Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is on track to have all its vehicle inspection stations reopened by Wednesday, but is asking the public to delay their visits if possible.
DEQ plans to reopen its Gresham and Northeast Portland vehicle inspection stations on June 30, in accordance with Multnomah County COVID-19 safety guidelines. Other emissions-testing stations that reopened around the state earlier this month have been experiencing long lines and wait times up to two hours. Those stations are in Medford-Ashland, Clackamas, Hillsboro/Sunset, Sherwood and Scappoose.
The agency is asking anyone who does not need to get a vehicle inspection completed immediately to delay their visit for at least two weeks to a month, as the agency is trying to get through its backlog of vehicle inspections since it closed on March 17.
“In the time that DEQ vehicle inspection stations were closed between March and mid-June, we expected to have 200,000 cars go through our stations,” DEQ Public Affairs Specialist Susan Mills said.
The agency was expecting an additional 60,000 vehicles in June and July.
Last week, the five stations there were reopened were averaging about 2,900 vehicles a day. DEQ has been working with local law enforcement to manage traffic in those areas.
The agency considered setting up an appointment system, but Mills said it would be difficult to keep those appointment times.
“Given the nature of the inspections, as well as the extra time we’re taking to sanitize the station every two hours, we’re not able to create a system that would be reliable for appointments,” Mills said.
Vehicles with expired registrations will not be ticketed through Oct. 1 under a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon law enforcement agencies.
DEQ has offered alternatives to its vehicle inspection stations for emissions testing. Drivers can choose to go to a DEQ Too station, which is a partnered private business location. These include gas stations, car washes, oil change shops and repair service centers that are authorized to conduct vehicle emissions tests.
The agency is also asking drivers to follow new health guidelines and wear a face covering and maintain six feet of distance while at the stations.