Rural Oklahoma Town Fears Loss Of Identity If Post Office Closes

Tuesday, September 27th 2011, 6:57 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

EUCHA, Oklahoma -- Residents in Eucha are speaking out against a plan to close their post office. Its made a list of 96 post offices in Oklahoma that are in danger of being shut down.

7/26/2011 Related Story: More Than 50 Post Offices In Oklahoma On Possible Closure List

The frustration is high in the small Delaware County community Residents are upset the town may be losing its post office.

"This little place right here does a lot of business," said Eucha resident Amos James.

The building is one of 96 post offices in Oklahoma on a list to potentially be closed. The postal service projected to lose $10-billion this year and it's looking for ways to save money.

"We're about to lose what we have left of our heritage. This is the last... it's a tribute to a great man," said, Eucha historian, Mike Sperry.

Eucha was named for Corporal Charles Thompson as he was known by white soldiers in the Civil War. His born name was Oochalata and he was chief of the Cherokees in the 1870's.

The community he founded has slowly been shrinking since it had to be moved for the creation of Lake Eucha. Now residents are worried if the post office goes so will Eucha's identity.

The postal service spokeswoman said the closing list is fluid; offices could be added or taken away. It's all part of the postal service's goal to save $20 billion by 2015.

The postal service held a public meeting Tuesday to tell residents how the process works. One solution would be to create village post office in other public buildings, but Eucha doesn't have any public buildings, so residents would have to travel to get their mail.

"It would make a hardship to a lot of people, there's a lot of people who can't run to town every day," said Tad Dunham, Eucha resident.

The postal service says they could also create a cluster of post office boxes outside near a main road in the community, but residents say many of the elderly and veterans get their medications by mail and that would not be safe.

"The postal service is supposed to serve everybody and these rural areas do need service. Services cost money we realize that but that's what the government is supposed to do," Sperry said.

The postal service says no office will close before December and once a decision is made residents will be given a 60 day notice.