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The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

DMV harder to navigate in post-pandemic world

Scarlett Dempsey
Citizens stack up inside and out at the Beaverton DMV midday on Monday, September 11, something that has now become common due to post-pandemic pileup.

A post-pandemic pileup is making it more difficult for new drivers to get appointments to obtain learner’s permits and driver’s licenses.

“It’s a huge backlog, we’ve never experienced anything even close to this before,” the spokesperson for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), David House, told KOIN 6.

Lack of appointments, long wait times, and website issues are all due to a 20% staff shortage and a post-pandemic pileup. In 2020, DMV offices had to close for three months. Now they are not only trying to catch up, but also continue with usual business. Given that over 13,000 people visit the DMV statewide everyday, managing both is a lengthy task.

Senior Isaac Briare got his permit in the fall of 2021, and his experience was anything but simple.

“I wasn’t able to set an appointment,” said Briare. “There wasn’t any way to do it on the website, and it took me probably an hour to wait in line before I actually got to my test.”

Now, two years later, appointments at the DMV in the Portland area are few and far between, with only 12 from September 2023 until December 2023.

Sophomore Bitsy Cole received her permit in December of 2022 and had a different experience after making an appointment.

“It was a little crowded, but it was fine,” Cole said. “I had to wait a little bit. It was a simple process.”

Both Cole and Briare went through a third party to get their licenses because they could not schedule appointments directly through the DMV for their final driving test. Third-party testers are companies that work alongside but are separate from the DMV to administer Class C (non-commercial) license skills tests.

“I had to go through a different provider than the actual DMV because it wouldn’t even let me do [the driving test] at the DMV,” said Cole.

The DMV provides a list of third parties they work with due to the long wait times. Using a third party to take your license test adds an extra $70-80 cost on top of the DMV license fees, but can make the process easier.

The DMV website recommends booking an appointment well ahead of time for your permit test and final license drive on the DMV website. If appointments aren’t available, avoid going at lunchtime (noon – 1 p.m.), Mondays and Fridays, the last week of the month, and the day before or after a holiday. Instead, aim to go before noon in the middle of the week. Consider using a third party (more information at

Being prepared and resourceful can help overcome bureaucratic hurdles and long wait times at the DMV.

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About the Contributors
Hildi Harrington
Hildi Harrington, Reporter
Hildi is a senior this year. She is excited to learn more about communications, and loves opinion articles!
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.
Scarlett Dempsey
Scarlett Dempsey, Opinion Editor & Design Editor
Scarlett is a sophomore this year. She is excited to learn more about the news process and become a better writer. Her favorite part of newspaper is design.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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