Working at the DMV must be rough. Not rough because it’s technically difficult, but it can’t be easy to be caught between angry people and bureaucracy. The representatives that we speak with have no power to do the right thing in odd situations. As you may imagine, licensing a vehicle from the ’50s isn’t a common task.
So when I went into the DMV on a Monday, during lunch, I expected to spend a lot of time waiting. It wasn’t actually that long before being served, roughly half an hour. However that was the easy part, which came as quite a surprise. You see, I had two tasks to accomplish: Register the Dodge in my name, and get new plates.
Registration was easy. Signed title, filled out my info on the back and another form (Government folks love paperwork), sign here and there, and boom. Registration completed in under 5 minutes. Honestly, that seems like forever in hind sight, but that’s the perspective of someone who lives online.
Now for plates. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted to get the Pacific Wonderland plates. These are a limited release, only 90,000 produced, and feature the original Oregon yellow writing on a blue background. The Dodge also qualifies for Antique plates, which I thought about as well. They are the ugly yellow background plates, and I couldn’t bring myself to put those on it.
The title for the Dodge had an old Ham Radio plate listed on it. That plate belonged to the last owner whom I purchased the truck from. However, he had transferred that plate to another vehicle in 2011 and now that he lives in Washington let it expire. No big deal right?
Thus begins the tail-chasing. Not knowing what to do, the DMV agent helping me looked at the situation and filled out all of the forms to issue me brand new plates, expiring two years from today. Seems completely reasonable to me, just like the truck came without plates. To make sure there would be no issues, he checked with his supervisor.
She did not approve of that process. See, she wanted the expiration Month to be carried forward from the previous plates. I have no idea why this is the case, as I was not renewing those plates. I had brand new plates sitting on the counter waiting for me, in that beautiful yellow on blue. The truck had other plates mounted on it (in Oregon plates move with the vehicle when purchased) that were not found in the DMV system as they had expired in 2010.
No data that I provided, including a picture of the license plate mounted on the truck, tags showing, was acceptable. Only if I had brought the plates to the office would I have the proof required. The solution that the Supervisor came up with was to have the Agent call DMV headquarters in Salem to figure out the month.
More time passes, standing at the counter while the Agent is on the phone explaining what he needs to find out. Back and forth a few times, the person in Salem says that she could go to the paper archives and call back in 45 minutes. Now, at this point I had waited half an hour, and been standing at the counter for 40 minutes. I wasn’t about to take a seat for another 45 minutes for a useless detail. So I chime in, and have the Agent explain an important detail that he left out with Salem. I’m buying new plates. I’m paying money to walk out of here with brand new plates on this vehicle.
After describing the entire problem to Salem, the answer was clear. The Agent was correct the entire time. After taking extensive notes, and redoing all of the paperwork (which the Agent had written all over), we were back to where we were over 30 minutes previously. After another few minutes convincing the Supervisor that he had covered all the bases, I was out the door.
Only took an hour and a half to get my pretty yellow on blue Pacific Wonderland plates!