Every morning, Bolinas resident Caren Quay pauses her daily jog in front of a large, wooden sign at the corner of Olema Bolinas and Mesa roads. “DAYS WITHOUT A BOLINAS POST OFFICE,” it reads. Below, three wooden panels hang, each with a single digit; on Sunday, they display the No. 149. Today, she will swap the 4 and 9 for a 5 and 0 before continuing on her jog.
The unincorporated Marin County community, whose population hovers around 1,500, lost its post office in March following a lease dispute between the US Postal Service and the building’s landlord. The landlord alleged that the Postal Service had failed to address asbestos in the building’s flooring. (According to the landlord’s attorney, the lease agreement required that the Postal Service maintain the flooring at its own expense.) The post office gave the community less than two weeks’ notice before it closed. Since then, the Postal Service has been redirecting Bolinas’ mail to neighboring towns: first to Olema, then to Stinson Beach after the Olema post office flooded.