Anyone who has lived in the Gales Creek area for more than a couple of years has likely witnessed the decline of our community. The removal of the Post Office, the shuttering of Gales Creek Elementary School, and the closing of local businesses were all devastating blows to the community.
Without gathering places such as schools, the post office, stores and restaurants, there can be no sense of community. Gales Creek is an historic and tight-knit place, but it might not always be so. Without the ability to see your friends and neighbors at a local gathering place, the sense of community slowly degrades, until your neighbors are merely people who live nearby, rather than close friends who can be depended on in both good times and bad.
However, the continued decline of Gales Creek is a choice, not a necessity.
By becoming involved with the community and supporting local businesses, the destruction of Gales Creek can be reversed. Many actions are underway to repair the broken parts of the community. An informal chamber of commerce is being formed to promote tourism, connect residents and local organizations, and establish community events. Also, several local businesses have recently reopened in the area, including the Gales Creek Country Store and the Gales Creek Tavern.
So what can you do? It’s simply a matter of becoming involved, and supporting local organizations and businesses. It might cost a few cents extra to buy food, gas, or drinks in Gales Creek, but isn’t an extra 25 cents for that Pepsi worth it to support a local business and connect with your neighbors?
It may be as simple as shopping locally, or perhaps something that requires more commitment, such as joining the Fire Department as a volunteer. Anything to help your community, whether something large or small, is a step in the right direction.
With a unified community comes a much stronger voice. By banding together, the reduction of government services such as the school and post office can be prevented, and politicians in Washington County and at the state level will see us as a community, rather than an easy-to-ignore spot on the map.
Join your neighbors today, and let’s rebuild Gales Creek.