DMV sign

A sign at the John Day Department of Motor Vehicles lines out instructions about accessing the DMV for in-person appointments.

A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the COVID-19 era has become a daunting experience for anyone with limited time to sit on the phone or with little to no broadband access.

DMV spokesman David House shared three tips to ease the burden as it appears the DMV will remain by appointment only for the time being.

Schedule an appointment at

He said he suggests people have a friend or a relative help them if they are not tech savvy or have limited broadband access.

According to the DMV website, anyone needing to change or reschedule an appointment can click on “modify or cancel an existing appointment” and follow the prompts. An email address and appointment type (driver test, written test, license renewal) is required.

Drop by and knock on the door:

House said many offices on the west side of the state are experiencing no-shows and last-minute cancellations. He told the Eagle these offices have gaps in their days to see someone that day depending on the business they need to conduct.

“If someone happens to be driving by or is in the neighborhood, they could knock on the door and ask if the staff can assist with what someone needs. That can work for some people in some cases because you’re doing errands you’re going through town,” he said. “I encourage people to check that out.”

Call the local DMV office:

He said when all else fails, people can call 503-945-5000. This is the only number where one can reach the John Day office. House said it is likely people will experience long wait times. House said people would likely need to call “several times a day” to get through to either an automated system or a live person.

“You may be on hold for a while. And, or you may get an automated answering service where you’re going to answer a series of questions,” he said. “If you stick it through, you’ll get to a live person.”


Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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