Though Washington, D.C. is thousands of miles away, the federal government shutdown is affecting almost all Americans, and with no end in sight, it's important to keep in mind what you can -- and can't do -- right now.

  • IRS
    • The IRS didn't plan for tax season to start until late January, so if the shutdown ends in the next couple of weeks, your taxes shouldn't be affected. However, if the shutdown goes into tax season, the IRS may have to bring in furloughed employees without pay until the government opens up.
    • If the shutdown stretches into February, you will be able to submit your tax returns, but refunds will not be issued until the government reopens. Even then, you can expect your refund to take a bit longer than usual. 
  • Social Security
  • US Postal Service
    • Don't worry, your mail will still arrive on time during the shutdown. The USPS said their operations are not affected by the shutdown, as they are an independent entity funded through the sale of their products and services, not tax dollars.
  • Amtrak
    • Amtrak trains will continue running as usual, but a lengthy shutdown could cause problems because the agency still gets federal subsidies. 
  • Passports
    • The State Department will continue issuing passports at all passport facilities (US Post Offices, libraries, county's clerk offices). Processing times remain the same (about 4-6 weeks for routine services and 2-3 weeks for expedited services). 
  • Transportation Security Administration
    • TSA officers will continue staffing all airports, but they are working without paychecks. They, like other government employees, will receive backpay once the government reopens. 
  • National Parks
    • Gates to most National Parks remain open, but the parks themselves are understaffed. At most parks, you're entering "at your own risk." 
    • Crater Lake: Officials say the "conditions caused by the impact of human waste buildup on the park's water system" have led to the closure of the main road to Crater Lake at Highway 62. It's unlikely the road will open before the shutdown is over. Highway 62 remains open, and the road from park headquarters to Rim Village is not being plowed. All bathrooms are closed. At this point, due to the government shutdown and winter conditions there is no way to access Crater Lake, unless you plan on snow-shoeing in. No NPS staff are available to provide assistance, and visitors are urged to come to Crater Lake "at their own risk."  
    • North CascadesThe complex will remain open, but there will be no visitor services. 
    • Olympic National Park: The park will remain open but with limited access due to storm damage and winds. Check road closures here.
    • Mount RanierCar access is available from the Nisqually entrance to Longmire, but not to Paradise. Entry during the shutdown is "at visitors' risk," according to the NPS. 
  • Local landmarks
    • Willamette National Cemetery: Employees say the cemetery is functioning as usual. It falls under the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and employees there are considered essential personnel.  
    • Fort Vancouver: The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will remain open, but there will be no visitor services.
    • Multnomah Falls: The falls remain open to visitors, and the lodge is open as well. However, the U.S. Forest Service is not at the falls or any other Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area site, and rangers are furloughed.