CORONAVIRUS, Government, Oregon

DMV launches, then relaunches system for in-person appointments

Photo courtesy of ODOT

OREGON – It was a bumpy road to get there, but the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is accepting appointments for certain DMV services at 40 of their 60 statewide locations. 

Included in that list of locations taking appointments are the DMV offices in Hillsboro, Tillamook, and Beaverton, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

These are the services that appointments can be made for, according to ODOT:

— Driver licensing and ID cards – originals, renewals and replacements, including passenger car and commercial licenses, and instruction permits

— Driver knowledge tests

— Driving privilege reinstatements with a license issuance

— Disabled parking placards

— VIN inspections for new-to-Oregon vehicles previously titled elsewhere

— Farm endorsements

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“We cannot do drive tests due to social distancing restrictions, and we don’t know when we can resume offering them, but there are private testing businesses and Driver Education providers that administer driver skills tests. We apologize for the long wait especially for new teen drivers in the traditional busy summer season,” the agency said in a press release.

The move to reopen DMV locations was announced on May 28; according to a press release issued by ODOT, a phone system had been set up for those seeking to make an appointment for DMV services that must be done in-person, such as replacing a lost driver license. 

Trouble started almost immediately, according to the Oregonian

Using what is believed to be the same phone system as the much-maligned Oregon Employment Department, DMV phone lines were overwhelmed on day one as thousands of Oregonians tried to call in to set appointments, and the agency scrapped the system after the first day, opting to use an online web form instead. 

The agency said that in just one hour, 18,000 calls flooded the system on Monday, when the DMV usually receives about 8,000 calls daily.

“Our first priority is the people who were unable to get the services we can do only in person, such as replace a lost driver license or ID, issuing commercial driver licenses, knowledge tests, and reinstating driving privileges,” said DMV Administrator Tom McClellan. 

To use the web form, visit An instructional video was also created by the DMV to aid in the process of filling out the form. 

The form is designed to show users if they actually need an appointment, or if the task they are trying to accomplish can be done online or via mail. If it is determined that an appointment will be necessary, the form will take users to a different form to request an appointment. 

From there, a DMV agent will contact the person who filled out the form, but the agency warned that long wait times should be expected. 

“We apologize for the wait Oregonians have already endured due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the wait ahead as we begin working the pent up demand,” McClellan said. “We don’t know how long it will take to catch up with a backlog this huge, but we think it will take months especially with health and safety protocols in place. Please continue to see if you can get what you need online or by mail, and please be patient.”

Because DMV offices, as well as DEQ offices are closed for many services, a grace period has been extended for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, according to ODOT. 

In partnership with Oregon State Police, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, the agency and law enforcement agencies will exercise discretion in enforcement of certain laws that are near-impossible or difficult to follow during the crisis, including the enforcement of expired driver licenses, vehicle registrations, trip permits, and disability permits.

According to ODOT, as of Friday, June 5 at 8 a.m., 4,611 appointments had been scheduled since June 1, and another 21,646 requests for appointments had yet to be responded to.

Many DMV services can be used at

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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