By Erik Lacitis

Kathy Olson, left, and Gretchen Goodson hold the sign taken down from the building behind them that has been the post office for 132 years. Nahcotta, on the Long Beach Peninsula, population 125, lost its post office after the Postal Service terminated its contract for the property. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

NAHCOTTA, Pacific County — Just like that, with a one-page notice stuffed into the 95 mailboxes, it was over for the little post office here on the Long Beach Peninsula. There was no mincing words.

“ … this office has been terminated . . .”

For nearly 132 years, until Feb. 27, it had been the meeting place for locals, and the heart of this unincorporated community of maybe 200 named after the Chinook chief Nahcati. Without that post office sign on the window, there really isn’t anything else that said you had arrived in town.

What caused the shutdown was about $600 to $900 a month in added costs, and even that was negotiable.

A community meeting spot for the small town of Nahcotta on the Long Beach Peninsula, the post office has now been closed by the Postal Service. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The U.S. Postal Service, as has been well publicized, has been losing money and shedding post offices, although recently, it has done pretty well during the pandemic. Revenue was up $2.1 billion in the  October-December 2020 quarter. Christmas packages! Amazon!

So, when you’re talking billionsthe $600 to $900 that led to the closing of the Nahcotta office is small change.

The worn-down plywood where letters and packages were pushed into lock boxes at the now-closed Nahcotta post office. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

It would have meant better money for Gretchen Goodson, 82, and Kathy Olson, 73, who alternated working six days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  To save money, the office was only open three hours. They were earning $8.33 an hour.

“I was so stunned,” says Goodson about the closing.

USPS spokesman Ernie Swanson emailed that contract post offices are not meant to be profitable for the contractor, but “a means to bring additional customers into their place of business . . .”

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