One of the main tricks of any newly developing occupation movement lies in making it as permanent as possible. This tactic includes, but is not limited to, occupying the same park for more than a month, establishing regular assemblies and rallies and making it through the winter. Although many suspected the third one might spell the end of Occupy Denver, the group has survived six hospitalizations and recently unveiled a new mark of stability: a mailbox.
Why does snail mail matter these days, you ask? The answer is twofold: The group's new mailbox at Civic Center Park functions as a receptacle for mail, of course, but it also serves as a symbol of its endurance. While tents are rare around these parts, a mailbox says the group means business -- and it means mail-in donations, too.
Since it first appeared at the site over the weekend, the mailbox has confirmed the long-term plans of Occupy Denver as well as reminded everyone of the park's address, 1450 Broadway. Painted with the occupation's name and guarded by a lock, it was dropped off, labeled and ready, by an Occupy sympathizer only a few days ago. Since then, the group has effectively tested its success by receiving snail mail through the box.
Right now, the mailbox is supported by a wooden stand and placed front and center on the sidewalk in front of Civic Center Park. Although its appearance was a surprise to the group, it's not entirely clear whether it's a technically legal one. Calls to check up on it were transferred from the US Postal Service to Denver Parks and Recreation to the representatives at Mayor Michael Hancock's office and back without generating an answer as to whether it violates any laws.
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"We've never had anyone try to establish a post office box at a park, so I'm unsure about the legality," Parks and Recreation spokesperson Kathy Green says. "How interesting."
In the meantime, the mailbox, and its status as a symbol, are firmly rooted. The group's website still lists its official mailing address as 1550 Larimer St, Box 224, but the new mailbox represents more than a branch office.
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver protesters want their dog-and-leader to meet with Governor Hickenlooper."