns and big protesting."
One of 800 rallies across the country, Woodburn's rally saw a variety of supporters including senior citizens, a disabled Vietnam veteran a retired postal worker with 30 years' service, all of whom waved at passers-by while holding up signs to protest changes made across the country at the post office.
"The reason why I did it is because I'm tired of people just sitting on their hands and saying it'll work out. It'll not get better unless you make it better," Linton said. "To make changes, you have to start small and work upward. I'm tired of people being complacent. I'm tired of people expecting somebody else to do the work for them."
"So I decide to put my money where my mouth was so to speak."
The protests came days before Postmaster General Louis Dejoy spoke before the House Oversight Committee on Aug. 24 answering questions about the removal of mail sorting machines and collection boxes across the country. The movement was organized by MoveOn.org, and in the days leading up to the protests, Linton was waiting to see if anybody in the city would step up to plate and be the point person for a Woodburn rally.
With two days before the rallies were set to take place and no word, Linton took on the task herself, marking her first foray into public demonstration since doing so during the Vietnam War.
"I didn't have a lot of time," Linton said. "I think we would have had a lot more had I had enough time to actually organize and advertise it."
Linton retired to Woodburn two and a half years ago — her second stint in the state after living in Oregon for a decade earlier. In between she spent time in Texas, where she said voting by mail is a relatively foreign concept.
"We get a brochure that goes over every candidate that goes over every office. Picture, background, statement. You go in being a whole lot more prepared," Linton said. "You don't even have to pay the postage if you mail it. How much better can that be?"
Linton said there were a number of folks who honked or waved to show their support, as well as well as "a few who just looked at us like we were crazy."
She stated that if the changes to the post office service continue to happen, she'll be out there doing it again, this time with more headway to organize a larger gathering.
"I couldn't sit by and do nothing," she said. "What I did was a very small step, but at least I did something. I can't sit by and be complacent anymore. I can't sit by and let other people set my country's fate.
"Even if I didn't accomplish anything, at least I tried."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.