As soon as the notices went up online yesterday, people started freaking out. The California Department of Motor Vehicles had announced on its website that their always-busy Eureka office was scheduled to be closed for renovations from Aug. 24 all the way until the middle of December.
The pretty stock-photo smile did nothing to soothe the frustration and incredulity of locals who read the announcement. Garberville, Crescent City and Weaverville (!!!) may look “nearby” on a map from DMV headquarters in Sacramento, but for northern Humboldt County residents the prospect of driving an hour or more to renew your driver’s license had people hopping mad.
After reading some of the outrage on social media your Lost Coast Outpost reached out to the DMV Public Affairs office yesterday afternoon and got the following response via email:
“At this time the Eureka DMV field office will not close. We will notify media of any scheduled office closure.”
When we followed up asking for more information we were told that there’d been a change in plans “due to an unexpected construction schedule change.”
But a joint press release from Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood issued this afternoon contradicts that excuse. According to the release, which you can read in full below, McGuire and Wood gave DMV officials a good talking-to, and “the DMV has committed to not closing its Eureka office as previously planned.”
Here’s the release:
Yesterday, Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Jim Wood and elected officials in Humboldt County were notified the Eureka DMV office would be closing for nearly four months for renovations starting in mid-August. Bottom line: This was not acceptable.
“This was a short-sighted proposal that never should have been advanced by the DMV,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “It is completely unacceptable that the DMV would close an office and ask residents to drive miles upon miles to stand in lines for hours to do simple business with the Department. Working with Assemblymember Wood and DMV representatives, we are pleased to report the closure will be postponed and the DMV will be developing a new plan in the months to come.”
“All across the state people are complaining about the long wait times at DMV, and letting us know that the Eureka office was going to close for renovations for four months was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa). “I appreciate Senator McGuire taking the lead as we work with DMV to come up with an alternative plan so that the community remains served.”
During conversations with representatives from the Department of Motor Vehicles today, the DMV has committed to not closing its Eureka office as previously planned. Senator McGuire and Assemblymember Wood will continue conversations with DMV representatives to ensure North Coast residents have all of the services they need in this critical time of Real ID Driver’s License transition.