‘Huge, huge backlog’: Oregonians upset at DMV

Oregon

Pandemic caused backlog that officials are dealing with

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thinking about making an appointment with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles? Expect a wait, since the state agency is still facing a three-month backlog due to the pandemic-related delays.

“It’s a huge, huge backlog that we’ve never experienced anything even close to this before,” David House, a spokesperson for the Oregon DMV, told KOIN 6 News.

Most appointments at the DMV are booked for the next 2 months. A title transfer is taking about 20 weeks to complete. Officials said it could be this way for a while.

Inside an Oregon DMV office in Salem, March 2021 (DMV)

Hollie Fee is among the Oregonians frustrated by the wait time, and said she was “absolutely perplexed” back in August 2020 to see the first appointment she could get was in mid-January 2021.

She’s been trying for nearly a year to make an appointment for her daughter to legally change her name.

“Now, I cannot get an appointment to save my life,” she said. “I spent all last week going, logging onto the portal, checking every location in the state of Oregon.”

Appointments to renew a driver’s license aren’t available in the Portland area — or anywhere close. And people who call the DMV find it nearly impossible to get through.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually called the DMV just to make sure she has the right stuff that she needs, and you can’t even leave a message,” Fee said.

The backlog began when the pandemic began. The DMV had to close all their offices for 3 months. Now they’re not only playing catchup, they’re trying to keep up with normal business.

House said the DMV updated their computer systems so people can do more online now than before the pandemic began. They’ve also added staff — but he said they’re still overwhelmed.

A sample Oregon driver license, as seen on the DMV site, December 2020

They can’t say for sure when things will get any better because they don’t know exactly how many customers are waiting.

In May, Oregon residents will be able to renew their driver’s license online, which should help the backlog a little.

But if you need an appointment for anything else and can’t get one, DMV officials said to just keep trying and checking to see if any appointments open up.

As for Hollie Fee, she finally found an appointment at the DMV for Wednesday — in Sandy.

Inside an Oregon DMV office in Salem, March 2021 (DMV)

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