Since You Asked: A question of proper address

I live on Mt. Echo Drive in Medford. At least that is what my deed, the county's subdivision plat, the street signs and older paper maps have indicated for almost 40 years. However, the Post Office, DMV, Google Maps and whoever else is tied into Big Brother's computer database say I live on Mt. Echo Street. So whenever I enter my correct address over the Internet, it is automatically corrected to say "street" instead of "drive."

While this is annoying it wasn't really a problem until my drivers license renewal came to Mt. Echo Street and the notice told me the address had to be corrected or there would be dire consequences. Armed with much evidence, I convinced the DMV that "drive" was correct.

I have tried to find out what entity controls the database for Big Brother so that I can get the error corrected, but I have had no success and wasted a lot of time trying.

— No name given, via email

We can imagine the kind of runaround you faced, unnamed Mt. Echo Drive resident, because we found there to be quite a few cooks in your question kitchen. But we can confirm that you do in fact live on Mt. Echo Drive; so says Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin, who referenced the Medford Heights Subdivision Plat.

We then checked with ODOT spokesman David House to see whether there was some alternative government address database.

"We use the Post Office," House said. "We consider them the authority on addresses."

House explained the reason for the "dire consequences" you mentioned in your question. Because Oregon has relatively low vehicle registration fees, DMV is on the lookout for out-of-state residents attempting to register their cars here using falsified addresses.

"There are people who attempt to falsify documents to register a car," House said. "We need to use the Post Office's data to prove the address exists."

On Friday, Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson explained that the Post Office doesn't create street names; it refers to city and county municipal records.

On Monday, armed with our information from Public Works, we reached out to Postal Service spokesman Peter Hass. He explained that locals can direct issues such as this one to our local post office by calling 541-774-4088. He said he would refer the Mt. Echo matter to the "address management" team based in Portland.

The issue was a new one for Hass, which he attributed to the usual accuracy of the system.

"We have a national registry of all the addresses," Hass said. "Probably 99.99 percent of the time, it's right."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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