Grace period for expired tags, driver’s licenses extended for some

Photo courtesy of ODOT

A grace period for some Oregon residents with expiring vehicle registration, permit or driver’s licenses has been extended to three months after expiry, but only for those documents expiring between Nov. 1 2020 and April 30, 2021. 

Those that fall into that category will not be cited by law enforcement for an expired license or tags, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. 

The agreement between ODOT, the Oregon State Police, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police does not apply to items that have expired before Nov. 1, and is not an outright ban on citing drivers that fall within the parameters, but is rather a directive to officers to “exercise discretion” when dealing with expired tags or licenses. 

A backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions and closures in the state’s DMV system has kept thousands of Oregonians from being able to renew expiring documents as the DMV has struggled to adapt to the pandemic. 

This reality was addressed with Senate Bill 1601, passed during the first emergency special legislative session called to address the impact of COVID-19 on Oregonians; that bill halted citations for expired documents, but expires on December 31, 2020. 

DMV offices are open by appointment, largely for services that require an in-person visit, and for most of the offices in the Portland metro area, there is a two month wait to get an appointment, according to the Oregonian

A number of services are available on the DMV’s online system, including vehicle registration renewal for some vehicles, replacing lost, damaged, or stolen license or ID cards, reporting a sale of a vehicle, and more. 

Throughout the pandemic, the DMV says it has taken a number of steps to clear the backlog of services needed by Oregonians. The agency has hired new temporary staff, authorized additional overtime to process mailed items, added new machinery and more.

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

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