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DMV office moving to Medford Center

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles' Medford office is returning to the Medford Center, which it left 15 years ago.

Lance Westland and other local DMV employees waited for years to move to a new building before finally moving from Medford Center to Progress Square in 2001.

"We were in a temporary location, and there really wasn't enough space for us," said Westland , a 26-year DMV veteran. "We had been due for a new office, then something happened every year, somebody's building burned down, and we were postponed again."

DMV new space in Medford Center, at 987 Medford Center Drive between Safeway and Rite-Aid drug store, will be far more spacious than its current location.

"I'm excited to move into a bigger space," Westland said. "I think it's going to be better for everybody."

While the staff sets up shop in its new habitat, the Medford DMV office will close next week, July 25-29, and reopen Monday, Aug. 1. Hours of operation will remain the same, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"The traffic pattern around here is too tight for the work we do, especially with people parking along the street, which we didn't have when we first moved there," said Roy Meeds, who administers driving tests. "It's going to be a lot more open with better visibility."

The Medford office serves much of Jackson County, which has seen its population rise about 16 percent to more than 210,000 since the Progress Square office opened. Medford is edging toward 80,000 people, so expanded parking and an 800-square-foot lobby area will make it easier to handle the 400 to 500 people seeking license, permit and registration help each day.

The DMV staff takes up to 22 license applicants for driving tests a day.

"There used to be openings during the day. Now we're always filled every day, and we're backed up," Meeds said.

Kathleen Iriawan, DMV's customer service manager for Medford and Ashland, said the decision of when and where to move took six to nine months, with the agency's real estate team suggesting four or five sites.

"We knew for a long period that our 10-year lease was coming up," she said. "Our volume of work, the number of customers we put through the facility, in addition to access and parking were deciding factors.  I'm not surprised we came back to Medford Center. There was a vacant location, centrally located, and there was easy access for customers."

Motorists who need DMV help during the last week of July can go to offices in Grants Pass (162 NE Beacon Drive, Suite 127) or Ashland (600 Tolman Creek Road). Prior to going to the DMV office, the agency asks, customers should check OregonDMV.com for required documentation. Common transactions such as registration renewals, address changes and transfer of ownership can be done online.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is moving back to Medford Center and will be closed next week. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch