Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Northern Section is more than the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas

By Alex Hinds, September 11, 2020

In small towns and villages across North America, downtown post offices are much beloved greeting, gathering, and pick-up-your-mail places.

Our post office in Inverness, California (pop. 1300), is my all-time favorite. Since home delivery in the boondocks is no longer standard, such post offices are essential for getting your letters and packages, but they also are great places to see your neighbors. The staff greets you by first name, and will retrieve your mail from your gilded P.O. box no matter how many times you forget your keys, and without ever complaining.

When the threat of Covid-19 spread in the spring, our local postal crew valiantly hung what looked like repurposed Saran Wrap at their front counter. Community members spontaneously passed the hat to install a protective Plexiglas barrier to protect our postmistress, her staff, and the public.

Don’t mess with our post office!

Alex Hinds lives in Inverness, Marin County, California. He was a university lecturer and a senior consultant for the center for sustainable communities at Sonoma State University from 2009-2019, community development agency director for Marin County, 1999-2008, planning and building director for San Luis Obispo County, 1990-1999, and Lake County planning director, 1984-1990.

Go here for more on how people use the post office — this time in Brooklyn 11215. Thirteen interviews and sketches, comic book style.

Return to the October issue here.