The Oregon DMV announced that nearly all its offices, including Albany and Lebanon, would be closed again Tuesday, as they were on Monday, because of “hazardous indoor air quality.” But why would the air inside the DMV be worse than anywhere else?
“Due to heavy wildfire smoke affecting nearly every part of the state, air conditions are not safe for customers and employees inside most DMV buildings,” the agency said. “Air quality outdoors and driving conditions are so hazardous that the safest option for Oregonians who are not evacuating is to stay indoors.”
But not indoors at the DMV, apparently.
The Oregon DMV has been running on one or two cylinders since the Covid crisis started. It closed down for a while, then asked people to make appointments for transactions they could not handle via the Internet.
But appointments became hard to get. Last week, the DMV’s appointment app said that at the Albany office, no appointment times were available at all. When I went there in person, the employee I spoke to, outside at the door, was not surprised. He said their appointment calendar was filled through the middle of November.
As a government agency, the DMV can afford to close up or slow down for a while, and as long as it wants, because its customers can’t go anywhere else.
Just be glad that the supermarkets, Fred Meyer and Safeway and all the rest, don’t do the same — even though the pandemic and wildfire smoke threaten their employees like they do everyone else. If they did, we would all starve.
During one of its special sessions, the Oregon legislature suspended the laws on DMV licenses and permits until the end of the year. So even if your current eight-year driver’s license expires next month, don’t worry about it. Even without a valid license, you can legally drive.
If that’s the case, you may wonder, and if public safety is not endangered, why after 50-plus years of safe driving is there a need to renew the license at all? (hh)