Here’s a little vignette from retired journalist and public affairs specialist, Jim Manke, who now splits his time between Hawaii and Portland, Oregon.
We received a snail mail notice yesterday that our (Oregon) vehicle registration is due for renewal, with instructions for how to do that, including the location of the nearest emissions test site.
We went this morning to the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) inspection site about ten miles away, not knowing whether we would have to spend a half-day in line and ‘processing.’ There was just one car in front of us, but there were a total of eight lanes open to vehicles moving through the testing process. A uniformed staff person at the front gate did a preliminary check of our paperwork, verified that we had a current insurance card, confirmed that in addition to the emissions check we could also do the re-registration at the same time, informed us about payment options (cash, debit or credit card – no checks), and then directed us to lane eight, self service, where, she assured us, someone would be available to assist if we needed.
We pulled up to the ATM-like touchscreen kiosk, followed the prompts on the screen, plugged the DEQ data cable into the appropriate place under the dash, and began the test process. It took about 40 seconds. The screen said we passed, and instructed us to swipe our card, and turn over the registration notice we got in the mail to the attendant in the booth.
By the time the credit card payment cleared, the attendant was back out of his booth to hand us our new registration stickers and paperwork and thank us for coming by.
The entire process, including the brief wait at the gate and the pre-check of paperwork, took about 8 to 10 minutes. Registration fee = $86 + emissions test fee of $19 = total $105 – for two years.
It’s always interesting get these opportunities to compare our public services with those offered elsewhere. Oregon seems to be doing something quite right!