A goal realized: DMV returns to Pagosa

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Renewing your driver’s license as an Archuleta County resident has been a chore since the local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office closed down about a decade ago. 

Since then, locals have been given the honor of driving to Durango to renew their licenses instead of just driving down behind the courthouse as we did for years in Pagosa Springs.

When you work a day job, it is not always easy to find the time to take off to make the hour-long trek to Durango for what is about a 10-minute appointment. We recall waiting for an hour in line when we made it to Durango’s fine DMV establishment on one occasion.

Over the years, business owners found themselves scrambling to cover for employees who had to take off to drive over to Durango just to renew their license.

For those needing to travel in the winter, you had to hope for clear roads or else drive on dangerous snowpacked and icy roads to renew your license.

Heaven forbid if you accidentally left a document you need at home, you won the grand prize of making two trips to Durango. We’ve heard the story of someone in Chromo doing just that. 

A round trip for some of us is over 2.5 hours, and with the price of gas these days, a driver’s license is something you might be tempted to keep locked in your safety deposit box, but if you get pulled over, don’t tell our local law enforcement officers that we suggested doing that.

In October of 2020, Warren Brown was a candidate for Archuleta County commissioner when he responded to the questions for The SUN’s election tracker: “What single county rule or regulation would you be most interested in amending or removing? Why?”

His answer: “I am not as concerned about removing or amending a rule as I am about changing the way we are providing some of the services to the citizens of Archuleta County.

“For example, I feel it is unreasonable to make the citizens of Archuleta County drive to Durango for a newly issued, or renewed driver’s license. This [is] an inconvenience for some and can be a hardship on others who live on a fixed income, or who live towards the outer boundaries of our county.”

There was no turning back for Brown, he kept his election priority to change the way services are provided to our citizens.

In a ceremony announcing the rollout of DMV2GO Friday, Brown shared about his mission to stop the huge inconvenience for county residents having to travel to Durango for basic services.

“Almost two years ago I got to know one of our lifelong residents, Johnny Perea. When I met JP, he asked me if it would be possible to bring the Department of Motor Vehicles to Archuleta County due to all of the challenges associated with driving to our neighboring communities for this service. I told JP I wasn’t sure, but that I would make it a priority to bring this service to our community if it were at all possible,” he explained.

Brown made good on keeping his goal a priority with his first call to the Department of Motor Vehicles during his second day in office.

“I spoke with Rosalie Johnson, who was wonderful to work with and very positive about bringing DMV to our community,” Brown said of the DMV deputy senior director.

He described the value of the experience in bringing DMV2GO to Archuleta County as “the lesson of building upon relationships locally, regionally at the state level and beyond.”

While deserving of much of the credit for seeing the effort through to success, Brown puts the spotlight on others, including Archuleta County Administrative Assistant Jamie Jones.

The following information was provided through a press release received from Colorado DMV:

Coloradans have another option in getting the DMV services they need as the division shifts its DMV2GO mobile office program into drive, literally. 

The new program — which fully launched following a public reveal of these mobile offices in Pagosa Springs on Friday, Aug. 12 — is part of the DMV’s sweeping efforts to better serve Coloradans, especially those who might be underserved, such as rural Coloradans, long-term care facility residents and people experiencing homelessness. 

The program currently includes the DMV2GO RV — an office on wheels — and two DMV2GO pop-up driver’s license offices, which can be set up almost anywhere in the state.

“One of our priorities is to continue to find innovative ways to offer our services, and our DMV2GO does just that — bringing DMV offices to our customers in an easy and convenient manner,” DMV Senior Director Electra Bustle said. “We are excited to bring more flexibility to doing work with the DMV and add to our other convenient service delivery options like myDMV, kiosks, @Home Driving Knowledge test and the myColorado™ App.”

DMV2GO offers Coloradans the same services as a standard driver’s license office, with driving knowledge tests and endorsement exams being the only exception. DMV2GO also offers access to online vehicle registration and driver record services as well.

The DMV2GO reveal in Pagosa Springs was the culmination of about three years of planning and testing, which was delayed by supply chain issues, particularly vehicle microchip shortages.

“We are so excited to get DMV2GO on the road,” Johnson said. “DMV2GO really helps us provide services to Coloradans who don’t have easy access to driver license offices because not having a valid form of identification can present significant barriers for people. The Colorado DMV wants to help put people on the road to success and with DMV2GO we are.”

The DMV started piloting DMV2GO in July 2021 and began serving Coloradans throughout the Centennial State, including helping dozens affected by the Marshall Fire. During the pilot phase from July 2021 through June 30, the DMV visited 191 locations, helped more than 3,000 Coloradans and issued 2,933 identification cards and driver’s licenses. 

Currently, DMV2GO does not require appointments for scheduled pop-up offices. 

For more information, visit DMV.Colorado.gov/DMV2GO. It’s important to note that DMV2GO does not make house calls.

Other options to get DMV services include online options, myDMV.Colorado.gov and the myColorado™ app, as well as self-service DMV kiosks and, of course, in-office services.

The DMV is committed to providing services for all Coloradans where they are needed most, whether it’s in office, online or on the go. Visit DMV.Colorado.gov/Anywhere to find out how you can DMV anywhere. Yes, anywhere. 

Kudos to Brown and Jones and all others who played a role in seeing this effort through to fruition.

Terri Lynn Oldham House