The Oregon DMV is the Bane of my Existence

The new rules that Oregon DMV implemented starting July 1, 2008 are just killing me! What used to take an hour or two with a single visit to a DMV field office now takes weeks, or even months to accomplish.

I just needed a motorcycle endorsement. In the old days, this would have taken at most a couple of hours all in a single day. You’d go into the office, take the written test, take the drive test, wait a little while, they’d hand you your new license and you’d be on your way. But not any more. I had to wait 6 weeks between my written test and my drive test because they don’t have enough examiners to conduct all of the motorcycle drive tests that are in demand due to the increase in gas prices. And then I had to drive to Eugene to take the test because they were the closest office that had an opening. That’s a 230-mile round trip from Portland.

It gets better. I passed the test easily. But then they wouldn’t accept either of my birth certificates as valid! I’m talking about the actual pieces of paper given to my parents, one by the hospital and one by the county, when I was born. They were good enough to let me play Little League. They were good enough to get me into Oregon State Univ. But are they good enough to let me renew my drivers license. Nope! Pinheads.

By the way, did you know that in Oregon you now need to provide your birth certificate AND original social security card to the DMV in order to get your drivers license renewed? You do now. Doesn’t matter if you’ve had one for over 30 years, like me, or not. If you don’t show your papers to the government, you don’t drive.

So, I pay just under a $100 in expediting fees and overnight delivery charges to get a fresh, new, certified birth certificate from the State of Wisconsin sent to me so that I can get on with my vacation. It arrived Monday morning via FedEx thanks to the nice lady in the Department of Records at the Outagamie County Courthouse in Appleton Wisconsin. So I cruise over to the Beaverton DMV office thinking that I’ll be in and out in about 10 minutes with my newly endorsed drivers license. They’ll probably just give me a sticker to put on it like when I changed my address recently.

Nope, guess again. This time, all of my papers were in order. I was expecting to receive either a sticker for my current license, or a new one, both of which they used to be able to produce right there in the office while you wait. But now, it takes 3-5 business days to receive your new license–which apparently everybody gets now when you change something–in the mail! They are produced at some “undisclosed location” in Salem.

From what I gathered, your picture is digitized and compared via face-recognition software with some database of “undesirables” that the government has put together without telling anybody. Can you say “Fascist”? In the mean time, they give you a cheesy-looking, flimsy paper “Interim License” which expires in 30 days. This thing is so fake-looking that my own bank rejected it today as valid ID! And they even knew what it was. Imagine what a merchant or police officer in Utah or Arizona would think of it.

So now I’m faced with the decision of either taking off on my trip with a fake looking drivers license that will expire before I get back and which no one will accept as valid, or waiting another week until my real license shows up in the mail. Oh, and since I’m leaving for a month, I was going to put a hold on my mail. But if I do that, then the post office has been instructed to return my license to Salem where it will be destroyed. Then when I get back, I’d have to go through the whole process all over again.

If I happen to run into either Mark Hass (my state representative) or Ryan Decker (my state senator), they’d better be prepared to explain what they were smoking when they voted for this train-wreck legislation. And then they’d better duck.